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 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. Open 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.