When I went to Wright State in Dayton, oh so many years ago, I knew nothing about wine. I pretended. The fact that I knew a white zinfandel was pink gave me more knowledge than most of my friends. But I wanted to know about wine – I just didn’t know how to find out. Maybe I should have looked harder.
Dayton has an unbelievable wine scene, with wine bars popping up in all sorts of places. Within the wine scene are the fantastic people who are the regulars, but wine is something people share. They had no problem making us feel welcome.
We started at the 2nd Street Wine Festival. Looking back, we probably should have ended at the festival. We were there early, at opening (5 pm) and it was hot. It had to be around 90 degrees! Heat and outdoor wine festivals are a poor combination, unless the wineries have adequate cooling devices. In this case, they seemed to only have small logo coolers and some ice. I imagine conditions improved as the sun set, but the wines had still been exposed to that heat. So while I’m going to whine about the heat, admittedly, the evening cooled off perfectly for those still at the festival.
We didn’t get to try all the wines, and I actually gave up early. The heat got to me and made it harder for me to taste even the whites in the end (I told you I was going to be whiny). Only a couple of wineries seemed to be cooling their reds while we were there, although the whites were on ice. Let me tell you, no matter how great a red wine is, it just isn’t going to taste good when it’s hot. I also had a hard time finding spit/dump buckets.
As usual, we enjoyed Kinkead Ridge. We tried their three new whites. I particularly enjoyed their Viognier/Roussanne and their Riesling. Because I was so hot, I made a beeline for the Harmony Hill Concerto, which is a vidal in the Riesling style that works nicely on a warm summer day. While I enjoy their Concerto, I often get the name mixed up with their Ovation (Traminette, Cayuga), which is my favorite. Kevin also had the Chardonnay at Henke. Again, we knew we liked it ahead of time, but it was a great antidote to the weather.
We did branch out a little. There was a newer winery at the end of the
row – Maize Valley. They had some fun t-shirts, and wines with equally fun
names. We’ll have to take a weekend and visit the winery, which is in
between Akron and Canton. (Maybe we’ll take in the Rock n Roll Hall of
Fame the same weekend.) I suspect that the big red I
tried, Sinfully Red, would be great and full-bodied in some air conditioning. I look
forward to trying again.
We stopped by several other booths, but Woodstone
Creek is the one that stands out. Kevin & I are big fans of icewine
and port. Both of their ports were quite tasty. Kevin enjoyed them both while I enjoyed the darker port (Laureate). I believe that one is aged in sherry casks, and I’m a big sherry fan. Despite the heat, the ports went down easily.
We have some guilt about not having visited the winery yet, and now
we’ve resolved to visit. Kevin really enjoyed talking to Don, the
winemaker, and after all, they aren’t that far away.
Following the wine festival, we headed over to Jay’s Kitchen Door with
Mark from Uncorked. Jay’s Kitchen Door is this amazing little place. It
almost seemed like a secret, one I hate to reveal here. In fact, I had
all these notes about the history of the place, but I’m choosing to
keep it to myself. Let’s just say there were excellent wines, excellent
people, and excellent conversation. I’m insanely jealous that
Cincinnati doesn’t seem to have a place like this, and I know exactly
where we should put one.
Following the Kitchen Door, we progressed to the actual restaurant.
Unfortunately, I had to miss what would have been a rather tasty dinner
and probably an elegant Pinot Noir due to an allergy attack that floored me, quite literally. So although
we cut the night short due to my incapacitation, it was a fantastic
evening. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I might skip the
allergy attack and the heat.
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