Travelling by Twos – Last Day in Ohio Wine Country

Got ourselves a nice final day of wine tourism on a beautiful sunny day.

We started off with a nice little family run place, Virant Family Winery.  It’s not as splashy as some of the others but that’s fine.  Relaxed, homey kind of place with some interesting wines.  We snagged a tasty Cabernet Franc (the current favorite varietal of my Lady)

A beautiful drive out into lots of vineyards brought us to the folks at M Cellars.  A gorgeous building in a wonderful setting.  Inside is a beautiful tasting room that reminded us of our favorite local winery,  21 Brix.  Turns out that the folks at M Cellars know 21 Brix and used it as a bit of an inspiration.  The wines were very good as was the staff.  We went with a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend.

Right across the road from M Cellars is the Red Eagle Distillery.  They specialize in Bourbon and Rye whiskies made from local corn.  Neither of us drink whiskey so we took a pass.  Next visit we may take a look.

Just up the road (as in you can see it from M Cellars) is South River Vineyard.  Housed in an old church with beautiful patio areas added outside this winery easily led the way in unique and charming ambiance.  As we were sticking with dry reds we tried a flight of four.  No cafeteria tray here with dinky plastic cups.  Beautiful wood holder with nicely sized glasses.  Three blends (named Karma, Exodus and Trinity) and a Cabernet Franc.  Liked all of them but went with Trinity, an off dry blend of Cab Franc, Pinot Noir and Chambercin.  Very nice.

Next up was Spring Hill Winery.  Another nice winery, nice room, great outside seating, knowledgeable staff and nice wines.  And I feel really, REALLY guilty that we didn’t buy anything here.  The problem is that they were at the end of our trip, we already had lots of wine and were looking for the really outstanding wine at that point.  If we had visited Spring Hill at the beginning of the trip we probably would have bought both of the dry reds they offer.  If you’re planning a trip definitely put these folks on your list.  We will.    So guilty feeling.

Our next stop was Deer’s Leap Winery.  Um, if you can’t say something nice, remain silent?  Nothing to recommend here.

We wrapped up with another winner at Laurello Vineyards.  The outside looks pretty plain but the inside was beautiful.  The lady behind the tasting counter knew her stuff (great discussion over the myth that the NE Ohio region can’t grow good dry red wine  grapes) and some fabulous wines.  Nice flight of four wines in wine glasses and a very nice wooden carrier.  We tried a dry white blend called Josephine that we liked plus three reds.  Really came down to two and the condition of the bank account.  In the end we decided we could only snag one.  Sigh.  Really loved the Chianti-style red blend called Cosmo but decided to go with the Christopher Reserve Cuvee 2009+2010.  Really nice now and the wine master believes will be even better in a year.  So we dropped a few more $$ and will put this one away till next year.  A really wonderful coda to our trip.

In the next post I’ll take a look at our overall impressions of this part of the wine universe.

I do want to give a nod to several places where we ate that we really liked.  Dinner at the Lake House Inn was great (some of the stuff going to tables near us looked INCREDIBLE), lunch at Grand River Cellars Winery was wonderful,  we did dinner at Eddie’s Grill in Geneva On the Lake which was just fun (burgers and hot dogs in an environment that is vaguely reminiscent of places like Cafe du Monde.  Similar kind of energy too).  Finally we grabbed lunch on Sunday in Painesville Ohio at a place called Sammy’s Family Restaurant.  Nothing fancy but a happy vibe, great service and good food.  I had a Corned Beef on Rye that was delicious, the Lady got a Monte Cristo.  So we had some great food to go along with our wines.

This was a fun trip.  Looking for a fun weekend away?  You could have a great time in NE Ohio.


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