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Category Archives: WBC

Sipping Sweetness – Dessert Style

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Sipping Sweetness – Dessert Style

I am a sucker for a good dessert wine during the holiday season. I’ve been known to open up a late harvest wine while preparing a holiday season meal or party appetizers. While these wines can – and should – be enjoyed any time of the year – they are particularly endearing during this season. Late harvest wine, Icewine, Port and Sherry are all included in this category. While true port and sherry is particular to specific regions of the world – this is a great opportunity to explore varieties from the “Other 46”.

Chocolate Lab from Barrel Oak Winery

courtesy of Vinoshipper

Chocolate Lab, Barrel Oak Winery, Delaplane, VA – $31

Chocolate Lab is my recommendation for anyone who would like to experience something in the “chocolate wine” catagory, but isn’t enthused with the idea of merlot blended with chocolate syrup. This is a totally unique port style wine infused with essences drawn from cocoa beans added to the wine during secondary fermentation. Its not terribly sweet at 5% RS, and its been aged in recovered American oak whiskey barrels. I’ve paired with berry tarts. This is one of a kind and delicious.

Gray Ghost Winery - dessert wine

Adieu, Late Harvest Vidal Blanc, Gray Ghost Vineyards, Amissville, VA – $23-25

This one is produced only in exceptional years, so its not always available, but when it is – wow – a special wine!  With an RS of 11.5%  – although it really doesn’t taste like its that high, it makes for a perfect after dinner sipper. Rich peach, honey, Muscat and apricot aromas compliment a light cheese platter or your holiday pumpkin pie.

Ferrante Cab Franc Ice Wine

Cabernet Franc Ice Wine, Ferrante Winery, Harpersfield Township, OH – $34.99

One of the sweetest ice wines I’ve tried recently is the Ferrante Cab Franc Ice Wine. This one is from select estate grown grapes frozen on the vine. Aromas and flavors of sweet raspberry and cherry. 17% Residual Sugar. While it is definitely a sweet one, the cab franc flavor from Ferrante’s wonderful estate grapes is obvious, and a red dessert wine is still a unique experience at most parties. I pair this one with savory tarts, mince meat pies or créme brule. This is a red wine, but please chill it down for the best experience.

Seven port wine - King Family VineyardsSeven, 2009, Port Wine from Merlot grapes, King Family Vineyards, Crozet, VA $29.95

At the American Wine Bloggers Conference, we encountered some folks in the atrium pouring a Virginia post style wine that I’d never seen. Named for the 7th chukker in polo ~ like the 19th hole in golf, its made in the traditional Porto style with an American twist. This port wine is made with 100% Merlot and is fortified with brandy. Aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for 2 years and bottled as a 500mL – slightly larger than most of these. 3% residual sugar. 18% alcohol.  If you are a port fan, this wine will tickle your fancy.

Hanover Park Winery Port HanoverPort Hanover, Chambourcin port style wine, Hanover Park Vineyards, Yadkinville, NC – $17

As a fan of the Chambourcin grape, I was really impressed with this port when I first experienced it. It is a beautiful example of all of the characteristics of the Chambourcin, a grape showing some serious success in North Carolina  – and showcased in a port style. An easy port wine to pair with an asiago cheese ball or dessert pieces from Lilly’s Chocolates, like the Cinnabunny.

The Virginia and North Carolina wines are available to be shipped to Ohio, and while Ferrante is only available in Ohio, the winery’s location close to Lake Erie, and many other wineries make for a great day trip. I have not seen the ice wine in retail stores in Cleveland, but it may be available if your wine shop carries Ferrante wines.

Do you have a favorite dessert, icewine (eiswein), or domestic port? Share them in the comments!

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What you need to know about #OHwine at #WBC11

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Southern Wine Trails is presenting Ohio Wine at the Other 46 Tasting tonight for the North American Wine Bloggers Conference. The winery we will be pouring is Ferrante Winery from Geneva, OH. 

Ferrante Winery is a family owned and operated winery. In 1937, Nicholas and Anna Ferrante established the winery in Cleveland’s Collinswood area. In the 1970’s, their sons Peter and Anthony built modern wine making facilities in the family’s Harpersfield Township vineyards. In the 1980’s, their families developed a thriving restaurant to showcase wine and food. 
         The menu then, as now, included Ferrante family favorites such as pizza della casa, spaghetti and meatballs, vitello scallopini and many more. All, of course, to complement the subtleties and nuances of the vintages from the cellar. 
         On November 4th, 1994, the operation was interrupted briefly by a fire. Gone were the dining and tasting rooms and many artifacts. Fortunately, a firewall saved the wine production facility, cellar and warehouse. 
          In early 1995, the Ferrante family pulled together body, mind and spirit to create the new home they have today. They are excited about the future of the Ohio wine industry and continue to develop award winning wines and fine dishes in the kitchen. 

The wines being poured tonight are: 


2010 Golden Bunches – Dry Reisling, Signature Series – Grand River Valley $14.99
1.54% RSV 
Awards: 
American Fine Wine – Gold
Finger Lakes International – Silver
Taster’s Guild International – Silver
Pacific Rim International – Silver
Beverage Tasting Inst. – Silver
LA Wine – Gold
Winemakers notes: 
96% RIESLING (ESTATE GROWN-GRAND RIVER VALLEY)   4% VIDAL BLANC JUICE RESERVE . THE JUICE RESERVE IS A WAY OF ADDING SWEETNESS AND NATURAL ACIDITY.   FINISHED ANALYSIS: RESIDUAL SUGAR = 1.54%, TOTAL ACIDITY: .75GRAMS/ LITER, PH =3.26 AND ALCOHOL% = 12.5%. A WELL ROUNDED RIESLING WITH INTENSE VARIETAL AROMAS OF PEACH, CITRUS AND HONEYED NOTES.  VARIETAL RIESLING FLAVORS WITH GOOD BODY AND A CRISP LONG FINISH. 


2010 Cabernet Franc, Signature Series – Grand River Valley $15.99
Awards:

American Fine Wine – Bronze
Finger Lakes International – Gold
Taster’s Guild International – Silver
Pacific Rim International – Silver

Winemakers notes: 
95% CABERNET FRANC (ESTATE – GROWN  GRAND RIVER VALLEY)   5%  CARIGNANE      FINISHED WINE  ANALYSIS.: RESIDUAL SUGAR = .4%, TOTAL ACIDITY : .57 GRAMS/ LITER, PH = 3.70 AND ALCOHOL % =13.0   THE WINE WAS AGED IN RADOUX COOPERAGE  BARRELS ( 70 GALLON ) FOR 4.25 MONTHS.  BARRELS USED ARE AMERICAN (MINNESOTA), MIDWEST HYBRID ( STAVES ARE MADE FROM MINNESOTA  WOOD, HEADS ARE FROM FRENCH WOOD), CENTRAL EUROPEAN (HUNGARIAN WOOD) AND TRADITION (FRENCH WOOD).  THE WINE IS A BLEND OF ALL FOUR BARREL TYPES USED.   THE WINE IS FRUIT FOWARD WITH BERRY AROMAS AND FLAVORS. THE OAK AGING GIVES COMPLEXITY TO THE STRUCTURE AND DEFINES THE CONCENTRATED FINISH.


If you have additional questions, please drop me a note, or a tweet – I’m happy to answer anything I can about Ohio Wines! Stay tuned next week for video from Nick Ferrante, wine maker at Ferrante Winery and Ristorante. 

Ferrante Wine and the #WBC11

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Today I’m at the North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA to participate in a wine extravaganza – talking about blogging, wine, wine tastings – and to experience once again the amazing things that are happening with Virginia wine.

We’ll also be pouring Ohio wine at the Other 46 Wine Tasting on Friday night. We’ve always been big proponents of the Drink Local Wine movement, encouraging our customers to embrace the excellent wines made in the state they live in, and Ohio wine is no different.

Look for the details about the wines of Ohio that will be poured at the tasting on Friday – until then:

Dinner this evening was a group affair at Maya Restaurant – 12 bloggers and industry folks sitting down to enjoy some great southern cuisine and conversation. The fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese sauce were delicious. I enjoyed Gabriele Rause Chardonnay (unoaked) with my meal. The wine list was well paired with the menu, although with as many great wines as are available in the area, I was disappointed to discover only the one Chardonnay from Virginia. This is a southern cuisine restaurant… they should be serving some of that great southern wine! Many, many thanks to Winebow for dinner. Y’all just generally rock, and are incredibly generous with all you do.

We later went down the open air mall to one of my favorite Charlottesville wine tasting spots.  Siips has a cool vibe, and a chocolate lava raspberry cake that is TO DIE FOR.

Blenheim Viognier, Keswick Vineyards Verdejo, Mountfair Vineyards Cabernet Franc and Pollak Merlot were on hand to be poured by the winemakers.

Each was lovely, and the winemakers who came out to meet us and pour, thanks to the efforts of George Benford, demonstrated incredible winemaking talent.

I recommend each and every one of these wineries when you visit Charlottesville. They all produce superior wine and each has an incredible commitment to customer service.

The conversations evolved throughout the evening, landing on topics like winemaking ingredients, how to swirl without swirling, marketing to millenials, and why Frank would volunteer me to be interviewed by the local tv station. If anyone sees that sound bite, I apologize in advance for looking all heat melty, and sounding incomprehensible. I’m honored to spend time talking to such intelligent and generous people – this is going to be a good weekend!

Drink well, my friends!

SoWineTrails goes WBC.

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From July 21-24, Southern Wine Trails will be attending the National Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA. We will be presenting Ohio wine (details of which wineries forthcoming) at the “Other 46 Tasting” on Friday evening along with wines from Missouri, Indiana, Texas and Virginia.

We will also be attending all of the incredible events and educational sessions that are the core of #WBC11. You will be able to follow the event by keeping your eyes on @tlcolson, following the #WBC11 hashtag on twitter, and to this website. All discussions on Ohio wine will be hashtagged with #OHwine

We are very proud to represent our adopted state of Ohio at this great conference of bloggers, critics, vendors and supporters of the American wine industry.

This will a bit a of a returning home for this girl, and her wine as I started with wine and hiking in the VA mountains over 4 years ago. I hope to visit some of the wineries that I haven’t seen in a while, and I look forward to reconnecting with some of the most generous and intelligent wine people out there.

If you are an Ohio winery and interested in having your wine featured at this tasting, please contact me directly at sowinetrails@gmail.com or call 440.941.1892

There’s still time if you want to attend. More information here!

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