Presque Isle Wine Cellars

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Our final winery stop on the Classy Canine Road Trip was the tasting room and gift shop at Presque Isle Wine Cellars. From their ample list, we tasted as many of their wines as we could.

  • 2013 Pinot Noir
  • Blaufrankisch NV – Also known as Lemberger
  • 2013 Merlot
  • Carmine – A cross of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carignan grapes
  • 2013 Cabernet Franc – Their Cab Franc was out of this world fantastic.
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2012 Noiret
  • 2015 Riesling – This was a sweet and fruity version of Riesling.
  • 2015 Reflections – White blend of Riesling, Cayuga, and Vidal. This was a nice blend with a delicious tartness.
  • 2016 Bianco Fresco – White aperitif
  • Freeport White NV – White blend of Seyval and Cayuga. This wine had an interesting nose. The Seyval dominated over the Cayuga.
  • 2013 Vignoles – With 4% residual sugar, I found this to be like a dessert wine but I’m sure it would have a nice appeal for sweet wine drinkers.
  • Creekside Red – Red blend of 55% Fredonia, and 45% Chambourcin. Once again, we couldn’t pass up sampling the Fredonia. And a blend with Chambourcin was very intriguing. We found this wine to be very grapey.
  • Creekside Niagara
  • 2016 Niagara – While this was my preference over the Creekside Niagara, I could detect a slight diesel aroma on the nose which can sometimes occur with Niagara.

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  • BluSecco – Sparkling blend of Niagara and Blueberries.  This was absolutely delicious and our selection for this years New Years Eve toast.
  • 2015 Falling Waters – Sparkling blend of Seyval Blanc, Traminette, and Valvin Muscat
  • True Blue – Blueberry
  • Port, Touriga Nacionale NV
  • 2013 Eskimo Kisses – Ice style blend of Vidal, Peach, Apricot, and Melon. This was a very sweet dessert wine just as you might expect.

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  • 2013 Hot Kisses – Ice style Vidal with a single Thai pepper. Hot and sweet, this wine was unbelievably fantastic with a VERY long hot pepper finish. It rivaled the Cab Franc and BluSecco as my favorite.

Presque Isle Wine Cellars’ website features a downloadable Wine Catalog with detailed information about each of their wines.

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Following our tasting, we trekked across their campus where we purchased fresh Niagara juice and some wine making supplies. Their staff was cordial and helpful and even days later when we had questions, were available with wine making tips and advise.

Presque Isle Wine Cellars is another not-to-be-missed winery and a great stop for those who are interested in home wine making.

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Courtyard Winery

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Having made it through our list of dog friendly wineries with time to spare, we took a second look at the list of remaining wineries.  Courtyard Winery had a patio where the Classy Canines could hang out and their wine list was extensive, so we took a chance.  I waited at a table outside with our furry boys while Bushmaster went in to check out our options.  He returned within moments with Anthony who would be our host throughout our tasting.  Anthony met the Classy Canines and immediately invited us all in.

What a treat this winery turned out to be!  Anthony was extremely knowledgeable about the wines with a flair for the dramatic.  We couldn’t have envisioned a more fantastic experience!

As mentioned previously, their wine list was extensive.  We took our time working our way through that entire list with Anthony guiding us every step of the way as well as visiting with others who had come in to sample Courtyard’s fantastic wines.

  • 2013 Chardonnay
  • Great Lakes Beach Glass Captain’s White – White blend of Vignoles and Traminette.  Sharp and citrusy, the Traminette more prominent.
  • Soleil Blanc – Geisenheim – Bushmaster found this wine to be too Chardonnay-ish.  It reminded me of a fruity Chardonnay.
  • 2015 Chardonel
  • Dry Rosé – Noiret.  This was a very unusual rosé.
  • 2014 Vignoles
  • 2013 Riesling – This was a very crisp wine.
  • 2013 Lemberger also known as Blaufrankish
  • Great Lakes Beach Glass Captain’s Red – Red  blend of Cabernet Franc, Corot Noir, and Frontenac.  It had an interesting fizz as well as some sediment deposit.
  • 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon – This was a very easy drinking drinking red wine.
  • 2014 Noiret – Aged in a smoked barrel, the pepper and smoke notes were prominent.
  • 2016 UnEven Keel – Ruby Port style.  Normally tawny ports are our preferences but we found this ruby to be very nice.
  • Great Lakes Beach Glass White – White blend of Traminette and Chardonnay.  This was a really nice white blend.
  • Razzle – Blend of Cayuga and Niagara – In the words of Bushmaster, “Damn good combo!”
  • White Lies – White blend of Geisenheim, Traminette, and Vidal.  Worthy of another quote, “Wow! Crazy blend!” was our consensus.
  • First Kiss – White blend of Cayuga and Catawba. This was a delicious sweet white.
  • Mamma Mia Sangria – Blend of Raspberry, Catawba, and Concord.  Nice and tart, I thought this wine could be used to make a dynamite margarita.
  • Ruby’s Rouge – Blend of Concord, Catawba, and Peach.  Although it had a peach nose, the Concord tended to dominate.
  • Lazy Daze – Blend of Fredonia and Steuben.  Surprisingly, this wine had a Cherry flavor.  It was like dessert in a glass.
  • Twisted Red – Red blend of Noiret and DeChaunac
  • Sassy Blue – Blueberry
  • Chocopelli – Red wine infused with chocolate.  Usually I am not a fan of the chocolate infused wines, but this was by far the best chocolate wine we’ve ever had.  We learned that the secret was to use cocoa.
  • Merchant – Ice wine
  • Late Harvest Vidal – Absolutely delicious!

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We tasted and visited until closing.  We had such a wonderful time.  After such a lengthy tasting, the Classy Canines were a bit concerned that they might be left behind when Bushmaster took our purchases out to the car.

Courtyard Winery most definitely tops our lists of the Pennsylvania wineries we visited on this trip.  Anthony truly made our experience memorable.  We are looking forward to a return visit.  We are SO glad we didn’t miss this one!

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Penn Shore Winery and Vineyards

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Penn Shore was another winery that topped our list because of they were dog friendly.

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The Classy Canines posed for a photo under the grape arbor that canopied the entrance. We couldn’t linger there too long as they were very interested in the grapes that had fallen.

I’m not sure what happened to my notes, but somewhere my tasting sheet went missing. I reviewed the wine list on their website. From the best of my recollection, we sampled the following:

  • Noiret
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Baco Noir
  • Merlot
  • Chancellor
  • Vidal Blanc
  • Vignoles
  • Reflections – Semi-dry Riesling
  • Bianca – Semi-sweet white
  • Diamond
  • Pink Catawba
  • Kir – White wine with Black Currant
  • Bubbling Niagara
  • Bubbling Catawba

All their wines were quite enjoyable and if there was something I didn’t like, Bushmaster did. The Noiret and Baco Noir were our favorites.

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Peanut made himself right at home and all three Classy Canines enjoyed the attention from the staff and other visitors. Another good stop with an enjoyable tasting experience!

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Heritage Wine Cellars

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Heritage Wine Cellars was certainly an interesting looking facility. With a tremendous variety of wines to try (48 at our count), we were looking forward to sampling as many as we could.

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Herding the Classy Canines to get them to pose for a photo turned out to be quite the challenge as they too were excited to get inside.

The rustic tasting room featured a large L shaped bar with a huge selection of wines.  Their tasting format was different from any winery we had been to before. Stacks of small plastic tasting cups were amply available and you poured your own samples. The free tasting was limited to seven samples. As per our norm, we each selected seven and then shared our samples with each other so that we could taste as many as possible. With so much to choose from, it was difficult to narrow down our choices.

  • Delilah Rose – Red blend of Isabella and Elvira – Both of these were new varietals to us, so of course we wanted to give them a try.
  • Pink Catawba – This wine was mild with very little tang.  We thought it would have been better cold. We found this to be the biggest draw back to the pour your own format. All the wines were served at room temperature.
  • Isabella – We found this solo version to be grapey and sweet.
  • Heritage Red – Red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Fredonia – Once again we could not pass on the Fredonia. This blend came off sweet.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Niagara – This was a very sweet version of the local grape.
  • Heritage White – Elvira – Another wine that we felt needed to be served cold. At room temperature, we did not detect a whole lot of anything going on.
  • Cayuga – Again, this needed to be cold. We could not find a lot of anything going on.
  • Almonderia – Almond dessert wine – This wine was very sweet and very much like the Amaretto liquour.
  • Kir – Blend of Currant and Blackberry.  Although it wasn’t, we thought it almost tasted fortified.
  • Winter Pear – Very sweet like pear candy, Bushmaster was completely enamored with this one.
  • X-Treme Elderberry – 100% Fortified Elderberry.  Surprisingly, this wine did not come off as overly sweet but had plenty of Elderberry flavor.
  • Flagship Red – Concord Port – Rightfully so, Heritage Wine Cellars is quite proud of this wine which received an International Double Gold Medal, the highest award in the competition.
  • Matt’s Mash – Grape Brandy – Very popular and very grapey, but we still preferred the Flagship Red.
  • Johnny’s Jack – Apple Port – A rather unusual port, this one had more appeal for me than it did Bushmaster.

We had a lot of fun at this tasting. The staff and winemaker were very helpful at guiding us to our last few samples based on our preferences.

The Classy Canines gave this winery a “paws up” rating as they got to share in the popcorn that was available for palate cleansing.

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Lakeview Wine Cellars

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We had been looking forward to visiting this winery ever since we called to ask if they were dog friendly and were told by the owner, “Of course! Our Irish Setter runs the place!”

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Their tasting room was fantastic with a view overlooking Lake Erie. The tasting bar wrapped around the sizable room and was ready to accommodate any number of customers.

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The bar top itself was covered in glass with sectioned areas beneath the glass. Each one featured a different beach from around the lake, the United States, and the world. Maps pin-pointed all the beaches that were represented. The sand and artifacts had been provided by patrons who had come from everywhere to visit the winery.

After being completely charmed by the facility itself, we couldn’t want to taste their wines.

  • 2015 Noiret – A very excellent red!
  • 2015 Baco Noir
  • 2013 Shipwreck Red – Red blend of Baco-Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, and Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sunset Blush – Semi-dry blend with a touch of Steuben
  • Red Sky – Blend of Concord and Niagara with Concord dominating
  • Cavitation – Sparkling Steuben
  • Traminette
  • Shipwreck White – White blend
  • Riesling
  • Niagara
  • Captains Select – Dry Sherry

Their wines were very well done and we liked most everything. The Noiret topped our list.

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When the winery dog, Cabernet, arrived, he, Peanut and Brody were quick to make friends.

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Before we left, the Classy Canines took a break from socializing to pose for a photo.

We had such a nice time visiting with the owners and sampling their wines. You definitely do not want to miss this winery!

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Burch Farms Winery

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Day two of the Classy Canine Road Trip and we were crossing state lines. Once again, we had an itinerary planned, but happened upon Burch Farms before our first planned stop. The moment we got out of the car, we could smell the grapes on the vines. It was glorious.

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Bushmaster and I took turns wandering through the market while the Classy Canines made themselves at home in the picnic area out back.

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Bushmaster brought samples out to me and we both enjoyed the tasting at the picnic table with the dogs in the fragrant breeze. All of their wines were quite enjoyable with a few that really stood out.

  • Leon Millot – This was the best red we had had so far on out trip and set the stage for the many wonderful Pennsylvania wines we would be tasting throughout the day.
  • Steuben
  • Peach
  • Niagara – Their Niagara was especially good and exactly what we have come to expect from the varietal.
  • Catawba
  • Concord
  • Gala Apple – This was a very good apple wine. It had true apple flavor. Even Bushmaster, who is not a fan of Apple wine liked it!

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In addition to the wine, the market had quite the variety of special and unique items, many from local producers. I found a couple I couldn’t resist.

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Produce was plentiful and there was such a wide variety. We were both surprised to see Fredonia and Niagara Grapes available for purchase.

Burch Farms was a great stop and one not to miss.  We actually came back for a second visit the next day on our way out of town!

 

LaPorte Winery

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When we called to check out this little home winery, we were graciously invited to their Italian Potluck event. Because we were traveling they said not to worry about bringing anything, that there would be plenty of food. And indeed there was! We, however, had misunderstood thinking it was an evening event. When we arrived, things had pretty much wrapped up.

LaPorte Tasting Room

Dog friendly, we were all welcomed in for a tasting and a nice visit with the owners. The Classy Canines enjoyed being out of the car and relaxing while we sampled their wines.

  • Traminette – Their Traminette was four years old having been aged 2 years in steel.
  • Vidal Blanc – Another white that was two years old.
  • Chardonnel – Aged in a neutral barrel, this wine was light and citrusy.  It was technically a dry wine but tasted sweet.
  • Apple – This all fruit wine was a blend of four different apples with a hint of spice.
  • Fredonia – Having had our own experience with Fredonia, we had to try this one.  Their sweetened version came off much better than ours which we had left dry.
  • Blackberry Port – Three different styles of fermenting were used to create this 5 year old port.  It was reminiscent of a Blackberry Brandy” with a 27% alcohol level.
  • Sweet Niagara – With flavor true to the grape, we did not find this wine to be overly sweet.

In addition to the wine samples, we enjoyed good conversation about families and wine making. It was a very relaxing way to end a full day of wine tasting in Ohio.

Mastropietro Winery

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With a winding driveway through the vineyards, Mastropietro Winery was set back in the midst of the vines with a large impressive patio. The Classy Canines and I found a spot at one of the tables near a grassy area and Bushmaster went in to check out the wine tasting options.

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After I got over my disappointment that they were out of their Estate Grown Chambourcin, we marked off our selections and then Bushmaster returned to the tasting room to obtain our samples. The setup for their tastings was a perfect arrangement for having the dogs with us as they provided them to us all at once on a tray for easy transport out to the picnic area.

We sampled the following:

  • Chardonnay – Described as buttery with a hint of vanilla, I had to give this one a try.
  • Sunset – Sweet white blend with peach flavor – Bushmaster couldn’t pass this one up.
  • Dolce Bianco – Another sweet white blend, this wine was described as fragrant orange blossom and we found it to be quite nice.
  • Cabernet -Dry, but not as bold as we had hoped for a traditional red.
  • Syrah – I enjoyed the spicy notes from this full bodied red. It was my favorite of this tasting.
  • Merlot – A very dry Merlot with lots of tannins.
  • Sangiovese – Another dry red done in a Chianti style.
  • Frontenac Port – We had hoped for more from this port, but it came off to us as harsh with not enough port flavor. Something was off about this as if perhaps it had not been sweetened enough or perhaps not aged long enough.

They were getting set up for an evening of entertainment and brought in a food vendor with tasty offerings. We opted for dinner here and I enjoyed a gyro wrap while Bushmaster dined on ribs.

The temperature was perfect as evening approached and the patio began to fill up. We regretted that we couldn’t stay longer, but there was still one more winery we needed to visit.

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On the way out we stopped to take photos of the grapes on the vines and sample a grape or two. There’s just nothing like wine grapes fresh off the vine!

Barrel Run Crossing Winery & Vineyard

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Barrel Run Crossing in its name and its wines seemed to have a railroad theme going on.

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The property was located next to the train tracks and sure enough, while we were there, a train came barreling through.

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The had a huge picnic area with plenty of room for the Classy Canines who made themselves at home at one of the picnic tables.

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You could pick your choice of 5 wines to sample in a flight.

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Which were delivered on a small natural wood serving flight board complete with a wine glass so you didn’t have to taste from plastic.

As per our usual plan, Bushmaster and I made different selections and then shared so that we could each sample 10 different wines.

  • Engine Number 5 – Red blend of Ohio grapes – Marquette, Frontenac, Barbera, Corot Noir – Before finding out the grapes used to create this blend, I thought it might have some Chambourcin in it.
  • BRX – Dry red blend with Merlot
  • Mahoning River Red – Red blend of Frontenac, Niagara, and Riesling – An interesting blend, the Niagara provided the tartness.
  • 765 Red blend of Marquette and Raspberry – This was a very nice blend.
  • Golden Spike – White blend of Frontenac Gris and Peach – Bushmaster was disappointed that there wasn’t more peach flavor, but with my recent burn out on peach, I was relieved.
  • Cattle Dog – Dry blend of several Ohio apple varieties
  • Sat B Sider – Dry apple and cranberry blend – A clever name and a wine with an interesting earthiness.
  • Up A Creek – Semi-dry apple and cherry blend – This one was mostly apple in flavor with just a hint of cherry.
  • Traminette – Lots of nose, but tasted watered down to us.
  • Tipsy Conductor – Frontenac Gris

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While the Classy Canines could not take part in the wine, they of course, were part of the conversation.  And photos!

Slutz & Slutz Winery

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This winery in Canton, Ohio was a last minute find from the listing in Sip magazine. What a treasure! It tops our list of the Ohio wineries we visited on The Classy Canine Road Trip.

Virg Slutz (pronounced slootz) has been making wine for years. His technique is a bit different from other wineries and delivers fantastic results. He preserves and ages his wines by replacing the oxygen in the tanks with argon or nitrogen. Oxygen is what ages wine so with its absence, Virg is able to age his wines, even the whites, for years before bottling. He typically ages them four years before bottling although he has some that were aged 10 or more years. His wines are also low in sulfites as a result of this process.

We were treated to a wonderful tasting of fantastic wines and great conversation. We happily sampled the following:

  • Zinfandel – A beautiful dry red with spice notes.
  • Chambourcin – 14 years old, we found this wine to be dry and smooth with a fruity flavor.
  • Pinot Noir – Aged for 2 years, this wine was smooth and delicious.
  • Syrah – Virg’s 16-17 years old Syrah was rich and full of fruit with a high alcohol content.
  • Dry Niagara – A white wine aged for 10 years is pretty unheard of. This version was done dry and had fantastic flavor.
  • White Zinfandel – Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve never been a fan of White Zins, but when I saw this wine I had to give it a try.  A deep rose in color, it was a definite departure from the norm.  It was full of flavor with a slight portish quality.  We bought 3 bottles!
  • Concord – Similar to the Dry Niagara, the Concord was also aged for 10 years.  It had great flavor and was not overly sweet.
  • Sweet Niagara – This wine was an excellent representation of one of the wines this area is known for.
  • Bing Cherry – Another unusual surprise, Virg wouldn’t tell us what we were drinking and made us guess. Much to his delight we both got it wrong thinking it was a red wine. It was unbelievable how this technically sweet cherry came off as a dry red. We can’t wait to fool our friends with this one!
  • Apple Cider – This fantastic creation was made from apple juice with spice notes. Fortified with moonshine, it will definitely sneak up on you.

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The Classy Canines were quite content to chill out on the cool cement floor of the tasting room while we sampled and visited.

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Slutz & Slutz Winery will be a definite stop anytime we are in the area. We came away with six bottles. Remember that White Zinfandel? Just look at the color! Bushmaster is still teasing me about buying 3 bottles.