Wednesday, November 11, 2009


September 27, 2007 - Vahling Vineyards was a recent stop on a lovely Sunday Winequest through Illinois. Dennis, owner of the establishment was away for the day. In his stead, Jenny our lovely hostess met us at the counter with a smile and many bottles of their lively wine to assist us in our tastings and musings.

Since my staff don't tend to favor the dry wines as much, I indulged their whims and we decided to start with the semi-dry Traminette - finding it to be pleasant on the pallette, and for those of you with a nose for the posies, this one has rich flowery bouquetm with a hint of spice. Next, we went on to Friar's Favorite, a soft red berry flavored wine with a distinct oaky flavor, (Driver liked this one very much). The Bachelors Best made from Rougeon grape (a new one for us), was pleasant as well and a nice new taste sensation for us all.

I must admit I have a sweet tooth, and the Semi Sweet wines offered here were for the most part light and crisp. Prairie Mist had a fresh crisp vignole/citrusy flavor, Steuben offered a dark blush and a smooth but light taste, and the Old Red Wine had a smooth rich feel in our mouths. With all of that being said, of all the wines in this category we tasted - my staff and I agreed that the Country Red was our favorite. Country Red is a pleasant light red wine with a strawberry finish that offers a light fruity delight to your tongue!

Did I mention I have a sweet tooth? Well, then it should be of no surprise to any of you that the next category Sweet Wines was one of my favorites, so I had to try all they had to offer! Prairie Dawn, a fruity sweet wine had a nice light Niagra finish. Moonlight Bliss was a bit sweeter to my taste and had a clean refreshing flavor, with a hint of lemon on the nose - this one would be nice on a warm summer evening beneath the stars. Rose Red was a dark, heavy wine for those of you looking for a fuller body, but of all the sweets wines we tasted - Sweet Delight had a beautiful pink hue, a light sweet taste and was our absolute favorite - two paws up!

Vahling has a rich selection of Fruit Wines for those of you that crave this taste delight. They offer a nice apple wine - Grandma's Delight - that is smooth, very fruity, and made with a well selected blend of apples. The Blackberry wine, made with a blend of tame and wild blackberries was a dry wine with a very rich fruit flavor. For a taste of a tart Thanksgiving day cherry pie, crack open a bottle of their Cherry wine, or if you prefer the wonders of Rhubarb this winery offers this delight in a bottle too. The Honey Mead had a zing to it, and a great light taste sure to please the Mead lovers among us, but in this category our favorite hands down was the Strawberry Wine. The Strawberry wine made from fresh strawberries grown in Shelby County was sweet without being overwhelming and had a full rich strawberry flavor that made me put me in mind of all those warm summer afternoons in the strawberry patches of my youth, paws and whiskers stained with strawberry juice, lying on my back like a fat tiger in the sun. Without a doubt this is one of my all time to date favorite strawberry wines, I shall speak to my staff about keeping a case of this around the old homestead!

Vahling offers a Ice Wine made from grapes that were artificially frozen called Sunset. I know what you are thinking and I must admit, I did too, but life is an adventure and this tiger wont miss out on anything at the risk of being labelled a purist! This feline enjoys ice wines very much and this ice wine is among the best I have had. Sunset is a blush ice with a plum jam taste, and a hint of mint - like jelly in a glass! If Ice Wine is a favorite of yours, you must try this one!

This was a trip well worth the drive, for those of you that would like to follow in our footsteps, the directions and more can be found at the Vahling Vineyards website - enjoy!

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