“Keep Calm & Wine On”
That was the theme of this year’s Swiss Wine Festival and so we did. For us, it marked the fifth year in a row that we have attended.
We got an early start with plans to enjoy a full day of tastings. Admission to the wine pavilion included souvenir glasses, and new this year, Indiana Artisan cheese samples from Fair Oaks Farms. Wineries participating were:
- Best Vineyards
- Buck Creek Winery
- Carousel Winery
- Cedar Creek Winery
- Ertel Cellars
- French Lick Winery
- Harmony Winery
- Holtkamp Winery
- Indian Creek Winery
- Ridge Winery
- Windy Knoll Winery
- Winzerwald Winery
Behold the Wine Pavilion! Or as we like to call it, the Adult Playpen. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. We had beautiful blue skies and perfect temperatures. We were ready to party!
Our first stop was Best Vineyards. It had been a while since we had visited their winery and we were happy to see they had joined the festival this year. We remembered them well for their amazing fruit wines and they did not disappoint. Their Mango was just as good as ever and their newly release Illudium Q-26 was quite the unusual surprise. Actually made from lemons it was very tart, refreshing and fun.
Carousel Winery was next. It was good to see our friends there and they easily remembered us from our sojourn to their winery to purchase their last three bottles of Aglianico two years ago. As always, their wines were fantastic. Their Traminette was delicious as was their Cherry wine. Their Pomegranate had a wonderful port-like quality and their Shadow Dog Port was out of this world.
Winzerwald Winery has been one of our favorites since the very beginning. We very much enjoy their German-Style wines. Between the two of us, we sampled nearly everything they had to offer. Bushmaster’s favorite here was their Riesling. Their Mai Wein infused with sweet woodruff caught my fancy. And of course I had to have a bottle of their Schweizer Spice to put away for Thanksgiving.
Next, it was on to French Lick Winery. Another favorite, they offer quite a variety of wines from reds to whites, dry to sweet, fruit wines, as well as dessert wines. Again, we sampled nearly everything. Not surprisingly, my favorites were the Noiret, Norton, Norton Rose, and Traminette. Bushmaster prefered the Steuben. We both agreed that their French Tickle was the perfect choice for a New Year’s toast. Their fortified Heaven’s View Port and Crema Dolce also topped our list.
We were looking to restock with Dam View Red as we moved on to Ridge Winery. Recently, we had shared a bottle of with family and it was quite the hit. It had been aging in our cellar and had taken on a port-like quality. Their newer vintage, while good, was not quite the same experience, but with given some time, we may be able to recapture that flavor. I found their Swiss Wine Festival to be delightfully woody and their signature Black Jack to be the perfect blend of blackberry and apple.
Ertel Cellars was our next stop. They had a full wine list with something for everyone. Hands down, their Strawberry wine is one of the best we’ve ever tasted. It has a beautiful nose and is so full of strawberry flavor.
We wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss Windy Knoll Winery this year. This was another winery with quite a variety. Their Seyval with its buttery oak flavors was quite intriguing to me and probably the biggest surprise of the day as this typically would not be my pick. Windy Knoll Reserve was also quite interesting and we guessed blackberry was the dominant fruit. Summer Strawberry was also a very well done strawberry wine.
We were just about at our limit when the people at our table recommended that we not miss Cedar Creek Winery. Most intriguing were their Black Tie blackberry and Summer Breeze watermelon wines.
Much like last year, there were so many sweet wines. Although we had tried to pace ourselves and concentrate more on the drier wines which we tend to prefer, all those sweet wines just wore us out. A little goes a long way.
In addition to the terrific cheese samples, we enjoyed a fantastic meal of beef tips from Mr. Beefy’s. This has become our favorite and we look forward to it every year.
All in all, it was another wonderful festival. We enjoyed laughter, smiles, new tastes, and good conversation with other wine lovers. There’s just nothing quite like a wine festival!