Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Winey Fun: Thoughts from 2012 Island Wine Fest, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

The Winey Family took our very first trip to the Lake Erie Islands this summer and I got to visit two of the wineries on the islands (Kelley's Island Winery, Heineman's Winery). We really enjoyed ourselves and were looking forward to our next trip out there. And then something wonderful happened: The Winey Mom was invited by the Miller Boat Line to attend the 10th Annual Island Wine Festival. Now, understand, I may be a Winey Mom, but I am a very smart Winey Mom. And when some very nice people offer a day full of transportation (ferry and golf cart!), wine and food to you and three of your friends, I would never be so unintelligent as to turn that down! (Seriously, would you?)
Our vessel to the festival:
Miller Ferry 

So on a brisk Saturday morning, the four Winey Moms boarded the Miller Ferry and bounced (it was kind of windy and I must admit we got a kick out of the astonished look on the face of our one friend who'd never been on a ferry that could take cars as well as people, much less do it leaping over a very choppy lake) our way across Lake Erie to South Bass Island's Put-in-Bay.  And there, on the grounds of the Put-in-Bay Winery was our festival.

Raising those Wine Festival glasses!
We stood for one quick moment gazing at the tables that held over 350 different wines from all over the world. We raised our glasses, and then headed on in. Our mission was to try as many different, new wines that we could so we'd have a whole new sipping repertoire to head home with. And while we made a lot of headway in this mission, in order to recount everything we sipped, I would need a separate blog (and a much better memory, to be painfully honest). So let me tell you about our sipping highlights.

The very first table we stopped at was offering samples of one of my favorite wines ever: Ménage à Trois. I am a huge fan of their red blend, but they also had their Pinot Grigio and their brand new Cabernet Sauvignon to sample. I will put it simply: find the Cabernet Sauvignon (13.7%, 2010, California) and get some. It was a wonderfully smooth wine, full of flavor and finish! The Pinot was also very good, but on a chilly fall day, the Cabernet stood out as one of our favorites. And this was our first table!!

My one friend had been telling me about this wonderful red wine she'd had at our local wine bar. And lo and behold, right next to the Ménage à Trois, there it was: The Show's Garnacha (14.9%, 2010, Northeastern Spain). Talk about a coincidence! This was my first experience with the Garnacha grape and I was not disappointed! Lots of fruit and a tinge of dark chocolate. I went home with a bottle of this one, easy decision there.

Cute polka-dot label
As we rounded the corner some very cute labels caught our eyes (No, we are not above the cute label draw. We're human for gosh sakes.) My friends decided to sip some OohLaLa Riesling. I didn't have any, but a bottle came home with us, so I'd say go for the cute polka dot labels and try some.

Moscato has been a hot wine this past year, and we couldn't pass up a chance to try some, especially since none of us had ever had Lotto Moscato before. I tasted a lot of bubbly peach and some smooth honeysuckle in it. And yes, a few bottles of Lotto came home with some of us.

Next up was Kendall Jackson. They make a Chardonnay that has become one of my go-to, never fail wines, but this time I spotted a Vintner's Reserve red blend called Summation (135%,2008, California). Wow! Another good reason to drink blends here. My (sloppier by the minute) notes mentioned rich, smooth, mocha and cherry. Second bottle into the Winey Mom carrier.

And then we rounded the corner and hit the Cakebread Cellars selection of wines. I will be honest with you, dear Winey friends, and admit that I have seen this wine quite a bit, but it is so darned pricey ($49 Chardonnay, $82 Cabernet) that I just didn't dare try it. Imagine spending all that money and not liking the wine? Horrors. But, this was the perfect opportunity for a sampling (although even the samples were on the pricey side: 4 and 5 tickets - most other wines were one or two sampling tickets). So I tried some of the Chardonnay. And yes, it was very good. But it wasn't any better than some much less expensive Chardonnay I've had. Ditto the Cabernet. Really, nothing against them, it's just that in my Winey little opinion, you can get wines that are just as good for much, much less.  One of us broke away to try some equally pricey Trinchero Meritage, which was retailing for $56 a bottle. Same thing. Good, but worth the money? Um, maybe not.

Giggle of the day
Back in the land of more affordable Winey Mom prices, we were all stopped dead at the very last table on our circuit.  Because there it was: the giggle of the day: Bitch Grenache (14%, 2009, Spain). Need I tell you that there were a bunch of ladies crowding round that table? Or that the sampling volunteers were having a really, really good time? Probably not. Ok, well, despite the fun pink label and all the thoughts that were running through our minds (we are all mothers of teenaged daughters...and let's just say that that noun works both ways), we reasoned that we loved The Show Granacha (which is Grenache in Spanish) so let's try this one. And you know what? We really liked it. It made the trip back home with us as well, and I have to say we had so much fun asking each other if we had our Bitches with us (not in us, with us).
So, mission accomplished? Well, let's see. Four Winey Moms got to try a whole bunch of new wines. They came home with 12 bottles between them. They had an amazingly fun time with the volunteers and attendees at the Festival. They got to miss sitting at a freezing cold varsity soccer game, sending the Winey Hubbies out on their own. They rode a ferry, drove a golf cart, did some shopping and laughed all day long.
Mission totally accomplished!

The Moms above were the guests of Miller Boat Lines, and were treated to an absolutely wonderful boat ride, tickets to the Wine Festival entry and tasting tickets for this article. (And yes, we wound up buying more tasting tickets..there were four of us, after all :)
We were also the guests of Island Transportation, who provided us with a golf cart to ride around in all day. And thank heavens they did, too! We'd have never made it on foot.

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  1. Great article!!!

  2. Another reason to return to Put In Bay. Went this summer for the first time with hubby. Had a fabulous day. WINEY LADIES ROCK. Great island, food, wines and people!


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