Friday, October 10, 2014

Island Wine Fest Focuses On Fun, Fine Wine At Put-In-Bay

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The Island Wine Fest is an annual Put-In-Bay event we’d rather freeze than miss. That was almost the case last weekend.

The beautiful fall weather turned breezy and cool, but our band of wine tasters wouldn’t be deterred from this top-notch event. We bundled on our wind resistant gear and boarded the Miller Ferry to transport us from Catawba Island to the wine wonderland.

The waves were choppy and we were glad to be inside the cabin of the ferry. When we arrived at E’s Golf Carts, we hopped onto our 4-person ride, dubbed “Homer Simpson.” Homer was a little reluctant to start, so we jumped into “Reba” and motored down the road to Put-In-Bay Winery, the scene of the annual event.

Green Dragon and I were joined by Tasting Team members Cabinator and Glorious T. We have a saying, no matter what the weather, “it’s always sunny in the tasting room.” That was the case here.

There are three things you should know about the Island Wine Festival: 1) There are wines from all around the world, more than 400 of them, including some premier wines; 2) The festival is a great value: It is $10 for a starter pack of admission, a souvenir tasting glass and four tasting tickets. Extra tasting tickets are $1 each with tastes running from $1 to $5 each; and 3) There’s a lot to see and do in Put-In-Bay, including some great restaurants.

Here are some of our top picks from the festival:

14 Island Wine Fest Plus 009Chateau Tebeau 2013 Frontenac – This hearty grape is the only one that survived the cold Ohio winter. It is a dry wine with a unique plum and blackberry flavor. $22.

Fattoria Teatine Qvinto Pecorino – This Italian wine was my favorite white of the festival. Light, beautiful with a pop of sweetness. $20.

Langtry 2007 “Old Soldier Road” Proprietary Red, Lake County – This is one of two top QPR (Quality Price Ratio) picks. It has ripe fruit with cedar and vanilla. It costs $45 but drinks like a $75 bottle.

Avalon 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, California – This is our second QPR pick. At only $14, this is a great value buy and you can afford to buy a case. Strawberry with a hint of spice. It’s “pop ‘n pour” time!

Ferrari-Carano 2012 Siena, Sonoma – A great blend of Sangiovese, Malbec, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet. Cinnamon and oak flavors blend with lush Sangio. $27.

Chimney Rock 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap – One sip of this tells you that 2010 is an amazing vintage for Napa Valley. A perfect balance of power and finesse. $83

Groth 2010 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – Vanilla and black cherry with excellent structure. A towering wine. $66

Dave's Phone 100914 013Raven’s Glen Winery Autumn Interlude – They call themselves the crown jewel of Ohio wineries. This Vidal Blanc is sweet but balanced. $16.

Other top picks: Handcraft Petite Sirah, Concannon Crimson & Clover, Taken Napa Valley Red Blend, Beringer Knights Valley 2010 Reserve Cabernet, Michael David Freak Show Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon and Venge Red Scouts Honor.

After some world famous lobster bisque at the Boardwalk restaurant and a chocolate crepe back at the wine tent, we hopped aboard our “luxury liner” back to the mainland. Put-In-Bay has a many festivals and activities in addition to the historic Perry’s Monument and the natural beauty. Learn more at www.visitputinbay.com

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