The nasty weather held off here in Cleveland, and I was able to check out the WineGrower’s of the Grand River Valley 9th Annual Ice Wine Festival. It proved to be a good afternoon to sample some of their award winning offerings. My friends and I narrowed our trip to two participating wineries: Debonne and Ferrante. Click on any thumbnail to view the entire gallery.
At Debonne, we were treated to some ice carving demonstrations and a taste of their Vidal Blanc ice wine with home made cheese. The pairing was nice and brought out the ‘velvet-y’ qualities of both. My friend, Kell, was quick to point out this term, one he had picked up from our discussions about the wine aroma wheel. Learning can be fun! We moved inside to the tasting room and sampled an off-dry to sweet varietal wine selection. It ranged from a blend (Jazz White) to Razzberry Riesling. My pick from this grouping was the Jazz White; a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling. It was a clear, light straw color, very minimal on the nose, but was lightly nuanced on the palate; refreshing with a subtle honey finish. I thought it could be a great sipping wine on a hot summer day and would be particularly good with a mild, white fish. The Riesling Reserve lot 907 was also light and sweet but didn’t have the same complexity as the Jazz White. The Razzberry Riesling, to me, tasted a lot like a Jell-o shot; very sweet and fun.
Ferrante treated us to their Vidal Blanc as well as a delicious Cabernet Franc. I have a soft spot for Cab Franc because it’s fruit forward with a rich, warm vibe (yes, even for an ice wine). And it has a buttery finish that can cuddle you up like a favorite blanket. Ferrante’s 2010 Cab Franc was no exception; it had a rich cherry top note and, true to form, ended with that beautiful butter kiss. You might say it was almost … velvet-y.
The Grand River Valley Ice Wine Festival continues March 10 and again March 17.