I haven’t pulled a bottle from my wine rack in awhile, but decided to open a bottle that I have been holding on to for a little while. My choice was 2015 Petit Verdot from California’s McManis Family Vineyards. I never see a Petit Verdot on the shelves at local grocery stores, so it’s been awhile since I have been able to enjoy one. This wine won a Double Gold in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and I was eager to give it a try myself.
The Petit Verdot grape is known for its depth of color and has a tradition of being used as a blending grape in French Bordeaux blends. According to the Mcmanis Family Vineyards website, they generally harvest their Petit Verdot in September with an average Brix of 25.5. After 7-9 days of fermentation on the skins, the resulting wine is pressed and finished fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged on new and used French and American Oak for 5 months.
This wine was a rich, deep purple in the glass and I could detect berries and coffee on the nose. Once I tasted it I found it to be jammy, smokey and an absolute delight to the palate. Although I paired it with dark chocolate covered almonds, I would highly recommend it as an accompaniment to grilled steak or spicy barbecued meats.
A hidden gem on the grocery store shelf – Oliver Dry Red Blend. When I’m browsing the wine aisle in my local grocery store, it’s mostly an assortment of west coast wines, imports and a wide variety of boxed wine to choose from. There is only a very small assortment of eastern U.S. wines, but mostly just sweeter varieties such as Concord, Moscato, Catawba and various fruit wines. I am sure they are distributing these sweet wines to local retailers because they are probably their best sellers – so in turn they probably produce more of these than the dry varieties. My local grocery does offer a few wines from Bloomington Indiana’s Oliver Winery. Usually the Soft Red, Soft White and Camelot Mead which are all too sweet for my personal taste.
Imagine my surprise when one day I came across an Oliver Dry Red Blend. I finally uncorked this wine last night to give it a try. It’s foundation is Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah which gives it a bold distinction. My guess is that it is close to a 50/50 blend, because I could certainly detect the Syrah. Although I enjoyed a glass on its own at the end of the day, this selection is probably paired best with a steak or grilled meats. This rich wine with hints of currant and spice has a lasting finish and is perfect for those that prefer bold, dry reds.
I live in southern Ohio and I was quite suprised to find this wine in my local liquor store. Even though it’s still August I couldn’t resist picking of a bottle of this Autumn-themed wine from Michigan’s Leelanau Cellars. This red with cinnamon and cloves is probably best served warm, but I decided to take my chances and chill it – opening it up on an evening when it was still 80 degrees outside. I actually found it quite delightful served cold. The spices gave it a touch of sweetness, and the colder temperature of the wine didn’t let the cinnamon and clove become overpowering. It was a great departure from the crisp whites I’ve been drinking most of the summer. I could even see this wine combined with some fruit and ginger ale to make a summer sangria.
Still…I’m sure this wine was initially meant to be served warm and is probably at its very best when served that way. If you’re hosting a fall get-together this wine would be perfect to serve ladled from a crock pot. Even though I enjoyed it very much chilled, I think I am going to pick up another bottle for a cool fall evening.
You can read more about this wine and order it from the Leelanau Cellars website: www.lwc.wine
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 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.