Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Spring Fever and Ohio's Chalet Debonne Grand Dolina

It's happening. Again. I can feel it. Here it comes...spring fever. And I have it a bit worse, because I am a gardener..so I have spring garden fever, which is a bit harder to cure than the regular strain because if you try to cure the fever, it snows.

It's been in the 70's here for days now. And sunny. All at the same time. And when you live in Northeast Ohio and it's March, those are near miraculous occurrences. Today it could very well hit 80 degrees. JOY. Yesterday, the Winey Daughter and I dragged out some patio chairs from under their winter covers and sat outside. That actually made my fever a bit worse. Sitting outside with my gardens in full view just made my fingers itch to get out there and weed and dig and plant.

There are a few reasons why I should not act on these feverish impulses. First, walking on or near my lawn or garden beds produces a very loud squishing sound. It also compacts the now unfreezing soil and makes it kind of hard to un-compact when you want to actually plant something. It also leads to the issue of trying to dig. But I have so little experience with freeing myself from quicksand that I know I should not try this. And planting? Yes, I can HEAR my window baskets and flower pots crying out for something alive and colorful to fill them. But again, it's March, it's northeast Ohio and the freeze date extends for a good 2 more months. And if you are a Cleveland Indians fan, take note that opening day is April 5th, so there is an excellent chance of below freezing and/or snowy weather that day. Trust me. I've been there.

So I had to content myself with making lists (a favorite pastime of mine). Right now, my garden to-do list has 9 items on it. I can do one of them alone. Five require the assistance of the Winey Husband. The rest require the assistance of a landscaper with a rototiller and a moss removal plan. The other list has a bunch of ideas for the now empty pots and boxes that will one day be overflowing with beautiful plantings (lime green potato vines seem to be playing a big role in my color scheme this year).
Chalet Debonne Vineyards

I found another way to ease the fever a bit, by indulging in some "fruit of the garden (vine)" from northeast Ohio. It came in the form of a bottle of Chalet Debonne's Grand Dolina (12%, NV, Madison, Ohio). Yes, my state, beautiful Ohio. Remember, we've got Lake Erie, and that gives the Grand River Valley region a leg up on grape growing. Chalet Debonne is one of the grandaddies of Ohio wineries. It started out waaay back in 1916 as a fruit farm! (It turned into a vineyard in the late 1960's.)

The Grand Dolina is a bright red blend of French hybrid grapes. It's barrel aged for a year. The aroma is of pepper and wet spring earth (that could be my fever talking, though) and raspberry. The aromas show up again in the flavors of the wine, with raspberry being the overtone and adding in a bit of currant (tang). Not too sweet, not too oakey. The finish is medium long, warm and crisp with a teeny bit of pepper on the end of it.

This was an excellent cure for my Ohio spring garden fever. I would suggest it medicinally for anyone suffering a similar ailment these warm first days of spring. I would also suggest it for anyone who wants a yummy semi-dry red!

Cheers!
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