Monday, October 8, 2012

Put-In-Bay Island Wine Fest Features Tidal Wave Of Great Wine

We made our first trip to Put-In-Bay’s Island Wine Fest over the weekend. I’m certain it won’t be the last. The outstanding wine selection, great food and island fun mean this just might become an annual trip.

We started our day with a short ride on the Miller Ferry from the Catawba Island docks. The weather was a bit chilly and the gusty wind on the waters of Lake Erie created a bit of chop. We were warm and toasty for the ride inside the passenger cabin of the ferry.

Once on the South Bass Island, we hopped into our golf cart from Island Transportation and were soon racing (well, sorta) toward Put-In-Bay and the Wine Fest. The Cabinator joined Green Dragon and me to round out our wine tasting trio. He had the honor of riding on the back of the cart with the winds nipping at his ears.

The Wine Fest was hosted on the grounds of Put-In-Bay Winery. The festival featured more than 350 wines from around the world but with a special emphasis on the small wineries in the Lake Erie region.

South Bass Island is home to both Put-In-Bay Winery (which we’ll feature in an upcoming story) and Heineman Winery. Among the Ohio wineries featured were Chateau Tebeau, Paper Moon, Firelands and Vermillion Valley.

The PIB Winery has a great location, overlooking the bay with a nice deck and outdoor seating. For the Wine Fest, a huge tent was set up with a large number of pouring stations and food vendors around the perimeter and silent auction tables (benefitting the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society) in the center.

Tastings ranged from one to six tickets with each ticket costing $1. A nice feature is that not only could you sample the wines, but bottles were available to purchase as well.

If the Wine Fest featured only the wines from the island plus the Lake Erie Ohio wines, it would have been a success. What took the festival to an entirely new level was the array of fine wines available for tasting. For the chance to sample all these top end wines all in one place, I’d gladly swim from Port Clinton to Put-In-Bay!

The first wine that opened my eyes at the tasting was the Clos du Bois Marlstone. Marlstone is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The beautiful wine is the type that would be the highlight of many tastings, but we had only scratched the surface.

We found a number of high quality gems at the festival. Among the wines that rocked were:
  • Antinon Tignanello
  • Trinchero Meritage
  • Cakebread Cabernet
  • Beaux Freres Pinot Noir
  • Mumm Cordon Rouge
  • Darioush Signature Cabernet
  • Chalk Hill Cabernet
  • Chimney Rock Cabernet
  • Sapaio
  • Mondavi Oak Hill Cabernet
  • Stag’s Leap Artemis
  • Franciscan Magnificat
  • Cakebread Cabernet
There was some great food to go with the wine too. We enjoyed a dynamite lobster cake, a prosciutto pear goat cheese crepe, some Ahi tuna and a knock-out chocolate crepe. This chocolate crepe was so good that the Cabinator bought one for his favorite servers.

The wines of the Lake Erie area were certainly popular. We saw countless bottles and cases going home with happy festival goers. We also enjoyed the chance to taste several $100+ bottles and numerous seriously cool wines.

Before we boarded the ferry back home we stopped at the Boardwalk for a bite to eat and their famous lobster bisque. It was a tasteful conclusion to an awesome island adventure.

Long live the Put-In-Bay Island Wine Fest!
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