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Jun 05

Winery Week: Chateau Thomas

We veered off of our well-beaten path this past weekend and visited the Chateau Thomas tasting room in Nashville, IN. Chateau Thomas also has a winery you can visit in Plainfield, just outside of Indianapolis. However, I've been going to Nashville, a cute crafts-oriented village, since I was a little girl. This seemed a great opportunity to go back.

Nashville is located just outside of Bloomington and is a fun little retreat. It boasts two different tasting rooms: Chateau Thomas and the Brown County Winery. Chateau Thomas is located in Coachlight Square, right as you pull into town.

The tasting menu blew us away. There are around 54 different types of wine listed. Of that list, you can pick 5 to try for free. Kevin and I each picked 5 and shared, giving us 10. We still didn't make a dent in the list. We came back later in the afternoon and tried another couple wines, plus 5 wines off of the reserve list. (The reserve tasting is $7.) The list is rather overwhelming. Looking at it now, I'm noticing things I didn't while in the tasting room, such as a 1991 Chardonnay library release. Had I noticed it then, I would have loved to try it!

The list is nicely organized based on Dry White, Classic, Dry Red, Sweet Wines, Slender, and Reserve. The back of the sheet offers a nice little quiz, magazine style, that helps you establish your wine tasting preferences so you can jump into the correct portion of the list.

In case you're curious, Chateau Thomas doesn't grow their own grapes. They import their grapes from Canada, Washington, California, and Oregon, and then all the blending, aging, and fermenting happens in Indiana.

As usual, the endorsement is in the wines we came home with. We brought home 1 each of the three Slender wines, because we want to give them a more in-depth review. Kevin is even taking a white Slender to the Wine Bloggers Conference with him. We also brought home a Teroldego and a Late Harvest Viognier.

After the jump, find our quick notes on the wines we tasted:

The Slender Wines are the reason we visited Chateau Thomas in the first place. I get a lot of inquiries on the blog about these, so it was time to learn more. Slender wines are sweetened with ZeroseĀ®, a naturally occurring sweetener. The web site touts "No sugar, no carbs, no fats, no aftertaste, no kidding!" I love the concept but I have to admit, I hate the labels.

We purchased each of the three Slenders so that we can give the wines a more in-depth review than just first impressions from the tasting room, which aren't always accurate.

Slender White: At first the white seems so light it's hardly there – in fact, it's almost clear in color. It has flavors of peach and apricot. All of my readers who like a sweet white would enjoy this wine. It tastes quite similar to their Riesling.

Slender Blush: This seemed less sweet than the white, and was light and easy to drink. It's not a dry rose though, so don't expect that. It is chock full of strawberries and is quite pleasant.

Slender Red: This one grows on you. It's in the style of an everyday table wine. If you're looking for a red summer wine, this is a good one. It's sweet and it really grows on you. I went from thinking it was more of a wine for my mom to thinking I could drink another glass.

2008 Dry Riesling: Kevin tried this one and noted that it seemed pretty sweet for a dry riesling.

Unoaked Chardonnay 2006: Kevin's notes are that it seemed there was a lack of structure in this one it wasn't one of his favorites. Just showing that wine is a very individual experience, the girl next to us liked it so much she ordered an entire glass to sip on.

2007 Viognier: Kevin found too much grapefruit in this one. I was happy to find the familiar whiff of fruit loops on the nose – something I always like in a viognier – but I thought it tasted like there was some wood in there.

Rose of Syrah: Since my favorite rose, Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah, has been hard to find in Kentucky until yesterday, I wanted to like this one a lot. Unfortunately, I found this one a little bitter and Kevin, who is strange about roses, didn't like it at all.

We're not doing too well, are we? Don't worry. It gets better.

2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Tank Fermented: This had some grapefruit in it, along with some pleasant spices.

2007 Verdelho: This was light and citrusy. It was too sour for Kevin, but I liked it.

2006 Zinfandel: Good spice and berries. We both found it lighter than usual for a zin, but it was nice because it wasn't heavy or tannic. It's a drink now wine, but definitely fun.

2005 Tempranillo: This is another easy-to-drink red. It had nice structure and had a dry finish that we both found surprising and pleasant.

Teraldego (pronounced tehr-ahl-di-go): Teraldego is the grape, and I love to try a new grape. This was an amazing red color. Apparently it's often called Dragon's Blood, and there's an entire fairy tale behind it involving knights and dragons and such. It had soft tannins and berries – very comparable to their Zinfandel. We were impressed by this one and took home a bottle.

Muscat Canelli: I found this one bitter at first. It was light, sweet, and bubbly. Kevin really enjoyed it. We debated on a bottle until we realized we were already bringing home six wines. I heard one of the tasting room pourers tell someone this was "similar to asti spumanti."

Fleur de Peche: This one is a palate cleanser, full of lemon and bright citrus. I don't know if I could drink a whole bottle, but a glass would certainly be pleasant.

Vintage Port: The port had a dark chocolate finish. I wasn't taken by it, but Kevin said this had everything he would ask for in a port.

We also paid for the Reserve tasting, which is worth it. While the wines were good on the regular list, the wines were excellent on the reserve list. The catch is that the wines are a lot more expensive on the reserve list.

Black and Gold ($60): This is a blend of Cabernet and Merlot. It smelled like chocolate. It tasted a little hot, although it was only 12.5% AbV. It's a good wine, but I'm not sure if it's $60-good, if that makes sense. It's fruity and has soft tannins and good acid.

2003 Family Reserve ($60): This one is $60-good. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. It also has soft tannins (Chateau Thomas does that well) and soft fruit. It's an elegant wine – gentle, with balanced oak. We thought about buying it, but then decided to buy several of the lower cost wines instead of one high-end wine. Good stuff though – it was our favorite out of all the wines we tasted.

Late Harvest Viognier ($35): I'm a sucker for Viognier and we went home with this one. It's a honey-ish wine, full of apples and peaches, with a tiny bit of oak for balance. It was sort of like pouring honey on your fruit loops. Yum!

2008 Cabernet Franc Icewine ($50): It looked like a cognac. It tasted somewhat like a raspberry tart, with that little bit of sourness. We both enjoyed this one.

2007 Icewine ($50): We tasted this one out of order and I think that might have affected how it tasted. We both felt there was something off, perhaps a little grassy, in this one. It seemed brighter than the Canadian icewines we often drink.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:26 am in Local Wineries, Tastings, Wineries | Permalink | Comments ()

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