Archive for the ‘Winery’ Category

From the WSJ:

The Top Wine Bargains of 2007
December 21, 2007; Page W1

Just because something is inexpensive doesn’t make it a good deal. In our real lives, we all know that. That beef on sale might be fatty, that cheap golf ball might not fly well and that bargain-priced toy might be full of lead. It’s the same thing with wine. Many of the low-priced wines on shelves these days aren’t good values at any price because they aren’t pleasing. They’re made in industrial quantities from watery grapes and taste more like some sugar-alcohol concoction than wine. This is especially true of the most-popular varietals, the hot sellers such as Merlot and Chardonnay. In a tasting early this year of American Chardonnay under $20, for instance, only six of almost 70 wines rated Good or better. That’s nuts.

At the same time, though, there have never been as many genuinely good wines available at low prices. The trick, in most cases, is to look beyond the usual suspects. The world right now is awash in wine as country after country, from Austria to Uruguay, improves its winemaking and seeks to compete in the international marketplace.

We went back over our blind tastings for 2007 to see how many wines that cost $10.99 or less rated Very Good or better. There were nine. As we looked them over, we were reminded again how important it is to search for bargains in unexpected places in the wine store. Here are those nine wines.

It would not be a good idea to look for these specific labels at this point because we wrote about them some time ago, some really early in the year. What we’ve tried to do is use them as examples to point you to larger categories that might be useful to keep in mind as you look for bargains in the coming year. In one case, as you’ll see, the point is that, regardless of what we think, there are always exceptions. Also, because this list is based on our blind tastings during 2007, some of today’s great bargains — Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, which we wrote about in 2006, for instance — aren’t included. In addition, we found in a tasting that Malbec from Argentina continues to be a great deal overall; three of our eight favorites cost less than $10, though none rated Very Good or higher, so they don’t appear on this list. Having already concluded a couple of tastings for January columns, we can assure you this list will be different next year.

Powers Winery Muscat Canelli (Columbia Valley) 2006 ($10.33) and Maddalena Vineyards Muscat Canelli (Paso Robles) 2004 ($10.50). In general, sweet wines tend to be underpriced because they’re not very popular. Muscat Canelli is a lovely, fresh, light, sweet wine that’s perfect for guests after a big meal. In our tasting, we generally found the wines beautifully made and as charming as a smile. Especially considering the low prices, you really should think about taking a gamble on a Muscat Canelli even if you’re sure you don’t like sweet wines.

Torres de Anguix “Barrica” Ribera Del Duero 2003 ($9.99). If you are looking for bargains — well-made, interesting wines at good prices — you need to spend some time in the Spain aisle of your wine store, and this is just one example. This was one of the most outrageous bargains of the year. We wrote that it was “earthy and soulful, with fine structure and medium weight. Highly drinkable and interesting and just about bursting with blueberry-like fruit.” Ribera Del Duero is available at all price points, but we found that it was a good value up and down the ladder and is definitely a wine to look for.

Bodegas Muga Rosé (Rioja) 2006 ($10.99), Toad Hollow Cellars “Eye of the Toad” Dry Pinot Noir Rosé (Sonoma County) 2006 ($10.99), Château d’Oupia Rosé (Minervois) 2006 ($10.95). Rosé is suddenly very popular, which is both good news and bad news. The bad news, we found in a tasting, is that some wineries are trying to take advantage of its popularity by selling sweet, simple and cynical rosé — exactly the kind of stuff that turned people off to rosé in the first place and could kill this nascent trend. The good news is that there are still quite a few excellent, tasty, dry rosés on shelves from all over the world. These three are from Spain, France and the U.S. American vintners have come a very long way in rosé in a short time and Spain’s rosés have impressed us for some time, but our blind tasting showed that the French still have a very special touch with rosé and, in a hurry or a jam, that’s where we’d look for a lively, dry rosé.

Geyser Peak Winery Sauvignon Blanc (California) 2006 ($7.99). This is a golden age for Sauvignon Blanc, with excellent examples coming from just about everywhere, from New Zealand to Chile to South Africa. With all of the competition, it’s no surprise that there are some bargains to be had. We think American Sauvignon Blanc has found a great middle ground, with some of the weight of Sancerre and some of the mouth-popping liveliness of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As we wrote about the Geyser Peak, one of our long-time favorites, it “tastes true” — and that is high praise for any wine.

Georges Duboeuf Juliénas 2005 ($10.99). Whenever we talk about bargain wines, we always note that there are some classics, and our best examples are always Beaujolais and Muscadet from France. We didn’t conduct a tasting of Muscadet this year, but we did try a large sampling of 2005 Beaujolais from the 10 villages. We found the wines delightful and excellent bargains, but none more so than this Juliénas from Duboeuf, which we described as a “big, earthy wine that could stand up to a steak. Chewy and complete. Dignified and serious, yet with lively fruit at the core.” Not bad for $10.99. In the coming year, we would urge you to look for 2006 Beaujolais from the 10 villages: Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Regnié and Saint-Amour. These are consistently some of the most effortlessly charming wines on shelves.

Penfolds Wines “Koonunga Hill” Shiraz (South Eastern Australia) 2004 ($9.99). This is the exception. Over the past several years, we have been disappointed with Australian Shiraz under $20. In our tasting this year, we found that the vast majority of the wines continued to be simple, sweet and lacking charm. But, on the plus side, the best of the under-$20 wines were better than in past years, and this was the most notable example, a wine that we described as “dark and rich, with real depth. Serious wine, with good spices.” We certainly hope we find more Shiraz like this in the future.


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From the Wall Street Journal today: Climate change may benefit northerly wine growers…

Northern Vintage:
Canada’s Wines
Rise With Mercury
Growers Try Classy Grapes,
October 15, 2007; Page A1

TAPPEN, British Columbia — Two weeks ago, a brief storm left the mountains above Gary Kennedy’s fields ominously capped in snow. His Pinot Noir grapes needed another week — maybe two — in the sun. The race was on: harvest versus first frost.

“We’ve literally bet the farm that this is going to work,” said Mr. Kennedy, a slight, sinewy man of 65, who is trying to make a go of winemaking 1,100 miles north of Napa Valley. “We’re right on the edge.”

Such are the perils of winemaking Canadian style, as global warming encourages vintners to press ever-farther north. If all goes well for Mr. Kennedy, his four-year-old Granite Creek Estate Wines will hold onto its place as one of the most northerly winemakers in North America — at least for a while.

The borders of the world’s grape-growing regions are shifting away from the equator and toward the poles, redrawing the world wine map in the process. Traditional winemaking powerhouses such as Napa and parts of Australia are struggling with excessive heat. Formerly frosty climes like this verdant corner of British Columbia are beginning to produce first-rate wines.

“There is concern in some areas, and there is opportunity in others,” says Gregory V. Jones, a professor of climatology at Southern Oregon University, who is a leading researcher on the subject of viticulture and climate. “Canada will be one of the winners in the wine world.”

Grape varieties traditionally harvested in Europe, such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, produce some of the world’s best wine — and the most expensive. But they are extremely sensitive to temperature. The thermal niche in which these types of grapes thrive is narrow, and the conditions required to produce a good vintage are narrower still.

That’s one reason why generations of Kennedys had mostly raised cows on the rolling, cypress- and pine-studded hills here, halfway between Calgary and Vancouver.

When Mr. Kennedy’s children informed him they didn’t want to take over the dairy, he began looking for alternatives. With a thriving wine business taking root in the Okanagan Valley to his south, Mr. Kennedy spent two years studying the region’s climate data. His conclusion: Winters were getting warmer, summers hotter, and the growing season longer. Four years ago, after selling the cows, he and his family took out a hefty bank loan and started Granite Creek.
Mr. Kennedy’s winery sits 70 miles north of the Okanagan Valley, where British Columbia’s winemaking industry has taken hold. A broad, deep lake lies at the center of the valley, surrounded by jagged, 5,000-foot mountains. The deep, dry soil, the long, hot summer days and the limited precipitation are favorable for grape growing. But the cold winters have always set limits on what could be harvested.

When farmers here first tried their hands at growing grapes in the 1920s, they used a cross between the heartier American varieties and their European cousins. The harvest was pressed into jug wine and sold cheap.

“B.C. wine was the joke of the wine industry,” says Howard Soon, a winemaker who came to the Okanagan in 1980. “Nothing that came out of this area back then was particularly good.”
In 1989, as tariffs were removed, hybrid grapes grown in the U.S. flooded the Canadian market. Thinking that local grape growers would be unable to compete, the Canadian government paid vineyard owners to pull up their vines and plant different crops.

Most grape growers in British Columbia took the government’s money and moved on. But about a half dozen Okanagan Valley growers, noting the absence of a serious cold snap for several years, opted to forgo the payout and roll the dice: They planted the delicate European grape varieties that had never before survived.

“I thought they were crazy,” says Mr. Soon, who is today a senior winemaker at Sandhill, one of the biggest wineries in British Columbia. “I thought everybody was going to get frozen out, and we’d all be out of a job.”

The point at which cold becomes deadly for most plants that produce European varietals is about four degrees below zero Fahrenheit, says Mr. Soon. Between 1947 and 1956, the temperature in the Okanagan Valley dipped below that mark 28 times. Between 1967 and 1976, the number of deep freezes fell to 11. In the last 10 years, the coldest recorded temperature was a half degree above zero, says David Phillips, the Canadian government’s senior climatologist.
“The changes are slight, but they’ve been enough to make a big difference,” says Denise Neilsen, a research field scientist for the Canadian government who has studied the valley’s climate. “The milder winters opened the door. They are what made this industry possible.”
As the winters moderated, warming an average of five degrees over that 60-year span, the growing season increased by 11 days, giving some of the slower ripening varietals a chance to mature. At the same time, average summer temperatures rose nearly four degrees, increasing the speed at which the grapes ripened.

By the mid-1990s, Okanagan winemakers were entering their still-young wines in international competitions — and being derided. George Heiss, owner of Gray Monk Estate Winery, was among the first to try to cultivate European grapes in the Okanagan. He remembers setting up a table alongside winemakers from Australia and Spain at an international wine competition in London.
“People would walk by and do a double take,” Mr. Heiss says. “They’d say, ‘Canada? Where do you make your wines, in igloos?’ ”

But as the vines matured, so did the grapes they produced. Okanagan wines began to earn a reputation for balanced, food-friendly vintages, and the wineries began to turn profits. By this year, the number of British Columbian wineries had shot up to 136, from 17 in 1990. The value of the wine produced has increased more than 20-fold.

In recent years Canadian wines have begun to consistently win gold medals at European wine competitions.

Wine and culinary tourism have taken off in the valley, and development has followed. Farmland has jumped to about $200,000 an acre, from $5,000 two decades ago. Albertan energy executives, flush with cash from the oil rush, have flooded the region, building vineyards and second homes.

Established winemaking regions are struggling to adapt to climate changes. In Spain, winemakers are planting vineyards at higher elevations to escape excessive heat. In France, they are altering centuries-old irrigation traditions to accommodate longer, hotter summers. Prof. Jones at Southern Oregon characterizes the anxiety in Napa as “worry, not panic.” In Australia, researchers say that up to 11% of the grape-growing land will be too hot to use by 2030.
As the Okanagan Valley has flourished, Mr. Kennedy is betting the good fortune will reach north to his spread.

“I’m not necessarily a proponent of global warming,” says Mr. Kennedy, whose grapes are now days away from harvest and have escaped frost so far. “But I do know the climate has changed here, and it’s having a pretty significant impact on the grape industry. How long it will last I can’t tell you. We’re pioneers up here.”

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At a work dinner recently, we ordered a bottle of wine for our table. Being the most junior person, I of course didn’t have any say in the selection, so it was like a single blind tasting. It was a fun challenge, and I delighted in it, firstly because I guessed it right on my initial try, and secondly because it’s one of my favorite grapes and regions. Yep, it was a young Pinot Noir from Oregon. The recently released 2005 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir, with a suggested retail price of $27.

A beautiful deep red color, it had a slight smoldering, wet wood and earth sort of smell that I associate with a cool fall night in front of a campfire. The wine tasted full in my mouth, with smooth tannins, bright cherry and blackberries, with an almost sweet aftertaste that lingered pleasantly.



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Yesterday at Whole Foods, I picked up a box of organic box wine from Australia.  Since September, the organic-friendly supermarket has started offering the Green Path Shiraz and Chardonnay by Organic One Winery in New South Wales. I was intrigued by the fact that it was an organic wine, and that it was in a box.

While I won’t get into the discussion on the supposed merits of organic wines in this entry, I would like to state again for the record that I’m a strong proponent for box wines, even if their quality as it stands currently leaves much to be desired. But, if we can get over our snobbish inclination to keep to the tradition of using corks and convert to screw caps, we should over time be able to accept the still-alien notion of drinking quality wines from boxes. The advantages of box wines are many fold: (1) cheaper; (2) portable; (3) ability to keep for a longer period of time. And demand creates supply. So as wine lovers, we should demand the sale of more – and higher quality – box wines. To that end, suppliers have become increasingly amicable to the idea of box wines. In a recent WSJ article, first growth Bordeaux Château Lagrange cellar master said in response to the shift towards more exotic packaging, “Normally, I am a traditionalist. … But if it works, why not?”

According to Wine Lovers, box wines make up more than one-third of the wines stocked in any Italian supermarkets now. Some of these box wines are packaged in the by now familiar bag-in-box wine package popularized by Australians, but the newest wine receptacles to hit the market are the Tetra Paks. Tetra Paks are soft-sided, flexible cardboard boxes coated with a neutral plastic lining and sealed with a plastic screw cap.

The following is a description of the box design by Wine Lovers:

Lightweight (about 2 1/2 pounds per liter when full of wine, a half-pound less than a 750 ml glass wine bottle holding 25 percent less wine), unbreakable, easy to carry and dispose of, the concept seems made for picnics and travel (although it should be noted that current airline security rules ban liquids from carry-on baggage). The Tetra Pak is also billed as being recyclable, although some Canadian critics have questioned this as a practical matter, as the combination of cardboard and resin requires special handling; empty Tetra Paks can’t simply be recycled with newsprint and office waste and may end up in landfills.

For traditionalists and wine snobs still grappling with the notion of screwcaps and synthetic artificial corks, the notion of re-inventing a mass-market package customarily used for fruit juice, soup or milk may seem more like a nightmare than a dream.

Indeed, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing high-end, ageworthy wines in Tetra Pak in the foreseeable future if ever; this packaging isn’t designed for products with a very long shelf life, and its natural market for wine appears to be everyday quaffers, the basic “spaghetti reds” and “sipping whites” meant to be drunk up while they’re young and fresh.

But from an industry standpoint, that’s hardly a problem, as inexpensive, everyday wines make up the lion’s share of the market. In Italy, it’s reported that Tetra Pak wines already make up one-third of all supermarket wine sales, matching the volume of low-end bottled wines sold there. In Canada, the LCBO blew large quantities of low-cost wine in Tetra Pak off the shelves just about as quickly as it could be packaged.

And even in the U.S., which has been slower to embrace the technology, the amount of wine-shop shelf space devoted to Tetra Pak is growing fast. Among others, “Three Thieves,” a California firm that made a splash in recent years with its inexpensive wines in old-fashioned liter jugs (July 31, 2005 30 Second Wine Advisor), rushed to market a couple of years ago with a new Tetra Brik line of California varietal wines dubbed “Bandit.” The French negociant Boisset has joined the cute-animal-label brigade with colorful Tetra Pak containers labeled “French Rabbit.” And U.S. natural-foods leader Whole Foods got into the stampede last month with an organic Australian wine in Tetra Pak called “Green Path.”

Love the Tetra Pak or hate it, we had might as well get used to it. With the market clearly accepting the concept at least for lower-end wines, the industry has little incentive to turn back, particularly when we consider that a glass bottle and cork adds well over $1 to the cost of every bottle of wine, while Tetra Paks in quantity cost the producer less than 10 cents per unit.

But how about the wine in the package? Two obvious questions arise: Does the container alter the flavor? And just how good is the wine?

Based on a couple of preliminary tastings that I undertook to check whether more extensive “blind” comparative tastings would be justified, my initial response is a cautious, slight positive: The Tetra Pak doesn’t seem to impart bad or “off” flavors, at least assuming that the wine is fresh. Based on this limited sample, though, the wines – consistent with the mass-market standard for box wines and jug wines – are simple, clean but not memorable, barely rising to the level that would appeal to most “wine geeks” except perhaps for a picnic or casual party.

Green Path Shiraz from Organic One’s Billabong Vineyard in Jerilderie, New South Wales, Australia


My thoughts: I first took a sip when I was still sautéing my bratwursts, and immediately grimaced. It was harsh, and sourish, and I felt quite disappointed. Had I just spent $10 on a liter of wine I was going to use as cooking wine? I still had a whole box of old wine I was using for that purpose right then. Later on though, after I was done cooking my pasta, I tentatively took a couple more sips. I don’t know whether it had been mellowed down by the air or the food, but this time the wine tasted much more palatable – jammy, plumy fruit with a pleasant sweet finish. Not much of a nose, but I was distracted by my pasta anyway.

Thoughts from Wine Lovers Page:

Made with organically grown grapes and packaged in Tetra Pak for Whole Foods markets, this is a clear, dark cherry-red. Plumy fruit and aromatic oak with overtones of caramel. Mouth-filling and ripe, forward red fruit and oaky vanilla, a hint of sweetness well balanced by appropriate fresh-fruit acidity. Simple, quaffable; similar to pop-style Australian Shiraz in traditional bottles at the same low-end price point. It might not be my favorite style of wine, but I can’t see any evidence that the Tetra Pak is any less effective a container than glass, and it certainly boasts the advantages of lightweight portability, with a small extra point for the possibility of squeezing out most of the air before closing the plastic screw cap. Decent quaff with the bold flavors of Cuban-style arroz con pollo. U.S. importer: The Country Vintner Inc., Oilville, Va. (Sept. 7, 2007)

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This weekend, four friends and I headed out to Michigan to participate in our first ever grape stomp competition. Dubbing ourselves the Grapeful Dead, we jumped into a huge barrel full of white grapes, we were given a time limit of 2 minutes to try squeeze out as much juice as possible. It was a warm, muggy day, and the barrel smelled ripe with the mash of grapes, skins, and baby poo-like pulp. But gamely, we lowered ourselves into the slippery mixture, and as the techno soundtrack that also worked as our starter gun sounded, we started piling and mashing the grapes against the filter screen in the front of the barrel. The three boys knelt in the front, Jonathan clearing the filter screen of stems and skins and Bruce and Chuck mashed the grapes with their fists. Jen and I were crouched in the back, shoveling whole bunches of grapes to them.

Our efforts? A pretty respectable 43 pounds. The team we were competing against raked in 47 pounds, and the top placing team had an astounding 83 pounds of juice, but we were placed pretty far ahead of the bottom teams of 14 pounds, and 20 plus and 30 plus pounds.

We were pretty doused in grape juice by the end, but it was a hilarious experience. Given that we weren’t intending to participate in the final the next day regardless of the outcome (because we’d signed up for a bike ride through the vineyards), we took a quick rinse and then went in search of food and free wine tastings.

I have to say, after having tried most of the vineyards in Michigan, few wineries impress me. Which is not to say all the wines I tasted were bad – there were some beautiful ones, like the 2 Cabernet Merlot blend I tried at Warner Vineyard, but even I felt weren’t really value for money at their price (that Warner blend cost $30). Most of the decent/normal dinner night/gulpable wines cost at least $20, and the barely drinkable wines cost around $10. For that money, I’d recommend plenty of delightful Chilean, Argentinean, Greek, and Spanish wines. The Michigan whites, were, on the most part, insipidly sweet, with little nose and finish, while the reds were frightfully tannic and bitter. Still, I can’t really complain, given that we spent a fun hour tasting over 20 different wines from both the Warner Vineyard and the St. Julian Vineyard.

We stayed at a coworker’s sister’s cute little cottage that evening, and early next morning, we headed out again to the vineyards, this time for a 20-mile bike ride. Thanks to a late frost in April, the harvesting season started early this year, and we could see the huge machines going up and down the rows of vines, shaking out whole bunches of grapes which are then gently transported via a mechanical belt into huge baskets. The air too, was heavy with the fragrant aroma of ripe grapes. Ah, to own and live in a vineyard!

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These are the middle of the road wineries that are worth while to hit, but wouldn’t be a great travesty to miss.

Lemon Creek Winery

Doubling as a pick-your-own fruit farm, this is a bustling little winery just across the street from Domaine Berrien. It’s got a rather sparse tasting bar, and the servers get you moving so you can mosey on to their fruit stall.

ORGASMIC 😮 : Moon Shadow Cabernet Franc Ice Wine ($45)- With the same subtle raisin and nuttiness as a good Madeira, I was pleasantly surprised by this unique ice wine. Touted to be the only Cabernet Franc ice wine in the United States, this little gem is for those who like sweet fortified wines and their port on the tawny side.

NOT BAD 🙂 : Silver Beach Sauternes ($9)- Although watery and thin for a Sauternes, this bottle is definitely worth the price. It drinks like a nice fruity Riesling. Clean, citrus, and refreshing, this would go perfect with seafood or any lighter fare.


Among the wineries on the northern end of the trail, this small vineyard definitely has a vibe of serenity and calm. The tasting room is a cozy area with tons of trinkets and wine whatsits to buy.

NOT BAD 🙂 : Ryno Red ($8.50)- Fruity and dry, this is a good basic table red. One of the better reds of the bunch I would say. Would go well with pasta or any meaty dish.

Warner Vineyards

The tasting room for this particular winery is full of character, featuring a random train car in front and a restaurant attached. The tasting room itself is a nice open space where you can sip and peruse. The wines here are decent, but do not back the pomp of being one of the oldest wineries in Michigan.

NOT BAD 🙂 : Grapes of Love ($10)- This is a good fruity white with nice complexity and is on the sweeter side. Understandably their best selling wine, this is an all around good buy. Would go well with a chocolate or a fruity dessert.

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As the other Asian who did not venture on the Memorial Day Michigan wine trip, I felt obligated to go on my own outing and explore the wine region closest to the Windy City, the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. The trip was a great break from the city. We managed to fit in all the wineries. So there is A LOT to review, hence the “Part I.”

We stayed at Benton Harbor (features much cheaper lodgings) and drove the 5 minutes into St. Joseph’s and toured the local wineries. We used the handy dandy wine trail map provided by the wineries

There was a lot to do and see, especially since this was a first visit for all of us. So I want to keep this short and informational. We went to almost all of the wineries in the region, and almost all of the tourist attractions in there area. First the WINE…Some general comments:

  1. Stick to the whites, the reds fall a little flat and can be a little too tannin. Rieslings abound, many of them are styled more in the California or French style, meaning less fruity, more mineral
  2. Do leave room to try the fruit wines and dessert wines if you have a sweet tooth
  3. ALL of the tastings were FREE


Best: Round Barn, Domaine Berrien, Tabor Hill

Eh, So-So: Karma Vista, Lemon Creek, Warner

Pass: St. Julian, Contessa, Free Run, Hickory Creek

Round Barn Winery

By far the best experience we had. The winery is nestled in a scenic spot. The tastings are generous and we felt it a rare treat to find a place that makes wine, beer, and vodka.

Tasting: $8= 5 wines, 1 dessert, 1 vodka, 3 beers + Free Glass + Free Tastings at Free Run Cellars

ORGASMIC 😮 : DiVine Vodka ($34.99)- A unique grape vodka, this stuff is smooth, so very smooth, makes-babies-bottoms seem-like-sandpaper smooth
DAMN GOODS 😉 : Gerwurstraminer ($15.99)-floral, honey, spice, complex
NOT BADS 🙂 : Artesia Spumante ($14.99)– fruity, refreshing, sparkling…you could get worse with the price, but you could get better
Golden Ale-
refreshing light, hoppy
GHETTO HOOCH 😦 : Pale Ale, Amber Ale, most of the dry reds

Domaine Berrien Cellars

Although this has less of the fun and flair of vineyards like Round Barn, St. Julian, or Warner, the wines here are surprisingly good and very drinkable. There is a nice outdoor deck where you can enjoy your wine and they will fix you a nice picnic basket of local treats from their fridge case so you can have a little snack. Try the local buffalo and venison sausage. Laid back and unassuming, the standout thing about this place is its wine.
ORGASMIC 😮 : Cabernet Franc Ice Wine ($50.00)– A cool half a benji this ice wine is unique and flavorful. If you like madeira and sherry, you might find yourself forking over the cash for this tasty liquid. With hints of toasted almonds, walnut, caramel, and raisins, its a complex rich drink. I did not regret giving up my 5 bucks for a taste, but unfortunately felt that I could get a better madiera like experience with a true $50 madiera. Still it is neat to see such a rare type of ice wine.
DAMN GOODS 😉 : Vignoles 2006 ($10.50)– A nice summer white, it has hints of pineapple, apple, and citrus. Its a great clean and fruity pour and well worth the price tag.
Marsanne 2006 ($14.50)– I preferred the Vignoles, but this is less sweet and has a lot of great complexity. Hints of spice and honey, this has good body and is very light and drinkable.
NOT BADS 🙂 : Crown of Cabernet 2004($23)– has good body, fruit, hint of oak. Not sure if its worth the $ Viognier 2006 ($18.50)– viogniers are so great in general, complex, flowery, fruity, this one is okay, but again you can get better for the money
GHETTO HOOCH 😦 : Grandma’s Red

Tabor Hill

Probably one of the most successful wineries on the trail, Tabor Hill is definitely has the feel of a larger more professional winery. The restaurant features fine American dining. There are several tasting rooms in the area so where ever you go it is worth a stop to sample. 8 Free Tastings offered.

DAMN GOODS 😉 : Angelo Spinazze’s Spumante ($13.45)- Good complexity, sweet, bubbly, fruity, and floral. Worth the price, especially if you are a fan of sweeter spumante or asti
Classic Demi-Sec ($8.45)- One of their most populat with good reason. A very good basic fruity wine, refreshing and crisp.

NOT BADS 🙂 : Blanc de Blanc ($13.45)- Not as sweet or complex as the Spumante, but definitely in the same vein of style. It is more of a mellow, fruity sparkling white. Some may prefer it over the Spumante if they lean more towards salt than sweet.




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