Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Glass City Wine Festival A Hit The Second Time Around

The Glass City Wine Festival just wrapped up its second annual event in downtown Toledo at the Seagate Center – and we can’t wait until next year. Here’s why…
Last year at the debut event, the festival was a big success – but almost too much so. There were long lines meaning that as soon as you got one sample-sized sip, you had to queue up for another long wait to get another one. The décor was also straight up convention center: florescent lights, concrete floors and airwalls. You certainly couldn’t mistake it for Napa Valley.
The organizers worked hard to address those issues – and this year’s vintage was tasty indeed. From the first step inside the hall, the atmosphere was fun and upscale. One area was decorated with park benches, greenery and photo murals of Central Park. Decorative banners and ribbons of lights hung from the rafters. Colored uplights throughout the hall added to the ambiance.
Even before that first sip, you could feel this festival was a relaxing retreat from the wintery cold. Fourteen wineries took part including some old favorites and some newcomers. A wide range of wines were available ranging from dry to sweet.
The booths and vendors also were a big hit. In particular we enjoyed the lamb chops from Rosie’s Italian Grille and the tasty dessert “pops” from Final Cut Steak & Seafood at the Hollywood Casino. Yancy’s Fancy cheese was quite tasty and the Pretzelady was bringing in the crowds with her delicious treats. I was not familiar with Flick’s Liquor in Lambertville until the event, but I’ll certainly become acquainted in the near future!
Wine highlights included some excellent Traminette from Hillside Winery and Chateau Tebeau, the later coming from estate grapes and displaying a nice twist of grapefruit flavor. Meier’s Wine Cellars had some excellent sparkling wine, deserving high marks for the Reiem Extra Dry. Meier also offers a tasty Jakob Demmer Riesling, which is nice and dry.
Buckeye Winery offered a diverse selection that ranged from Jalapeno to Pomegranate. Our taste runs along more traditional lines and we enjoyed their Leibfraumilch Riesling.
A nice new discovery was found at Firelands Winery, with their Dolcetto, a dry red Italian grape with a slight sweetness. This is a new offering and we really liked it. Another winning red was the Cabernet Franc from Chateau Tebeau. I’m a Gerwurztraminer fan and Mon Ami and Breitenbach Wine Cellars had nice examples of this spicy white wine.
We enjoyed visiting with Lee Klingshirn of Klingshirn Winery. Lee is the winemaker of this third generation family winery. The estate grown Cab Franc was perhaps the best red at the festival. We also enjoyed the Reflections of Lake Erie dry white blend of Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Seyval. Any resemblance between Lee and my brother (the guitarist for String Cheese Incident) is purely coincidental!
It’s onward and upward for the Glass City Wine Festival. The second edition was a pleasant upgrade from the inaugural festival. It’s a convenient way to taste Ohio wines while enjoying great food and making new friends. We can’t wait to see what is in store for next year!
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