Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Quickie: Carnevale Wine Bar

If your Memorial Day plans include a trip to Newport on the Levee, consider snagging a glass of wine at the new Carnevale Wine Bar, the latest project from La Vigna Estate Winery in Higginsport, Ohio.

As I've mentioned on a few occasions: with few exceptions, this slice of the country isn't generally the best terroir for growing wine grapes, but it can be done with good pieces of property, some creativity, and a lot of elbow grease.

Brad Hively, owner and winemaker at La Vigna, wanted to showcase his wines -- and the wines of some of his winemaking compatriots, in a new setting. "I'm really excited about this location," said Hively, "and I think it'll be a great place to show what we can do here."

The new wine bar is right in front of Art on the Levee, straight across from the ticket booth for the Levee movie theaters. There, in the shadow of the Claire's, Hively hopes to expand his offerings quickly. "We're pouring eight of our wines right now, and I'm hopeful that some of our winemaking friends will join us. I'd like to get to about twenty wines from the region and eventually offer flights of whites and reds from the various wineries."

This weekend, both at the wine bar and at La Vigna's tasting room, they are releasing two new vintages: the Carnevale 2011 Cabernet Franc and Carnevale 2013 Petit Manseng. The Carnevale Cabernet Franc remains one of my favorite local wines, red or white -- and this vintage is no exception. I'd also recommend their Rosato, which is an excellent summer sipper. New vintages of their other wines will be making appearances over the next several weeks, and they'll be previewed at Carnevale.

The wine bar opened for the first time on Saturday, and they'll be open again on Memorial Day from noon-10pm. After this weekend, their normal hours through the summer will be Thursday 5:00-10:00pm; Friday 5:00 – 10:00pm; and Saturday 2:00-10:00pm. There's a piano in the bar area, which will be used for live classical and jazz music as the summer rolls on.

Wines are available by the bottle and by the glass, and people can walk around the Levee with their wine, from what I understand, as long as it's in a La Vigna glass. (Ask about that last part at the bar to be may just be for special events.)

In any case, a nice new addition to the Levee. Check it out.

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