Little Kentucky River Winery

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It is hard to believe it had taken us until the end of July to visit The Little Kentucky River Winery.  Our son is home from college and working so instead of having to juggle two schedules and transportation, this summer we have had three.  He was off work early this particular Saturday so once we got him home, we were able to escape and enjoy live music and wine on a beautiful night at one of our favorite outdoor venues.

The Troubadours of Divine Bliss were playing and we had two new releases of wine to try.

I loved their new formulation of Kentucky Rain, which is now a Pinot Gris.  It was nicely balanced, tasty, and refreshing.  In fact, it almost tempted me away from my usual selection.

The new Smokehouse Red is a Syrah and delightfully smoky with a good amount of wood which was quite to my liking and truly befitting of the name.

Bushmaster was not such a fan of the Syrah and moved on to the Plum Sinful and Miss Bessie’s Pick.

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Ultimately, we agreed upon their 1812 Cabernet Franc.

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We settled into their comfy over-sided Adirondack chairs to enjoy the music, the wine, and the perfect evening.

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My legs were a bit too short to reach the rock wall so Bushmaster came to my rescue with the cooler from our car.

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A while later, we were joined by a small guest, who too, seemed to be enjoying his summer evening.

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I wondered if he might be a prince but then remembered my prince was the one who had retrieved the cooler earlier.

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Thank you to Teresa and David for another enjoyable evening!  We are hoping it doesn’t take us so long to return the next time!

Wine Tasting – July 29, 2017

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JP treated us to a line up of wines new to the store. The offerings included:

  • Von Schleinitz’ High Def Riesling from Mosel Valley, Germany
  • Banyan 2016 Gewurztraminer from Monterey County, California
  • Ramsay 2015 North Coast Pinot Noir from Napa, California
  • Camp 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
  • Camp 2016 Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
  • Castello Del Poggio Sweet Red from Monferrato, Italy – a blend of 51% Moscato Bianco and 49% Pinot Noir

High Def was a very nice Riesling.  We had actually sampled and purchased that one before and again it did not disappoint.  It was a very refreshing white, perfect for a summer’s day.

The Gewurztraminer seemed off to us.  It was not the typical taste profile we associate with a Gewurztraminer.  It was not quite as spicy and had very little floral in the nose.

Then it was on to the reds where is where my heart and palate lay.  This day I experienced a very unusual phenomenon.  In both the initial nosing and tasting I got the sensation of burned marshmallows as when toasting marshmallows around a campfire and they catch fire.  It dissipated in subsequent sips.  At first I thought it was just in the Pinot Noir, but as I tasted the Camp reds, I also experienced the same sensation with all of them.  JP suggested I rinse my glass and resample, which I did.  Still the same thing!  I thought I might just be imagining it, but then my friend Karyl said she was detecting it too.  It was not a problem for me as I love my toasted marshmallows with that blackened char. After going back and forth, I determined the Zinfandel was my favorite.

Castello del Poggio’s Sweet Red seemed to be consistent with other sweet Italian reds we have tasted and was a nice selection for those who like sweeter wines.  Bushmaster enjoyed it.  I stole a quick sip of his before happily returning to my blackened marshmallows.  For some reason, going camping sounded very good to me!

The Winery of CM

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Two weeks ago while I was attending a conference out of town, Bushmaster took the night off work and met me after my classes were over.  Open until 9 PM, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit Chrisman Mill Vineyards tasting room.

Little did we know that they had moved but it only took a small bit of rerouting to find our way to their new (well new to us) tasting room at the Fayette Mall.

Not only had their location change, but their tasting format had as well.   To take advantage of a larger variety of their wines, we each selected a flight and then shared the samples.

My picks were:

  • First Vineyard Reserve – Red blend of Chambourcin, Norton, and Cabernet Franc
  • Norton – Aged 18 months in American Oak Barrels
  • Norton Reserve – Aged over 24 months in Cuvee Oak Barrels

Bushmaster opted for:

  • Vidal Blanc
  • Blackberry
  • La Madre – Vidal Blanc Dessert Wine

Not surprisingly, my favorite was the oaky Norton Reserve.  We both enjoyed the Blackberry and La Madre dessert wines.

As we visited and talked wine making with our host, he offered us a sample of their Chocolate which is a chocolate infused Desert Wine. While I love chocolate and I love wine, I’m not really a chocolate wine fan.  After our initial sample, our host added a splash of the Norton Reserve which changed the experience completely.  The red wine added a different dimension.  I still prefer my chocolate in solid form, but I was surprised how much better I liked this impromptu blend.  Definitely something to keep in mind for the next time we do a tasting that includes a chocolate infused wine.

Brianza Gardens and Winery

Summer nights.  Beautiful weather.  Good music.  Great wine.

Gotta love it!  And we do!

July 1, 2017

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To kick off our holiday weekend, we grabbed dinner and headed out to Brianza Gardens — Pizza for Bushmaster and Chinese for me.

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In amongst the wine barrels, I’m always in my happy place.

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We enjoyed the musical stylings of Holly Spears.

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And of course their wine!  Bushmaster opted for Sweet Bottom Tropical while I selected their 2014 Cynthiana.  Cheers!

July 15, 2017

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Two weeks later we were back.  This time with several of our friends after wine tasting at Party Town.  Marty Connor was the featured musical guest.  Dinner was custom created pizzas from Rapid Fired Pizza and our wine for the evening was the 2014 Cynthiana.

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It’s always crazy fun with this crew and a good time was had by all!

Wine Tasting – July 15, 2017

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What a fantastic tasting JP lined up for us!  The wines he selected had all been aged in the bottle at least 5 years and some as many as 7 years.

  • Tobin James James Gang Reserve 2011 Riesling from Monterey County, California
  • Kimmel 2010 Chardonnay from Mendocino, California
  • McNab Ridge 2011 Pinotage from Mendocino County, California
  • Walter Schug 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Valley, California
  • Lonen 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California

These were all some really great wines and this tasting was such a treat.  I even enjoyed the Chardonnay.  Our friend David covered up the S on Schug and we all had a good laugh about the potential of a wine named “Chug”.  The Lonen Cabernet Sauvignon was my favorite of the reds but it was the Riesling that made the top of my list.  It was so rich and full bodied and the amber color was amazing.  A complete delight to the palate!

Mosti Mondiale

During out original visit to Schoolyard Winery in June, we couldn’t help but overhear someone at one of the other tables mention “Petit Verdot”.  Not everyone knows about that varietal so I said to Bushmaster, “We need to meet these people.”  Bushmaster made his way over to their table while I stayed behind with our friends but soon he was motioning for me to come over.

Thus was our introduction to the Northern Kentucky Vintners group.  They welcomed us into their midst and we attended our first meeting in July.  One of our new friends, Dennis, mentioned to us that he was a representative for Mosti Mondiale which is a supplier of fresh juice and must kits.

Back in April, I posted that we had done our last wine kit.  Well that is what we thought. After a little bit of research we were intrigued.  It is quite labor intensive to deal with fresh grapes and it is also rather difficult to find a vineyard that is willing to supply juice to home wine makers.  We liked what we were learning about Mosti Mondiale.  We could get actual juice rather than concentrate.  And without all the chemicals and preservatives that plagued the kits that we had tried.

However, the proof was in the tasting!

Dennis graciously invited us to his cellar to sample his wines.  From Cabernet Sauvignon to Zinfandel, to Nebbiolo, to Amorosso, we tried them all.  And they were delicious!  We detected none of that “kit taste” that we’ve grown to abhor. We did not hesitate to select a kit from those he had on hand.

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We never expected to obtain a Zinfandel but now we have one that will be going into primary fermentation later this week.

Then Dennis gave us a sample of the Port he has had underway for five years.  It was out of this world and rivals the Penfolds we love so much.

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Of course we said, “Yes!” to that one too.

The hardest part is going to be all that waiting!

Wine Tasting – July 8, 2017

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We had a variety of new wines JP introduced for tasting:

  • Zeitgeist Cellars 2015 Trousseau Gris from St. Helena, California
  • Banshee  2016 Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
  • Filigree 2016 Rosé from Central Coast, California
  • Banshee 2014 Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
  • Evesham Wood Organic Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley

We sampled them all and determined the Pinot Noirs were our favorites with the Banshee edging out the Evesham Wood.

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The dessert selection was Horseshoe Bend’s Jesters Peach from Willisburg, Kentucky. I’ve got pretty burned out on peach but Bushmaster thought this one was nicely done.

Wine Tasting – July 1, 2017

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I was quickly reminded of a song from my daughter’s dance competition days, when we walked into wine tasting this day.  “If You Can Can Can!”  I hadn’t received the notification email so I have to admit, I was slightly less than enthused when I saw the cans all lined up.

How wrong I was!

The wine was actually pretty good.  Even the Chardonnay.

Two different producers of canned wine were included in this tasting.  Union Wine Company hails from the state of Oregon and Essentially Geared Wine Company is based in California.

We were able to sample:

  • Union Wine Company Underwood Pinot Gris
  • Essentially Geared Wine Company Chardonnay
  • Essentially Geared Wine Company Rosé
  • Essentially Geared Wine Company Red Wine
  • Union Wine Company Underwood Pinot Noir

Each can of wine contains approximately 2-1/2 glasses of wine so therefore 2 cans are the equivalent of a single bottle and the pricing falls right in line with bottled wine.  They fit perfectly in a cooler so they are easy to keep cold and they provide an unbreakable container for around the pool.

I have to say it again.  They were actually pretty good!  It was very hard to pick out a favorite because I liked them all.  What a great alternative to boxed wine!

A bit of research revealed that Union Wine Company offers three other varieties :

  • Underwood Rosé Wine – Rosé blend of Pinot Gris, Syrah, & Pinot Noir
  • Underwood The Bubbles – Sparkling Chardonnay
  • Underwood Rosé Bubbles – Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé

 

Wine Tasting – June 17, 2017

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It was another line up of wines from a new winery!  We were able to sample the following from Esser Vineyards from Monterey, California:

  • 2012 Chardonnay
  • 2012 Pinot Noir
  • 2013 Merlot
  • 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

The only one missing from this line up was their Sauvignon Blanc, but since that isn’t a varietal we tend to go for, we were okay with that.  The wines were decently priced but unfortunately none of them stood our as very remarkable to either Bushmaster or me.

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The dessert wine was a new blackberry wine from Virginia’s Chateau Morrisette. It was a delicious blackberry.  One of JP’s suggestions was to add a splash of bourbon to it.  We could only imagine the decadence.

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Jamie brought in three more wines from her trips to Virginia.

  • White Hall Vineyards 2014 Edichi from Crozet, Virginia – Port-style dessert wine
  • Chrysalis Vineyards 2009 Tannat Hollin Reserve from Middleburg, Virginia
  • Glen Manor 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Front Royal, Virgina

The Sauvignon Blanc was a nice representation if that is your grape.  The Edichi left us wanting more Port.  But the Tannat stole the show — not only among the Virginia wines but for the entire wine tasting for me.  It was so rich and bold with just the right amount of wood.

 

Verona Vines And Wines Tour

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The Verona Vines and Wines Tour featured four wineries in Verona, Kentucky all within minutes of each other.  What a fun day of wine tasting with friends we had lined up!

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We couldn’t have asked for a better day.  The weather was gorgeous!

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Our first stop was Verona Vineyards. Their wine list had doubled since our last visit. We sampled all they had to offer:

  • 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2015 Petit Verdot
  • 2016 Chardonnay
  • 2016 Charonnel
  • Viognier
  • White Trio – a white blend of Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Viognier
  • Gewurztraminer

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The general consensus among our group was that the Cabernet Sauvignon was the favorite, with the Chardonnel coming in second.

Carla and Jen ordered a cheese plate which featured Luna Mercato Gouda Pecan Spread. Well seasoned with pecans, onion, garlic, and salt, it was quite a tasty spread.  Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Luna Mercato specializes in cheese spreads, dips, and gourmet cheeses.  We’re going to need to be on the look out for more of their products.

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Our next stop was Verona Landing Vineyard.  Not a winery per se, but rather a vineyard which produces grapes for Verona Vineyards.  They offered two wines of their own that were also produced and bottled at Verona Vineyards:

  • 2016 Chardonnel
  • 2012 Rose Cabernet Franc

The Chardonnel was very similar to what we had had at Verona Vineyards. Both wines were well iced and quite refreshing in the heat of the day.

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Our pilot, Ray, of course had to check out the planes.  Boys and their toys!

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On to Schoolyard Winery!  We had been there just two weeks earlier and were happy to introduce this new winery to our friends.  It was quite crowded so we opted for a bottle of their Merlot while everyone else did a tasting.  The wines that were available were:

  • Schoolhouse Red – Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Honor Roll – Merlot
  • Old School – Riesling
  • Homecoming – red blend of Norton and American
  • Teacher’s Pet – Rosé Catawba
  • Spring Break – Cayuga
  • Recess – Niagara

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Everyone loved the ambiance of the restored school house with its school themed wines and decor.

Brianza

Our final stop and resting place was Brianza Gardens and Winery.  We sampled a few of their wines before settling on bottles of their 2014 Cynthiana and Sweet Bottom Tropical. Their full wine list included the following:

  • 2015 Riesling
  • 2015 Chardonnay
  • 2016 Vignoles
  • 2015 Vignoles
  • Sweet Bottom Blush – blend of White Zinfandel, Vignoles, and Peach
  • Sweet Bottom Tropical – tropical blend with fruity notes
  • 2016 Sweet Bottom White – white blend of Vidal Blanc and Riesling
  • 2015 Sweet Bottom White – white blend of Vidal Blanc, Bignoles, Riesling, and Cayuga
  • Brittany Red – Marquette
  • 2016 Noiret
  • 2014 Cynthiana
  • 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Italian Stallion – red blend of Cynthiana and Chambourcin
  • Sweet Bottom Red – red blend of Concord and Blackberry
  • Sweet Bottom Black – Chocolate Infused

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As everyone completed their tastings, we made our way out to the patio where we joined by even more of our friends.  We enjoyed picnic fare and Chad ordered pizza for delivery. Brittany Red and Sweet Bottom Tropical were the popular wines of the evening.

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Amongst our laughter and conversation there was live music and even some dancing.

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Of course the evening wouldn’t have been complete without Ray trying on my hat.  He wears it well, don’t you think?

The Verona Wines and Vines Tour was such a nice event.  We all ended our tour with a complete set of wine glasses that we collected at each winery. What a wonderful way to spend a summer day among friends!