Monday, July 27, 2009

Tasting Notes: Carousel Winery

On day two of our recent winery adventure, we left our base in Nashville and hopped south on IN-37. Past Bedford, right on the highway, we came across our first destination of the day, Carousel Winery.

The winery has been in existence for 8 years, started by West Coast transplants Marion and Sue Wilson. What juice they can't get locally, they try to get from Washington State. Sue was at the beautiful limestone counter when we came inside just as another group was leaving, and was quick to set us up a tasting.

The first thing one notices about the winery is the decor. Just as the name would suggest, a merry-go-round theme is evident here. The rest of the decor was over the top as well, but to each their own. One thing I did like is that the winery hosts a different local artist every couple of months and allows him or her to bring their work in the winery for sale. Great idea to help support the local arts, not to mention a cheap way to decorate (and redecorate) your store.

You also notice the friendly large Retriever moseying around. Named Cayuga White, it is a great ambassador for the winery.

As we took our places at the counter, we were handed a wine list. It was out of date, with several of the varieties sold out but not marked as such, but we made due. I am listing the price we were quoted when we were there, even though the website now lists higher prices for some bottles, even though it appears the website is irregularly updated. Notes:

Aglianico ($28.04) Sue crowed about this wine, saying you will can rarely find it in this country, let alone Indiana. This is an ancient variety that has never come into favor in America, and has only recently arrived with significant California plantings. I enjoy Italian Reds, and I am always up for something different (not to mention to knock another off the Wine Century Club countdown), so we tried it. The bouquet reminded me of a Syrah. The taste is dry, dry, dry, (some age on this wine would have been appreciated), and I didn't notice much of the complexity I get from some of my favored Italian wines. The taste reminded me of plums not quite ripe. Try it for the novelty factor, but this price is way too high for what you get.

Petite Sirah ($32.71) This limited reserve cost $1 to sample. Wanting to see how Indiana wineries are handling the higher end varietals, I forked over the money. Some blackberry and pepper notes, but we would taste better vintages of this variety on our trip at half the price, not to mention absent the sampling fee.

Lady Luck ($11.00) The description on the list said nothing about the wine, just some quizzical lines about luck smiling on you. That's nice, but it doesn't tell me a damn thing about the wine. After getting a taste, it does have a good balance in the mouth, with enough sweetness to be a hit in Indiana. One of the better "summer sippers" we tasted on our trip.

Riesling ($15.89) Lots of pineapple flavors to the exclusion of everything else. Underdeveloped, and much better (and cheaper) Rieslings would be tasted on our trip.

Cherry ($14.02) Made from Michigan fruit, this is an above average cherry wine. For me, that damning with faint praise, since I don't generally care for cherry wine, but if you do, this is one of the better Indiana ones.

Pomegranate ($14.02 for 500ml) I have only had one other pomegranate wine, that being at Grape Inspirations. I wasn't too impressed with that. This one was much better, if pretty sweet. The Silver Fox said, "it tastes just like the juice." Sue says this wine is becoming a big seller. If you like fruit wines, it's worth a shot.

I have to admit, I came away pretty underwhelmed here. In fact, at the conclusion of our trip, we named it one of the two biggest disappointments. Some innovation, but the prices stifle the desire to buy. I am sorry, but you are missing a huge opportunity for business if you can't provide some dependable, decent wines for under $10. If you can't do that, you better make sure your wines are better than average. Sadly, they weren't here.

1 comment:

Sabrina Lopez said...

Aglianico in many ways resembles Nebbiolo, the renowned variety that produces Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont.Not only are both late-ripening, and capable of growing successfully only in very limited areas, but both are also tannic, acidic varieties which typically require many years before their wines are approachable and mature enough to enjoy. Also, both Aglianico and Nebbiolo-based wines turn garnet in color with maturity. If anything, Barolo and Barbaresco are even more firm and more complex in aroma and flavor than Aglianico wines, and require longer aging. Aglianico del Vulture, for example, can often be enjoyed six to nine years after the vintage; many traditionally-made Barolos require ten to 15 years of maturing, sometimes longer. The other good news in the comparison of Aglianico del Vulture with Barolo and Barbaresco is that most Aglianicos are about half as expensive.I like to drink wine with my Cuban cigars.As Cuban cigars are not available in US market,I buy my Cigars Online.