It’s not unusual for us to scope out nearby wineries when we are on a road trip, so on a recent college visit with our son we stopped by Chrisman Mills Winery in Lexington, Kentucky. We have visited both their vineyard and winery before and always enjoy their offerings.
On this visit, between the two of us, we tried the following:
- First Vineyard Reserve – A blend of Chambourcin, Norton and estate-grown Cabernet Franc grapes aged in oak barrels.
- Norton – A full-bodied red wine made from the native American Norton (also known as Cynthiana) grapes aged in oak barrels.
- Chambourcin – An un-oaked, soft, dry red wine made from Chambourcin grapes.
- Traminette – A white wine with heavy floral notes made from American grapes related to the German Gerwurtraminer grapes.
- Sweet Riverbend Red – A unique red blend of grapes grown exclusively in Kentucky.
- Sweet Jessamine Rose – A sweet and fruity blush wine made from a blend of Vida Blanc, Chambourcin, Chancellor Foch, and Baco Noir.
- Apricot – A fruit dessert wine made in a port style.
The First Vineyard Reserve was a very nice, enjoyable red and my favorite of the reds.
The Norton, while enjoyable, didn’t quite measure up to the First Vineyard Reserve for me. Chrisman Mills also produces a Norton Reserve, but at the time we visited they were sold out so we were unable to compare the two.
I found the Chambourcin to be missing some of the elements I enjoy most from a Chambourcin. One of my favorite Chambourcins is a heavily oaked version from another vineyard and perhaps that is what made the difference.
As always, Chrisman Mills’ Traminette is the most floral Traminette of any we have tried. Bushmaster will go as far as to say it is so floral that it makes him sneeze! It is truly distinctive and special.
You can’t go wrong with either the Sweet Riverbend Red or Sweet Jessamine Rose.
The Apricot was a new offering and was not yet listed on their wine menu. It was a delicious dessert wine reminiscent of tawny port, and as such, we found it quite enjoyable.
Chrisman Mills also makes two other dessert wines – a Honey Mead and a Blackberry. Unfortunately, at this visit they were sold out of both, however, we have previously tried them and they do not disappoint. Adding a bit of Honey Mead to sweeten homemade whipped cream gives it something special and pairing the Blackberry with cheesecake makes for a decadent dessert.
If you are in the area, we highly recommend a stop at the winery in Lexington, Kentucky or the vineyard in Nicholasville, Kentucky.