Shake the Hand that Feeds You: Locavore Dinner at Flying J Farm 9/20/2008 From the first vineyards at Statehood and the national pinnacle of production in the 1860s to the nadir of Prohibition and the revival in the latter years of the 20th century, winemaking has mirrored the history and the people of Ohio. Firelands Winery Gewürztraminer Isle St. George 2007 Firelands Winery is the largest winery in the state of Ohio and has a heritage going back to the 1880s. The current winery in Sandusky incorporates the wine cellar from that time. Revived with the rebirth of the Ohio wine industry in the 1980s, Firelands is now part of the Lonz family of wineries based along Lake Erie. Isle St George is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) located on North Bass Island in Lake Erie. It is one of only three AVAs located solely in Ohio. Over half of the island is devoted to grape-growing, as Lake Erie provides a temperate climate and gives around 200 days of growing season. Gewürztraminer literally means ‘spicy Traminer,’ reflecting its origins of the Italian city of Tramin. Gewürztraminer is most commonly associated with Alsace, Germany and Northern Italy. This Northern European grape finds a very nice expression in Isle St. George with characteristic floral and litchi notes coming through. A light body and lower alcohol make this an excellent pairing with cold vegetable dishes and other summer fare. River Ridge Cellars Syrah Ohio River Valley 2006 River Ridge Cellars is an offshoot of Kinkead Ridge, which is one of the most respected and dynamic wineries in Ohio. The founder, Ron Barrett, is a Columbus native who was part of the birth of the now-famous Oregon wine industry. He sold his land in Oregon in 1998 and, inspired by the challenge of something new, planted vines and set up the winery in Ripley, Ohio. From their first vintage in 2001, the winery has produced wines which have been praised as far afield as England. The two annual releases of their wines sell extremely quickly directly at the winery and we are very lucky to be able to enjoy this Syrah, obtaining 2 of only 179 cases. Syrah is one of Kinkead Ridge’s signature grapes and has presented difficulties in Ohio, whose climate is far wetter than Syrah’s traditional home in the Rhone Valley of France. The vintage of 2006 was a very difficult one. In order to keep the quality as high as possible, about half of the crop was discarded. The winemaker freely admits that this is not his greatest Syrah, but the readily apparent quality is a testament to his skill in meeting the challenges and to the inherent variations that are
going to occur in a natural, artisanal product—the very essence of what we celebrate at every harvest. Valley Vineyards Honey Mead Ohio River Valley 2008 The Schuchter family has been involved in brewing and winemaking since arriving in the Cincinnati area from Salzburg, Austria. Ken Schuchter and his family converted their farm into Valley Vineyards Winery in 1970, using imported French wine barrels and bottling equipment from Switzerland. Since then, they have grown to become the second largest Estate winery in Ohio and produce 18 awardwinning wines. One of their products is a mead, or honey wine—a traditional European beverage that dates back at least 3,000 years. Valley Vineyards’ mead is produced from fresh clover honey and can be served chilled or heated and spiced. Highland Estates Pawpaw Liqueur Olentangy River Valley 2008 One of the smallest producers of artisanal liqueurs in the state, Highland Estates has become known for its unorthodox infusions, including bacon-infused bourbon and habanero vodka. Its offerings are typically impossible to find in normal retail outlets; what popularity it enjoys it owes almost entirely to the internet and to word of mouth. This liqueur, made from rare 100% Waterman Farms pawpaws infused into seventimes-distilled neutral spirits, represents the entirety of their 2008 vintage and was made available to us by virtue of generous donations from Highland Estates and Waterman Farms. We hope that you enjoy these wines and will join us for a Slow Food Ohio Wines seminar this winter.
Wine notes from Slow Food Columbus' "Shake the Hand that Feeds You: Locavore Dinner at Flying J Farm"