Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ohio Winery Visit: Maple Ridge Vineyard

TANNENBAUM TRAIL – Our visit to the Vines and Wines Wine Trail continued when we rolled into Maple Ridge Vineyard. I was curious about the winery since there was no picture on their Web2009_1205tannenbaumtrail0009 site. We didn’t know what to expect when we rolled up to what appeared to be a house with chickens roaming around. Appearances can be deceptive!

Maple Ridge is an organic wine-farm specializing in Bordeaux and Bourgogne style wines. The winery is located on a ridge at approximately 1,200 feet elevation where they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Bordeaux red varieties of grapes.

Owner Jim Iubelt  developed a taste for fine European wines during more than 20 years of corporate travel. Jim worked with the viticulture department at Cornell to select just the right root stock for his vineyard. The vines were imported from Europe.

Allier Oak Barrels from Bourgogne France are used to make their finest wines. The wine barrels are cut from select Allier Forrest Oak, aged in Cognac for more than 30 months, toasted over an open fire, and constructed by some of the top craftsman in Bourgogne.

With this attention to detail, you can image the wine is something special. We tried the 2007 Riesling Spatelese and the Pinot Gris. The  Pinot Gris is in the white Burgundy style. These were both tasty, but the reds really stole the spotlight. We sampled the Pinot Noir, which was surprisingly complex.

The stellar wine of the tasting was the Meritage. The Meritage lists for $90 and can best be described as sublime. It is a Bordeaux-style blend with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with lesser amounts of Petit Sirah and Petite Verdot. It has dancing layers of fruit with just the right amount of oak finish. Like most wines offered by Maple Ridge, they are available on a very limited basis.

According to Jim, most wine is sold through winery memberships. Winery members receive monthly shipments of wine and can participate in eight to nine members only events at the winery each year. The food is great with chickens and lambs being grown organically on the grounds.

This is a boutique operation with a focus on very fine European style wines.  For a truly different winery experience and some sensational, quality wines try a visit to Maple Ridge.

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