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Talon winery

Yesterday I went out to Talon Winery, which is out on Tates Creek Road, at 37d54.438,-84d27.139

This is the first winery in Fayette County. They’ve been there for 4 years, but are just now announcing their presence to the public, and should have some releases available in retail outlets soon, although I’m not sure where.

They’ve got 5 wines so far, and they are about 50% from Kentucky-grown grapes, with the eventual goal of being 100% Kentucky-grown, mostly estate-grown. They have enormous tracts of land, and although only a little of it is planted right now, they hope to expand over time. They’ve got *very* cool equipment, including the automatic bottle filler/corker/labeller machine, which appears to be the only one of its kind in the state.

The wine-maker there is, to a small extent, a student of Chris Nelson, of Chrisman Mill, but he has intentionally avoided learning about Chris’ actual wine-making style, so that he can develop his own. Which is very good, I must say.

They have a Cabernet, Chacellor, and a Chardonnay, a blush and a sweet-ish niagra-based wine. The niagra, which I was sure I’d hate, was actually pretty good, I must grudgingly admit. And the blush might just grow on me, with lovely peach overtones. The Cab is big, jammy, and yummy, with a wonderful caramel/smoke/earthy backbone and enough tannin to squirrel away for a year or five. And the Chardonnay is … well, it’s a Chardonnay, but it’s not over-oaked. And they make a point of aging only in Kentucky White Oak, which is probably unique in the world, outside of a Bourbon distillery.

The winemaker there (Bah, I didn’t get his name) is very knowledgeable, and knows exactly what he likes. He’s clearly willing to experiment to accomplish it, and based on some of the stories he told, he also knows how to deal with the unexpected things that fate and the harvest throw his way.

I encourage you to go out there (see map linked above) and see their spread. Even if you are completely uninterested in the product, the place is beautiful, and a great place to go for a summer picnic.

Oh, and their grand opening will be on the 14th of August, with live music and food.

Friendship, like fine wine

May friendship, like fine wine, improve as time advances.
And may we always have old wines, old friends, and young worries.

This is the toast that I usually give at annual gatherings of friends – at our annual (or, sometimes, twice-annual) meeting of Sams authors; at our new-years/Christmas dinner of some of my dear freinds, which I suppose may not happen this year; and at a few other select events.

This year, friendship, like fine wine, has shown some unexpected qualities. Some, which have been mediocre in the past, have proven themselves to be of enormous depth and value. Others, thought to be wonderful, have shown themselves to be plonk. Still others, cellared and forgotten for 10+ years, have been discovered and found surprisingly sweet, and that much of the cloudiness that was there before has settled out, leaving a sharp clarity.

So, enough analogy.

But, as Solomon said, woe to the man who falls down and does not have a friend to pick him up.

And, so, to my dear friends, old and new, thank you, and may you always have old wine and young worries.

Mead and Dandelion Wine

Drinking Mead in the winter always reminds me of Dandelion Wine, in which Ray Bradbury talks about those sips of dandelion wine in the dead of winter, where each mouthful is sunshine, and freshly mown grass, and memories, and happiness and warmth.

I’ve held on to these bottles of Chrisman Mill mead for 2 years now. I thought that mead was not really supposed to age gracefully, but this is still blooming, and I think that I’ll try to keep the last bottle a little longer. I don’t want to overdo it.

This mead is a wonderful golden color, and still has the tastes of clover, honey, and sunshine that I enjoyed so much in it when it was new, but they have blossomed a little. It no longer tastes quite so green, while at the same time, you can taste, somehow, magically, a golden delicious apple in there somewhere. And, the last time I tasted this, it was still just on the edge of being too sweet. That is completely gone – no more syrupy sweetness – and just the lovely summer flavors are left.

This is truly a wonderful wine, and I only wish that I was not about to run out of it. And I wonder if I will ever get my copy of Dandelion Wine back that I loaned out at the end of last summer.

Wine by the case

Note: If I, or Bert, did not personally tell you to look at this page, then chances are pretty good that nothing here is relevant for you. I merely put it here because it is a convenient place to have people make comments. However, if you are in the Lexington, Kentucky area, and would like to participate, send me a note.

OK, we talked about either a mixed case or a full case as options. After thinking about this some more, I think that the mixed case idea makes more sense, for a few reasons.

For starters, it is cheaper. Anything worth saving for 5-10 years is going to cost considerably more than the average price of what we’d buy in a mixed case to enjoy within 1 – 2 years. And there’s not the pressure to save a particular bottle for 5 years, which would be the hardest part, at least for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, I think that it will be, overall, more fun, allow us to taste a variety of things, and avoids the situation where we might end up with a whole case of crap – not that this would be likely to happen in the case of the wine that we discussed, but, still, just in case. And it makes it more condusive to replentishing the supply every few months.

At an estimated cost of $15 x 11 (with one bottle free), this is $165. I would need most of this up front from those that are going to participate, and, of course, the amount per person will vary depending on who is participating. Please either make comments here, or talk to me directly, so that we can get initial contributions, and get this thing going some time early next year.

Wine cellar!

My business partner got me a Sunbeam 4.6 cu.ft wine cooler/cellar/refrigeration unit. I was just complaining that I was out of storage space, and when I walked into the office today, there it was sitting next to my desk. Wow. Plenty of space for what I have, and room to grow. Smoked glass front, so that I can see what’s in there – maybe even read the bottle tags. This is one of the nicest Christmas presents that I have gotten for many years.

Other wine blogs

I’ve located a number of other wine blogs. They all seem to be somewhat infrequent, but most of them seem better informed than I, so worth looking at. Here are some of them:

http://www.purplesunshine.com/blog.htm

http://wineblog.blogspot.com/

http://vintner.blogspot.com/

I’m sure there are others.

No space left on device!

I find myself with a rather unexpected problem. I’m out of storage space for my wine!

This is actually due to two things. First, I’ve bought a number of wines that I’d like to keep for a long time, and I want to store them in such a way that they will actually benefit from aging, and not just get old and crufty. The other problem is that my new schedule give me very few opportunities to really sit down and enjoy a good wine, and so I have been tending to buy wines, but then never actually open them.

A while back, I made a wine storage cabinet out of an old fridge, and that’s where I’m keeping the wines that actually deserve a quality storage facility. It is full full full. I also have a little 12-bottle wooden wine rack, and that is almost full.

I need to go through and figure out what wines really need to be in the cooler, and which ones don’t really deserve that honor. Perhap that will let me stretch my storage out another year or so. However, a number of my friends want me to buy wine by the case, in order to have some sort of wine club going, where I serve as the somellier and storage person, and they … well, basically, they pay for me to have good wine. At least that’s the way that I see it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll let you know how that plays out.

Chrisman Cab, Vintner’s reserve

Just a quick note before I forget to mention it. I was at Chrisman Mill tasting room yesterday, and tasted the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, which just released. It was wonderful, but very very tannic. Chris says that it will age gracefully 25 or 30 years. Like I have that kind of patience. But I will try very very hard. I bought two bottles, and will try to keep them as long as I possibly can.

I also tasted the Vintner’s reserve, which is all Kentucky Chambourcin. It was fantastic. It is a light-bodied red, with all the fruitiness of a Beaujolais (Not a nouveau. Not that kind of Beaujolais. Think Beaujolais Villages.) It has not released yet. I know that there is an exceedingly limited quantity. I should have gone ahead and bought a bottle for her to hold for me. I hope I don’t miss it.

Anyways, if you want the cab, you better go quick.

Apparently the mead lasted less than a week, and I missed it. Darn. Maybe some of the local wine stores got some. I’ll have to check next week.