What are the finest wines in Indiana? The Indiana Wine Fair judges have just completed two days of sampling and judging. Here’s the verdict:
BEST OF SHOW:
Huber Winery, “Indiana Uplands Heritage” 2014
BEST INDIANA GROWN:
Huber Winery, “Indiana Uplands Heritage” 2014
GOLD: Huber Winery, “Indiana Uplands Heritage” 2014
SILVER: Holtkamp Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
BRONZE: Ertel Cellars, American Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting notes: This category was, surprisingly, the most competitive with the most submittals. Considering Hoosiers’ sweet palate, that was a pleasant surprise. The Gold was a runaway winner, an estate-grown, barrel-aged and bottled blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. It won Best of Show, and, by default, an extra Gold for being Indiana grown. We are at a loss of words to describe it with justice. We recommend buying several bottles to silence the rudest of California wine snobs. The Silver was a delightful find, being a small and relatively new and unknown winery. It beat some formidable competition, including Huber’s “Generations”. The Bronze, from Ertel Cellers, was beautifully structured and layered.
GOLD: Huber Winery, Knobstone Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016
SILVER: Simmons Winery Sauvignon Blanc
BRONZE: Cedar Creek, “White Lie” American Pinot Blanc
Tasting notes: This was another competitive category. The Gold was a crisp, dry wine with a delightful nose and finish, Indiana grown. Serve this to your California wine snobs while they munch on a cobb salad. The Silver and Bronze were pleasant surprises from smaller wineries.
GOLD: Patoka Lake, Catawba
SILVER: Huber Winery, 2016 Indiana Uplands Vignoles
BRONZE: Ertel Cellars, Ohio River Valley Vidal Blanc
Tasting notes: Submittals ranged from semi-dry to sweet, challenging the judges, who looked for other qualities. The Gold was a delightful mouthful that spoke unmistakably of the Catawba grape, an American varietal. The Silver was a much sweeter version of the dry Vignoles, and, once again, the grape spoke to us unmistakably. The Bronze was a low-alcohol wine very palatable with food.
GOLD: Huber Winery, Sweet Marcella
SILVER: Harmony Winery, ‘Dark Star”
BRONZE: Simmons Winery, “Autumn Sweet Red”
Tasting notes: Once again, Huber’s flagship Sweet Marcella claimed the Gold. This category is the cash-cow for many Indiana wineries, and we were left with the impression that many were imitating Huber. The Silver was captured by Harmony Winery, which specializes in dessert wines (winning two of three on that category). Simmons claimed the Bronze with a very palatable pure Concord, another American varietal.
GOLD: Urban Vines Winery, “Sweet Rose” Catawba
SILVER: Ertel Cellars, Ohio River Valley Steuben
Bronze: Winzerwald, Indiana Uplands 2015 Catawba Rose
Tasting notes: There was much competition in this category, since it included all levels of dryness. The Gold was a delightful Catawba, with sweetness that did not overpower the grape. The Silver was a Steuben with a lovely nose and finish; the Bronze was the driest of the three, very fruit-forward.
GOLD: Carousel Winery “Winter Spice”
SILVER: Patoka Lake Winery, Strawberry
BRONZE: Harmony Winery, Copper Tiger
Tasting notes: The Gold is an unusual mulled wine, best served heated. Very delightful, even in warm weather. The Silver was a sweet strawberry that screamed authenticity. The Bronze was an unusual flavored wine with a grape base, with hints of watermelon and cucumber, medium dryness.Photo by Kendal Miller
GOLD: Harmony Winery, “Black Forest”
SILVER: Harmony Winery, “Allegro”
BRONZE: Huber Winery, Knobstone Reserve
Tasting notes: The Gold was a rush of cherry and chocolate, to complement a fine meal. The Silver, from the same winery, was a close category second, with a delightful coffee nose and finish. Nothing subtle here. The Bronze was a traditional Port-style wine, elegant and not overpowering.
All of these wines will be available for tasting or purchase on Saturday!
About the Indiana Wine Fair:
The 16th Annual Indiana Wine Fair is Saturday, May 12, at the Story Inn. This is one of Indiana’s oldest, and largest, wine festivals, and this year we will be expanding the event to include craft beer and spirits as well! Wineries/breweries/distilleries will be offering free samples and selling beverages by the glass, or bottle for carry-out. Gates open at 1 pm. You may buy your tickets online at www.indianawinefair.com. You must be at least 21 years of age to enter the festival premises. Bring a chair if you wish, but please no pop-up tents or coolers! We will have enough food to satisfy everyone’s culinary cravings.
Weather report for Saturday: Warm, mostly sunny, little chance of rain. All tasting will occur under tent, so the Wine Fair will go on, rain or shine.
Free Shuttle from Eagle Park two miles east of Nashville: Avoid the traffic and the scrutiny of the local constabulary. Shuttles will run between Eagle Park and Story from noon until 8 pm. You may speed your entry by checking in at Eagle Park.
Free Parking near Story: As in years past, we will be offering free parking in a farmer’s field near Story.
How to avoid the construction on SR 46:
If you are headed west from Columbus on SR 46, you may avoid INDOT’s boondoggle entirely by taking Mt. Liberty and Valley Branch Roads to Stone Head. It will actually save you three miles of driving—enjoy!
If you are headed east from Bloomington, you might consider these two options: (a) take SR 58 east to SR 135 and arrive at Story from the south. It is less direct, but more scenic; or (b) spring for a park pass, and cut through the Brown County State Park by entering the west gate and exiting the Horseman’s Camp. This will cut 15 minutes off of your commute, even under the best of circumstances. You may use that park pass at any of Indiana’s fine state parks, too!