My wife and I were overdue for some time away with each other and our anniversary was only a couple of days away so we decided to take a tour of some of the NW Ohio wineries. It once seemed unheard of to be able to visit wineries in this area, where there are now eight.
The first stop and the oldest winery of the area, was Stoney Ridge in Bryan, Ohio. My only previous experience with Stoney Ridge wines was with their sweet wines at a wedding reception in years past. I was delightfully surprised with the tasting list. Along with estate hybrid varietals, juice is sourced from both the Finger Lakes region and Washington State.
Casey and I always seem to pick the same wines inadvertently so we were sure to pick differently and then share so that we could make best use of our five tastes. I started with the Chardonnay. This was made with no oak and it shined with great citrus notes.
The next wine was an estate wine and one of my favorites; Winter Romance. This is a blend of predominantly Le Crescent. I have had other local examples of this grape and have yet to be disappointed. It is dry and crisp and shows lots of stone fruit. Casey commented that this wine is, “The perfect patio wine.”
Two more estate varietals followed as Casey and I exchanged Vignoles and Traminette. The Traminette was floral and the Vignoles had pineapple notes and great acidity. Both had just the right touch of sweetness and were great examples with the Vignoles edging as the winner.
The first red was the Cabernet Sauvignon. I knew this could not be estate so I immediately inquired as to the source of these grapes. I was told “Wisconsin” by our host. I knew this could not be correct so after I had a little chuckle, she corrected herself and said that it was Washington. Full-bodied and a fair amount of oak, this is a great locally-made Cabernet.
Last was an estate hybrid I am familiar with but have only had in blends. This was a single varietal example of Leon Millot. Leon Millot is soft and light with red fruit and a little too much sweetness on the finish for my liking. I gathered slight Concord notes from it as well.
Stoney Ridge is the oldest and largest winery of the area. With a 13-acre vineyard, they offer many estate varieties that allow you to come in and sample a taste of Northwest Ohio. In talking with some of the other local wineries, they are quick to mention that Stoney Ridge owner Phil Stotz has been very instrumental in helping to grow and shape each of them as they start their dream of opening a winery; one that I too, hope to live in the coming years.