Thursday, October 9, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: The Wines of Island Wine Fest, 2014

There is no better way to spend a crisp sunny Saturday than on one of the Lake Erie islands. And if you happen to spend it with three good friends at the put in Bay Wine Fest, well all the better. That's how I spent last Saturday, courtesy of the Miller Boat Line and Island Bike and Cart Rental.

Miller Boat Line ferry to Put in Bay, Ohio
Our water chariot for the day.
I will admit though, that the day started off a bit, well, choppy. This had nothing to do with the ferry itself or the company I was in and had everything to do with Mother Nature, who decided that the buzzword for the day should be “windy”… really windy. In fact, we made quite a few new friends sliding around in our seats on the way over to Put In Bay. It's amazing how quickly you can start up a conversation when you slide into someone's lap. Anyway, we disembarked safely, picked up our golf cart, and headed on over to the festival which was being held at the Put In Bay Winery.

Menage a Trois tattoos on wrists
Tatted up for tasting!
Before we started sipping, however, we felt it necessary to mark the day by tattooing the words "Ménage A Trois" on our wrists.  For those of you who don’t know and are currently judging us, "Ménage A Trois" is a winery, OK? I am a huge fan of their wines, as were my buddies, so we happily tatted up for the day. Then we started sipping. (By the way "Ménage A Trois" had all three of our favorite MAT wines on hand: the red blend, the Pinot Grigio, and the amazing new Midnight.)

Save Me San Francisco Wine Company Cab California 37 wine bottleThe first group that made an impression on us was the line of wines made by Train’s Save Me San Francisco Wine Co. Yes, as in Train the rock band. I had tried "Drops of Jupiter " red wine blend a while ago, and remembered liking it. In addition to "Drops of Jupiter", though, we were also able to try Sauvignon Blanc Bulletproof (in honor of their new album) and Cab California 37. And all four of us decided that we loved Cab California 37 (2012, 13.5%, CA)! The wine is inspired by Highway 37, which, in California, leads you to wine country. A nose of licorice and cherry, followed by flavors of ripe cherries and dark berries with a long lasting rich finish.  It was so good that all four of us went home with a bottle.
Greg Norman Estates Shark Red wine bottle 
Moving on, we entered the sporty side of wine, stopping at the Greg Norman Estate wines. To be quite honest, these wines caught my eye because the Winey Son is a big golf fan, and had asked me to recommend some red wines to him. So these bottles with the obligatory Greg Norman shark were a no-brainer to sample. The winner from this line was Greg Norman's Shark Red (2011, 13.9%, CA).  Shark Red is a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Mouvedre, Grenache, Merlot and Malbec. As with many of my favorite red blends, this dominant taste is of dark fruits – think plums. It ends with some vanilla oak and is soft and smooth in the mouth. A winey hole in one for sure.
Layer Cake Sea of Stones Red Wine Blend bottle

Shortly after that, another red blend made my “to buy” list. I found it in Layer Cake Wine's "Red Blend Sea of Stones"(2012, 14.5%, Argentina). A nose of mocha followed by tastes of dark chocolate and cherries and a smooth, long lasting finish.

There were other offerings besides wine this year, and my Winey Friends and I were pretty much stopped in our tracks at the table that held Hot Sex. Yes, I said Hot Sex (NV, 12.5%). And contrary to what you're probably thinking right now, this was not some foo foo cosmo or Sex in the City type of drink. This was a creamy liqueur concoction that brought all the flavors of autumn into one little cup. Ginger liqueur, cream, chocolate, vodka and some ginseng made for one extremely yummy cocktail. We had so much fun enjoying it (OK, and kidding each other about the name) that the folks who were behind the table actually presented us each with a pair of very cool, bright orange sunglasses. And yes, we all went home with a bottle of Hot Sex. (My one Winey Friend is still justifying her purchase because "the ginseng is healthy for you… Really!") We love her anyway despite her naïveté.
group of women wearing orange sunglasses with bottle of "Hot Sex" liqueur
Orange sunglasses. We are so cool. 

As you might imagine, a day at a wine fest with good friends on a stunning island in the middle of Lake Erie makes for one amazingly fun day. You can count on lots of good wine, good food, great conversation and laughing so hard that you actually get a very effective abdominal workout. All in all put in Bay Island Wine Fast 2014 was a sipping success. We are already making our plans for next year!

Miller Boat Line and Island Bike and Cart Rental sponsored our trip to Island Wine Fest. We are very, very happy they did. The opinions expressed are all my own.
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