Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Put-in-Bay Island Wine Festival Awash With Fun and Outstanding Wines

Just like Commodore Perry, we ventured onto the waters of Lake Erie for high adventure and to return home victorious. Of course, the Island Wine Festival at Put-in-Bay on Saturday was a lot more fun than the Battle of Lake Erie in 1812.
Our journey began with a very smooth and quick trip on Miller Ferry out to South Bass Island. The day was overcast, but the lake was calm.
Thanks to the generosity of E Golf Carts, we soon climbed aboard the “Holy Toledo” golf cart and were “sailing” to the festival. There were “Don’t give Up The Ship” and American flags snapping in the breeze as we zipped along (at about 12 miles per hour!).
This was our second time at the festival, which is held at Put-in-Bay Winery. The tastings take place in a tent on the property and more than 400 wines were available for tasting and purchase.
Luck was with us because we made it to the tasting tent before a downpour began – and the rain ended before we eventually left. The floors were a bit squishy where the rain leaked in – but when you are surrounded by tables of beautiful wine, who cares? 
If you haven’t attended the Island Wine Festival before, here are some facts you should know:
  • Put-in-Bay is a scenic and fun destination with plenty of restaurant and bar options, not to mention Put-in-Bay Winery, which hosts the event and offers its own wine and food.
  • The cost is very reasonable. Just $6 for admission and then a dollar for each tasting ticket. Depending on the wine, tastes run from $1 to $5. Most are $1 or $2.
  • There is a wide variety of wines, from local Lake Erie wines to some of the finest Cabernets from Napa Valley. You’ll also find wines from Spain, Italy, German, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. It’s a great chance to taste a rainbow and select some bottles for the holidays.
Our TWAV tasting team consisted of me, Green Dragon, the Cabinator and Glorious T. We were also joined by two other couples. The group tasted many wines, but we wanted to spotlight two:
  • Buena Vista 2012 Legendary Badge, Sonoma County Red. The founder of Buena Vista Winery is one of California’s first sheriffs. This is a blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvédre, Grenache and Merlot. The Petite Sirah keeps it inky dark and rich in flavor. Decant and enjoy this vino that retails for $33.
  • Chalk Hill 2009 Estate Red, Sonoma County. This is a Cabernet driven Bordeaux blend with Malbec and Merlot. It is a smooth and beautiful red that outclassed more expensive wines. Retails for $70.
There were other great wines, so many we can’t name them all. Here are some of the top picks:
  • Estancia 2009 Meritage
  • Brancaia 2007 Chianti
  • Rodney Strong 2010 Zinfandel
  • Irony Merlot
  • Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Daglia Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Dr. Peter Pootinger Riesling
  • Mondavi Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Like the War of 1812, it was a win for the “good guys” and to celebrate our victory, we made new friends, enjoyed tasty food and toasted with outstanding wine. If you missed the Island Wine Festival this year, be sure to mark it on your calendar for 2014!
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