Last week’s Wine over Water event went well. The week before the event, the remnants of Hurricane Ike slammed Cincinnati with an awful windstorm. Over a million people were without power for some period of time. One of the last places to regain power was the Purple People Bridge – the staging area for our little shindig. Thanks to a generator for the band, some well-placed arc lamps, candles, and the ambient light of the Cincinnati skyline, the show went on…
There were five Kentucky wineries and four “international” pouring stations. Of the Kentucky wineries, by far the most pleasant surprise was Shandio Valley Winery. Hailing from Carrollton, KY – these folks hadn’t knuckled under to the market for puckeringly sweet fruit wines that many of the other local wineries crank out. Their Riesling Reserve was Alsace-style…bone dry, yet with a very pleasant fruit nose and well-balanced palate. They also were pouring their “Ted’s Red” – one of the lightest-in-color Grenaches I’ve ever seen. Despite the color, the body was full of fruit, and the finish held up more strongly than I expected. Best part – both these wines were under $15, so they receive the Vine’s seal of approval. If you’re headed down towards Louisville, stop in and see Harold and Jami. They’ll treat you right.
The other local wineries? Most of their wines were well out of our price range, and few of the wines were exceptional enough to really comment on extensively. Wineries should not be selling bottles of Chambourcin or Norton for $20. Period.
As for the other pouring stations, we had two reds and two whites, the offerings were:
Alice White 2007 Shiraz – a pleasant enough sluggable red. A pretty typical Australian Shiraz – lots of fruit, some tannin and vanilla at the end. Simple and drinkable. $8-9.
Woodbridge 2006 Pinot Noir – of the “international” wines, this one was my least favorite. To me, it came across as a pinot noir trying to be a merlot and just missing. I usually don’t think “fruit bomb” and “pinot noir” together, but this was about as close as one can get. I would guess you’d need to decant the heck out of it to get to any complexity, but if you just want something you can throw back for $6-7, it’s OK.
Ruffino 2007 Orvieto Classico – I really preferred the whites to the reds that were selected for this event. I didn’t have any input into what we ended up pouring, largely because…well…I was in the Mediterranean when they made these decisions. But this wine took me back to the ship again. We were initially scheduled to go to Orvieto on our trip but our tour was cancelled. Alas. This wine is probably a good indication of what we’d have encountered. Fresh nose, light, appley and crisp to taste – this is an extremely refreshing wine that goes extremely well with any fish or light soup. $7-9.
Monkey Bay 2007 Sauvignon Blanc – This was the wine that I became most familiar with as the evening went along, since I was stealing sips from the bottle for much of the evening…to keep my palate sharp, of course. This Kiwi offering is fun in a bottle. A classic Marlborough sauvignon blanc -- full of grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and almost any other tropical fruit you might want to list. The palate had some weight to it, and it didn’t finish as crisply as many sauvignons, but it was still a fun wine. From the reactions of the folks at the event, I had a number of people tell me that this wine was the “best on the bridge.” I would concur after my samplings. $9-11.
By the time we finished the strike of the event and everyone had gathered for a farewell drink on the patio of one of the organizers, we were all happily exhausted. It’s always good to see an event go off well – especially when there’s no electricity!
Same time next year, everyone – put it on your calendar and join us…