Alright folks – by the time you read this, I’ll be on an airplane en route to Tampa. I’m helping a friend with a decision – to buy or not to buy a wine shop.
I won’t be getting back until late in the week. For that reason, there will be NO FRIDAY EVENT LISTINGS this week. I feel bad about it, but there’s just no way I’ll be able to get it done.
I highly recommend checking out last week’s post. Most of the regular tastings stay the same, although the wines change. It’s a least a loose guide for you as you plan your weekend tastings. In the meantime, go celebrate life at local restaurants – it’s Restaurant Week! Don’t think I’m not kicking myself for missing it, although we already have reservations for late Friday night.
My apologies if your feed seemed a bit out of sorts recently. I made scheduling this post more complicated than it should have been.
Have a great weekend and I’ll chat with you again next week –
Kevin & I ended our Saturday afternoon drive at Harmony Hill Winery in Bethel, Ohio. Harmony Hill is only about 20 miles outside of Beechmont/Anderson and folks, Harmony Hill is FUN.
You pull into a long winding driveway with fun signs, including one telling you it’s a Golden Retriever Crossing. I love dogs, so this was a good sign. As you come around the bend, you are greeted with a picturesque barn, a couple of patios, and bright umbrellas. A parking lot is provided around back of the barn, and that’s where you discover the donkeys. And burros. They’re adorable, provided you don’t feed them your fingers. Across from the happy animals are the vineyards. (You can view photos of our Saturday trip here, or just Harmony Hill here.)
Out on the patio, a live acoustic group is playing everything from Indigo Girls to Junkyard Dog. It’s a great sound, which wafts into the barn. The barn has been completely remodeled as the tasting room and winery. We were lucky enough to get to talk at length with Bill, the winemaker, as he poured us some great wines. He was informative and funny – occasionally punctuating his stories with "Now don’t write about this!" We tasted six wines from his French-American hybrid grapes. I love that they provide you with a pencil and a tasting sheet. We tried the Woodwind (similar to a chardonnay), the Serenade (a dry summery red made from chambourcin and marechal foch), the Rhapsody (a Cabernet Sauvignon/Cab Franc blend from 2005 that is still tasting young but should mature nicely), the sold-out Concerto that is now available by the glass only, the Ovation (a semi-sweet white) and my favorite, the Arancio (an orange dessert wine). We purchased the Rhapsody, Ovation, and Arancio.
Bill also gave us a tour of his wine cave, which is gorgeous from landscaping to architecture. It’s the only wine cave in Ohio and the surrounding area, and he’s looking forward to the constant temperature control making a huge difference in his wines. Harmony Hill contracted with bridge builders and other construction firms for this massive and unique undertaking.
Harmony Hill is open on Saturdays (and I think Friday evenings) at least until the end of September. Each weekend they have live acoustic music and occasionally, proceeds might benefit various animal rescues or charities. (There are at least 7 cuddly dogs at Harmony Hill.) Harmony Hill is both pet and child friendly, and a great place to taste some wine, then buy a bottle or a glass and relax on one of their patios and listen to music.
2534 Swings Corner / Point Isabel Road
Bethel, OH 45106
On Saturday, Kevin and I took a little road trip. We visited a couple southern Ohio wineries. I’m splitting the post into two entries, so that it doesn’t get overly long. You can view photos of the trip here.
We started in Ripley, at Kinkead Ridge. Kinkead Ridge is unexpected, in a lot of ways. When you first pull up, it’s slightly confusing. They’ve turned a cute little house in a residential neighborhood into their winery. By knocking out a few walls, they created room for some barrels and some tanks, as well as tables set up for tasting.
On Saturday, Kinkead Ridge was tasting six of their wines, as it was the release date for the reds. This was a great day to be at the winery. As always, I enjoyed their Viognier-Roussanne – it’s definitely my favorite of their whites. But if you get the chance, make sure to try their Revelation and their tasty Riesling. We were really impressed with the reds as well. The Cabernet Franc is excellent. It’s not overbearing and there isn’t a lot of the vegetal/green pepper that sometimes can overpower a Cab Franc. We also tried their Cabernet, which Nancy was decanting. She told us to wait until Thanksgiving for the Cabernet to show really well, and Ron suggested Spring. It was showing a lot of fruit right now, but was really pleasant. We also tried their Syrah. I’m not a huge fan of Syrah in general, but this was easy to drink. In the end, we purchased several bottles of the Viognier-Roussanne and the Cabernet Franc, and one bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon.
When we left the tasting room, we drove a mile or so down the road and into the country for what I think was the last day of vineyard tours. (I was highly amused by "Chicken Hollow Road." I’m such a city girl.) Down a crooked road and up on a ridge, we found the vineyard, where Ron was giving a tour of sorts. He walked us down past every vine, with comments about each type of grape, the effects of the weather, and winemaking in general. The vineyard is beautiful. I’m always sort of awed by the loveliness of grapes hanging off the vine. We saw Ron’s experimental rows, as well as his delicate Cabernet Sauvignon, his Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Riesling, and the Petit Verdot. (The Petit Verdot will be released in November.)
You can really tell that Ron is passionate about growing his vines – it shows no matter what he is talking about. I’ve often said that when you meet the winemaker, it often makes the wine taste better. Coming face to face with someone so passionate makes a difference. Sometimes I think you can taste some of that personality in the wines.
Kinkead Ridge is open this coming Saturday, September 8, and then they close until the Petit Verdot is released at Thanksgiving. Tastings in the tasting room are $4 for a flight, or $6 for a flight with a keepsake glass.
904 Hamburg Street
Ripley Ohio 45167
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