Now that the wineries are opening again in Ohio after a long statewide quarantine, I was eager to get out of the house to do a little wine tasting. I decided to take an afternoon and make a trip to Manchester Hill Winery in Circleville, Ohio. Although it has a Circleville address, it is actually right beside the town of Tarlton, OH. I had visited this winery a few years ago when they were in the beginning stages of reopening under new ownership. At that time they only had a small selection of wines and I was anxious to see what changes had taken place since my initial visit.
The winery is easy to spot with an OPEN flag flying and a sign beckoning visitors with Peach Slushies on this very warm day. There were several cars in the parking lot for a Wednesday afternoon, which was nice to see. I guess others like me were anxious to get out of the house and out in the world again. The winery dog, Poe, greeted us upon our arrival and walked us to the tasting room door. Once we entered we were immediately greeted by a friendly (masked) woman who invited us to take a seat at any of the available tables, which were spaced for social distancing. She brought us menus so we could look over their list of wines and ciders available for sampling. There were two hard ciders on the list, as well as eight wines ranging from dry to sweet. Tasting flights consist of six samples, so I chose both the ciders, plus a Chardonnay, Chambourcin, House Red and Blackberry.
My six samples:
Gold Rush: This is a hard apple cider made with GoldRush apples from an Ohio orchard. Unfortunately they had just blown the keg so I only received a very small, concentrated taste. I did like the flavor, but it was thick and had no effervescence. This is one I will have to try to get a sample of again next time I visit.
Peach: My second cider sample was much better. The peach hard cider is made with a mixture of peaches and GoldRush apples. This one was slightly bubbly and tasted like summertime in a glass. Whether you are a dry wine drinker like me, or you prefer the sweeter varieties – I think just about anyone would enjoy a glass of this peach cider while relaxing outdoors on a warm day.
Restraint: The next sample I selected was their award-winning Restraint. I found this unoaked Chardonnay crisp and refreshing and loved the slight note of honey that I tasted. This was one of my favorites from this tasting flight.
Chambourcin: This wine had a very fruity nose. From the aroma I would have thought this was a sweet wine, but this excellent dry red has 0% residual sugar. It is not aged in oak and finishes slightly tart.
House Red: My favorite of the day. This dry red is a blend of Merlot and Chambourcin. It’s a lighter-style wine that would pair well with pasta or pizza and had wonderful aromas of cherry and tobacco.
Blackberry: My last sample was the only fruit wine offering at Manchester Hill. Even though the tasting sheet said it was very sweet (10.5% residual sugar) I didn’t find it overwhelmingly sweet myself. Made with locally-grown Circleville blackberries, this wine had a huge blackberry aroma, but the tart finish left this dry wine drinker wanting more.
Manchester Hill has a few more wines that I didn’t choose for my tasting flight including Opulent (an oaked Chardonnay), Pink Catawba and Niagara. They also offer a Wine Slushy, which contains no ice or mix, just frozen wine. No matter what kind of wine or cider you prefer, you’re sure to find something to your liking here.
After the tasting we decided to order a glass and sit out on the side porch for awhile. Even though the House Red was my favorite, I ordered a chilled glass of the Restraint Chardonnay since it was 85 degrees on this particular day. There are only a few tables outside, but there is a large lawn so you can bring your own chairs or a blanket. You’ll also find a huge Maple tree if you’re looking for some shade. Cheese and meat trays are also offered if you want to stay for awhile and would like a little something to go with your wine. In addition, Manchester Hill has a cabin on the property if you would like to turn your visit into a relaxing getaway.
Manchester Hill Winery
13160 Tarlton Rd,
Circleville, OH 43113