A Delightful Afternoon at Manchester Hill Winery

Manchester HillNow 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

(845) 893-8724

Website

Corot Noir is the Star at Naz Vineyard and Winery

I can’t think of anything better to do on a chilly afternoon than venturing out to a winery for some tasting. My destination for today was Naz Vineyard and Winery in Kingston, Ohio. Although officially known as Na zdravie, which means “cheers” in Slovak, locals have shortened the name to Naz. The land was once an alpaca farm, but is now a 10-acre vineyard and winery owned by Jack and Cindy Mergo. The winery, which opened its doors November 2017, produces several varieties of wine including an award-winning Traminette and Corot Noir.

We arrived in the late afternoon and took seats at the counter for a tasting. A tasting includes six wines, so I ordered a tray with their three driest wines (Red Wine, Corot Noir and Cabernet Franc) plus three sweeter varieties (Traminette, Soul Shine and Back to Black). As I worked my way through the tasting, I immediately found some personal favorites. The Corot Noir was my absolute favorite – so smooth and a bit more fruity than their driest wine (simply called Red Wine). It was perfect for sipping on its own, but I think it would also pair well with most red meats – but would be wonderful with red sauce pastas and pizza. I was also impressed with the Traminette. It’s always been one of my favorite grapes and what makes it great is that it can be produced anywhere from dry to very sweet. The Naz Traminette is somewhere in the middle, but leans a bit to the sweeter side. Sweet wine drinkers would love this wine, as well as dry wine drinkers that are looking for something a little lighter during the summer months. Although I am primarily a dry wine drinker I tend to want something with a touch of sweetness in warmer weather. After my tasting experience I could see why both the Traminette and Corot Noir are award-winners for this winery.

Naz Winery also produces a few more sweet wines, Native Naz and Niagara, and occasionally some fruit wines on a limited basis. For those that like something a little different, they even had two wine slushies available while I was there – one they were making with what is left of their Pear wine and another using their Niagara. I didn’t try a slushie, but I would have been tempted to do so if it had been warmer outside. I’ve been known to drink a wine slushie or two on a hot day.

For those wishing to stay for awhile to take in the atmosphere, there is plenty of indoor seating plus a covered patio and a deck outside overlooking the vineyard. Guests can also enjoy live entertainment many Friday and Saturday evenings. After your tasting you can stay to sip on your favorites by the glass or bottle. I personally stayed for a glass of Corot Noir and purchased a few bottles to take home with me.

An expansion is currently underway and visitors will soon be able to enjoy fresh made pizzas from their new pizza oven. In addition to pizza, Naz Winery will not only be serving their estate-grown wines, but will soon be offering beer and other drink selections as well. More space for events is being added and I hear that Sunday sales in also in the works.

Naz Vineyard and Winery is located at 13414 Marietta Road in Kingston, Ohio. Although they don’t have an official website, you can use this link to follow them on their Facebook Page.

A Visit to Manchester Hill Winery

I am so thankful for a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop by Manchester Hill Winery in Circleville, OH.

Manchester Hill has recently re-opened under new ownership (the winemaker actually bought out the previous owner). It is no longer a farm market / winery….but they are now concentrating solely on the wine. As of the time of this blog post they only have four wines bottled for sale, but several more are on the horizon and I can’t wait.

 

Their spacious tasting room offers plenty of indoor seating and a cool, casual atmosphere. Upon entering the tasting room manager, Justin, was very welcoming. He was very knowledgable and explained the wines they currently had available for sale, a few more available for tasting (not yet bottled for sale but available for tasting and by the glass) and more that would be coming soon. I sampled five wines which included a Dry Riesling, Strawberry, Sweet Red, Pink Catawba and House Red.  I’m a dry wine drinker, so I liked that even the sweeter wines I sampled were not syrupy sweet. My favorite by far was the Dry Riesling – very light, crisp and refreshing. The winemaker does it in a German-Style and I enjoyed it very much. I also loved the House Red – a complex dry red blend perfect for pairing with a steak or dark chocolate covered espresso beans.

Manchester Hill Winery also offers a menu of tasty treats – a cheese board, Mediterranean platter or chips so you can plan to stay for a spell. It was the perfect day to sip a glass of Dry Riesling outside where I was able to have an in-depth conversation with the winemaker. He is knowledgable, talented and I would watch for great things to come from this newer Central-Ohio Winery.

Wines to be offered in the near future: Seyval Blanc, Vignoles, Niagara, Sweet Riesling, Concord, Blackberry, Winter Solstice Iced Wine…plus both a dry and a sweet cider.