Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ohio Winery Report: Ferrante Winery

TANNENBAUM TRAIL REPORT – The Ferrante family has a long tradition of winemaking in Ohio. In 1937 Nicholas and Anna Ferrante began making wine in the Cleveland area. In 1979 Nicholas Ferrante Sr. moved the winery operation to its current location in Harpersfield Township.
Ferrante was the next stop on our Tannenbaum Trail excursion.

We were looking forward to visiting this winery, which is one of the few Ohio wineries to have its wines widely distributed within the state.
The Ferrante operation is top-flight, from a splendid winery building and grounds to an inviting tasting room and well-stocked gift shop.
Our first impressions were very favorable even though our visit was on a somewhat drab December day. In the summer this would truly be a memorable visit.

Upon arrival we were greeted with a glass of Reserve Red which, we were informed, was a great accompaniment to the complimentary appetizer, which was a very nice sized meatball. The Reserve Red is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and is aged for 10 months in French Oak barrels. This is the priciest wine on their list at $34.99. It displays a nice complexity which can be hard to find in Ohio reds. This is smooth, but the Cab gives it a stronger backbone than Merlot alone. This earned top honors during our visit.

The tasting room was a lively affair with many other Tannenbaum travelers, some coming on the trail from the other (eastern) end. We compared our notes on the wineries and backtracked to the white wines while enjoying the beautiful setting. The Gewurtztraminer Signature (Grand River Valley) was a great Gewurtz with the proper spiciness we like. This had 1.0% residual sugar and is considered off-dry. This was tasty with a floral nose and citrus flavor notes.

I was looking forward to the Golden Bunches Dry Riesling. This was selected as the Best of Show at the 2009 Ohio Wine Competition. It did not disappoint. The finish for this glass was long with aromas and flavors of peach and citrus.

Also sampled was the Pinot Grigio. Green Dragon tried this, which is part of their Signature line.  Our fellow tasters seemed to like this, but this lacked the body and character of the Gewurtz and Riesling.

Ferrante was perhaps the best all-around winery we visited during our brief December trip. It bills itself as a destination winery, and it lives up to the billing. Although we didn’t have time to have a meal at the winery restaurant, it looks great and will certainly be on our schedule for our next visit.

I want to give “props” to Ferrante for spearheading the Feed The Hungry Hearts dinner in December and hosting it at their facility. This meal for families in need was led by the Ferrante Family and executive chef Nina Kacvinky.

Area wineries and businesses, including Sysco Foods and other purveyors, are donating food, goods, and manpower to this first-time event. About 500 persons were served. (In case you were wondering, no alcohol was served.)

Great wine, super facility, and “paying it forward.” That’s a nice blend.

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