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.

School House Winery

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The minute I saw this winery I was in love. There’s just something about the charm of an old school house.

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Each of their wines were named with that school house image in mind. I stayed outside with the Classy Canines in the large covered pavilion while Bushmaster obtained samples for us to try:

  • Pep Rally – Red blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon – This was a Chianti style dry red.
  • Bully Red – Chambourcin – We were surprised by how fruity this was, but it was missing that earthy Chambourcin flavor I look for.
  • Prom Night – Dry red
  • Ruslin Hills White – White blend of Delaware and Niagara – This was a new blend for us and quite nice. The Niagara was more prominent.
  • Class Clown – Pink Catawba – This was light and refreshing and a great choice for a summer wine.
  • Teacher’s Ade – Lemon – Very tart and tasty, we love trying the unusual wines.
  • Cross Your Tees – Black tea – Another unusual wine which I had to try since making my own tea wine. It was light and sweet with a definite tea flavor.

It was lunchtime when we were there so we selected the Chicken, Cheese and Garlic Pizza from their menu. It came with tons of cheese and a sprinkling of of basil. The crust was perfect. It was so delicious!

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the shade with a nice breeze while the Classy Canines hovered about waiting for “pizza bones” (crusts).

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When we weren’t looking, Brody thought he might go adventuring on his own and somehow managed to slip his harness. We retrieved him before he wandered very far.

School House Winery had a wonderful outside area with not only the pavilion, but a patio, as well as a covered stage with outdoor picnic seating. Their event calendar is full with weekly entertainment and activities. What a fun stop!

Silver Moon Winery

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Not on our original itinerary, Silver Moon Winery was nearby to Breitenbach Cellars and the Swiss Heritage winery.  We had eliminated them after calling ahead when they didn’t seem very receptive to the idea of a visit from the Classy Canines.  We were literally passing them as we headed to our next stop so we decided to swing in and see what our options were.  It was still morning with pleasant temperatures and we could park right next to the patio and keep the dogs in view at all times.

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Bushmaster went in to check things out. As it turned out, they were fine with us having the dogs with us on the patio and very accommodating as Bushmaster ran back and forth to get our samples. At first the Classy Canines were a bit concerned about his momentary disappearance.

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It was a beautiful morning and the breeze on the patio was quite lovely. Peanut made himself at home hoping perhaps he might be served a special treat.

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We each did a separate tasting but shared our samples so we could taste as many of their wines as possible. Our coordinated picks included:

  • Siciliano Red – Nebbiolo
  • Merlot – Again, another good Merlot. I found this to be the best of the reds.
  • Zinfandel – This one was a bit too raisiny for me.
  • Blood of Zeus – Sangiovese
  • Luna Rossa – Red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
  • Magnificco Italiano – Montepulciano
  • Traminette – One of my go to whites, this one seemed watered down and had a bit too much acid for my palate.
  • Cayuga White – Sourced from local grapes, it was nice to get a taste of one of the grapes we had come for.
  • Symphony – This delicate white had a light floral nose and seemed to be like a lighter version of a good Traminette.  We found this to be the best of the whites.
  • Luna Bianca – Oaked Chardonnay – More to my liking than Bushmaster’s, this wine was buttery with wood on the nose. It also had a surprising sweet flavor.
  • Diamond – Another local grape we were interested in and very well done.
  • Kiwi Pear – I enjoyed the spice notes, but it was lacking in the fruit and was too similar to sugar water.
  • Razzle Dazzle – Watermelon Blush – This one reminded me of a Jolly Rancher or a Sweet Tart. Once again, too similar to sugar water.
  • Northern Nights – Riesling Ice Wine – Being partial to the grapes, we were disappointed that this one didn’t have more flavor. Typical of an ice wine, it was sweet and syrupy.
  • Fire & Ice – Riesling and Cabernet Franc Ice Wine – The berry flavor from the Cabernet Franc was much more distinctive in this wine and our preference of the ice wines.

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After we finished our tasting, Bushmaster went inside to settle our tab. The Classy Canines watched to make sure it all went well.

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We were very glad we hadn’t missed out on Silver Moon. While the reds were not to our liking, we felt that they did a nice job with the whites. We have found there can sometimes be a huge difference in wines crafted from local fruit rather than sourced from far away locations. Our favorites were the locally sourced Symphony and Diamond.