With the dog days of summer nipping at our heels, my friend, Shelly, and I decided to take a little road trip. The past few weeks had been incredibly busy for us and we needed to find a place that we could just relax, decompress, and sample some wine. Shelly was already familiar with Thorn Creek Winery, having planned an event with them last year but it was new to me ~ not that I ever need any arm twisting to check out a winery.
Located in Aurora, OH and only 30 minutes by car from downtown Cleveland, Thorn Creek, is a sweet ride to rustic charm, beautiful gardens and some nice wine. Established in 2005, owner David Thorn envisioned what would become the Thorn Creek experience; old world European ambience, blended with a casually elegant vibe.
Before we ordered our wine flight, we took a little tour of the gardens and winery. Down stairs was a beautiful event space that juxtaposed a smaller nightclub feel with the warmth of a winery cellar due, in part to the wooden casks that lined the walls. Outside, the gardens unfolded almost labyrinth like, winding casually from an old English courtyard, through a lanterned brick pathway to a tented waterfall garden wedding space.
Thorn Creek’s approach to winemaking includes purchasing select grape products from other wine growing regions around the country; then marrying those qualities with grapes native to Ohio. For our wine flight, we chose Up the Creek, which included Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Aurora Cream Red, and Aurora Cream White. We paired our wine samples with seasonal strawberry lettuce wraps and some amazing braised short rib sliders, which brought more depth to our wine selections.
My pick: the Pinot Grigio, which had a great honey-like vibe and texture. It paired beautifully with the strawberries, goat cheese and chocolate dusted almonds. Shelly liked the Cab reserve, which we had in addition to our flight. She found it had a slight pepper-y finish on its own but when paired with the sliders, awakened a more full bodied warmth.
One of the things I enjoy about life in Cleveland is the incredible variety of urban and rural experiences; both are cool in their own unique way. Nearby destinations like Thorn Creek give the experience of being at a Napa winery getaway without feeling like you’ve really left the city.