I took a road trip last weekend to a friend’s condo on Cumberland Lake in south-central Kentucky – thanks Lora & Joe! On the way down Friday, we stopped at two vineyards – here’s the general road trip and impressions of each place; detailed wine-tasting reports will follow later. The weather was iffy, with lots of heavy rain. But we got lucky; every time we stepped out of the car, we had dry weather.
Elk Creek is about 10 miles from I-75, an hour south of Cincinnati. It’s a large property, with steep hillside vineyards – they almost looked steep enough to plant vertically, like they do in parts of Germany. There’s a large, multi-level tasting room with extensive indoor and outdoor seating, and a selection of local art on display upstairs. The property also features a covered amphitheatre for concerts, events, and weddings. And Elk Creek also runs a skeet-shooting operation on the other side of the ridge! The small deli in the tasting room has a quite nice selection of cheeses, fruit, and made-to-order sandwiches.
Talon lies farther south, in more open, rolling terrain to the south of Lexington – it’s definitely horse country. Tasting is in a converted plantation house, with several rooms set up for tasting and merchandise. They have live music on the back porch most weekends. Talon also has several event venues on the property, secluded in the midst of the grapes. Talon does not offer food, but picnic baskets are welcome.
As is typical for young wineries in this part of the country, both operations use a combination of estate and purchased fruit. Although they have vitis vinifera plantings (including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio), they also feature a number of hybrid grapes and more than a few fruit wines. I only tasted a few of the sweet offerings – but I bought a bottle of one! More details in later posts.