Sunday, September 12, 2010

Elk Creek Winery (Owenton, KY)

My brother's visit this weekend (that's him in the photo with me) provided the nudge we needed to finally get down to see the Elk Creek Vineyards and Winery, billed as Kentucky's largest winery and with quite a presence here in metro Cincinnati. They have a store and tasting room in the Florence (KY) mall and booths at various festivals and fairs around town.
Our first surprise was how far off the Interstate the place is.
There's a small sign on I-71 before the Rt. 127 exit and we always assumed the winery was just off the road. Not! Further, there is not another sign when you come off the exit so you have no idea whether to turn left or right. We ran inside a convenience store -- conveniently located at the end of the ramp -- and discovered that we had to drive at least 20 miles through winding country roads before we'd come to our destination.
That was okay as we had decided to devote the rest of the day to this outing, but a word to the wise here: don't expect to make it a quick visit.
The property includes a skeet shooting course, which was very popular on a Saturday in September, a five-room lodge, and the winery building. Once we found the right building, we had a nice time for the next couple of hours.
There's a deli so we grabbed made-to-order sandwiches and sat outside on a pretty patio overlooking vineyards. The weather was fine so the experience was restful after our long ride.
Then we went inside to try the wine.
They offer a variety of ways to taste and all three of us picked the "premium" tasting of their dry wines. They also have sweet/fruit wines, but that's not our cup of tea, so to speak. The sweeter wines are quite popular, however, according to our server.
For $8 per person we each selected five wines from their list of at least 15 white and red options. The pours were supposed to be one ounce each but it seemed more generous to me.
Not surprisingly, the more expensive red wines were the best, IMHO, especially a couple of Cabernet Franc wines priced at $35-$40 a bottle. My husband preferred a fruitier merlot that was less pricey -- maybe $20-$25, and he also liked their sweet ice wine.
Many of the less expensive wines seemed thin and uninteresting. We browsed their shop and gallery and my brother picked up a gift for his girlfriend, but we did not buy any of the wine.
On Saturday evenings Elk Creek has musical entertainment; however, we hit the road before we got to see who was playing.
It was worth the trip, we all agreed.

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