While visiting my hometown of Lorain, Ohio I came, nay, I stumble across a wine tasting festival of sorts located at the Black River Landing hosted by the Black River Historical Society. They had arts and crafts, paintings and a jazz band playing away to build up an atmosphere I thought not possible in this city of steelmen. But to my delight, at the cost of $10 I received a wine glass and 5 tickets (minus the fact that there were 6 wineries) and off I went to sample an array of wines.
In my quest to learn more about wine I was excited to embark on this inexpensive, yet enlightening experience. This was wine culture, locally produced and delivered to a city whose wine knowledge doesn’t go far beyond Boones Farm or Arbor Mist. Although, to be honest, more intoxicating than the wine was the conversations I had with the owners and other wine enthusiasts. I learned their stories, their goals and their beginnings all of which added flavor to the atmosphere that you can’t get simply buying it from the store.
Too add an interesting twist to this tail of grapes, is that a good portion of the vineyards are owned by, of all things, beer drinkers. Now you have to love the snootiness getting knocked down a level. In fact I overheard one gentleman mispronouncing one of the wine names, the server simply chuckled and stated that not a single person has correctly said the name as of yet today. To me that is a perfect way to bring down the tension and uneasiness of being a novice in the world of wine, and surely made a fan out of him to their winery.
I loved the creative names of some of their wines. I unfortunately didn’t get much time to talk to them because of the long line behind me. If I did, I would have asked if they needed a mascot for their Lucky Monkey wine, I think my face on a bottle would do well for sales. @(^_^)@
- Lucky Monkey (Pomegranate Zinfandel) - I found this wine light as in a watered down punch. It wasn’t that is was bad but it wasn’t what I was expecting in a wine with such an awesome name. However this wine sold out quickly and I saw many people walking around with purchased bottles of it, so clearly it was a favorite.
- Granny Smith’s Orchard (Green Apple Riesling) – This wine had a scent sweeter than its taste. The apply tartness broke through the sweetness creating an altogether light taste with a dry finish.
This vineyard boasted a delicious honey wine, that I unfortunately was unable to get my paws on because it sold out in less than 3 hours. This event went on for 9 hours, so I’m sure they brought enough or so they thought. The server was a great guy, who after chit chatting broke down the story of how Sarah’s Blush came to be, and how Lisa’s Promise was named after the owners wife and Sarah’s Blush was named after his daughter.
- Cardinal Sin -This is a semi dry wine with a fruity taste that gives off a mild spice at the end. Very good wine after sipping too many sweet wines throughout the day.
- Sarah’s Blush - This is a mixture of their Concord and Niagara wine into a nice delicious fruity mix. I went back and purchased a full glass of this wine to enjoy after my tasting was done.
- Concord - Their concord gave off a nice clean mild taste, but nothing that would set it apart from any other concord.
I’m not sure who was behind the stand but he surely didn’t want to be there. I mentioned to him how I featured his concord on Monkey Brewster and got more or less a grunt in return. Although I tried not to let this ape (clearly monkeys are better than apes) have any affect on my judging of his wine.
- Twilight - This was a bitter wine, light red in color but gave off a good deep and dry taste.
- Outback - A potent first taste that quickly goes away leaving a light spice. I was not overly impressed with this wine.
- Pear - The scent and taste did not match. While the scent gave off the fruitiness of the pear the taste was bitter and dry. It wasn’t one that I favored either.
The couple behind the stand here were fun and engaging in their conversation, especially when I told them I recently wrote about their Cayuga White. The husband was telling us how he forgot to bring the Chardonnay, which is his wife’s favorite, so she kept sneaking off to sample the other’s version of chardonnay.
- Harvest Blend - A sweet citrus flavor with only a mild scent but full of great flavor.
- Niagara - This wine had a sweet dry finish with an overly fruity scent that paired well with it’s great taste.
- Twilight - This wine was very light giving off nothing too notable or memorable in it’s flavor or scent.
This wild haired winery owner was fun to talk to and I’m sure I would of got more out of him if a cougar didn’t strike up a conversation with me. By the time I swung away from the grasps of her paws he was busy with a line of customers.
- Cab Franc - Deep red flavoring with a rose coloring that was full bodied with a spice finish.
- Haut Sauterne - This wine was sweet, really sweet, more so than I could handle after one glass. The only off sense was that the scent was misleading in that it only gave off a mild sweet scent.
- Pink Catawba - This was a delicious Catawba with a perfect balance of light yet full flavoring.
While the conversation was light, this vineyards owner seemed to lack confidence in his own wine, shying away from compliments with underhanded comments in return such as, “yeah, but we have a long way to go.” I’ve also heard rumors that they require all guests to wear collared shirts and that his wife is none too friendly. This could go with the reason why their stand was rarely full with lines of thirsty patrons.
- Cabernet Savrignon - while I usually think that this wine is a watered down version of a merlot, I found their version to give off a good full spice at the end to counter the initial light taste.
- Concord - This was sweet, however unusually light for a concord but not in a watered down sense. The flavoring was not lost in the lightness of the wine.
- Chardonnay - This chardonnay was dry and light in flavor, overall giving off a good taste.
Overall my experience at the Ohio Wine On the Water event was more than I expected, and more than I fully remember. Luckily there was a variety of foods available for purchase but only Klingshirn offered pretzels to cleanse the pallet. The only other problem, and one hopefully they’ll correct for next years fifth wine tasting was the availability of water to rinse your glass. A few, such as Klingshirn and Jilbert had small water coolers and paper towels but other than that, you were left mixing the remnants of your previous wine with the next.
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