Thanks to my new blog "friend", Jessica at Jesstagirl and Her Officer, I found out that today is National Drink Wine Day, which I might just deem my new favorite holiday. Sorry Thanksgiving!
When I turned 21, I was so excited to be able to drink at a restaurant and pair wines and beer with the different food I ate. Wine is my favorite adult beverage. About a month before I turned 21, I finished the book, A Vineyard in Tuscany, and was so intrigued by the winemaking process. I ended up discussing it a classmate, and lo and behold, his family owned a vineyard and winery just outside Lawrence. He invited me to come help with grape harvest that weekend. I went and fell in love with the place. Although I was just volunteering for the day, I went above and beyond the normal volunteer tasks. I got to help with the grape crushing and filling the barrels and testing the sugar content. I loved the hands-on work, the beauty of the vines and the people I met. I loved getting to learn about the process and taste the grape juice which was so delicious! I didn't get to try the wine that first day but rushed back to the winery and tasting room soon after my birthday. Bluejacket Crossing, the winery, focuses on creating a quality product. It is honestly the best wine and has such complex flavors. The tasting room is a great feature because it allows customers to figure out exactly what they like and what the product they're purchasing tastes like. This is also a good feature for the winery because it gives them the chance to figure out exactly what people like about the certain wines...more sugar, more fruit, drier, oak barrels...no oak barrels. Speaking of aging the wine in oak barrels, when my parents came to visit me at school, my dad who isn't really a wine connoisseur by any means, tried one of their wines that is aged in a oak barrel. When the owner asked him what he thought, my dad, much to my embarrassment said, "It tastes like it would go well with a bad cigar." I wanted to evaporate into thin air. My dad just insulted this man's work!! However, the owner took it in stride realizing this what the tasting room is all about. Learning what customers like and dislike about each product, regardless of how much they actually know about wine. Disclaimer: my dad is NOT a wine connoisseur and if you like oak aged vinos...I'm sure it's actually quite delicious.
In the months following my first trip to the vineyard, I volunteered a few days helping trim back the vines and label bottles of the finished product. I would often discuss the process and business side of owning a winery with the owner. We also discussed Italian wine which I got to sample quite a bit of when I went there about a year ago! Bluejacket is out to show the world...well maybe just Kansans for now, that Kansas wine rocks! There are about 3 other local wineries in this area and they all are very supportive of each other. However, I still love Bluejacket Crossing wine the most.
My favorites are the Seyval Reserve which is a dry white with hints of peach, pear and citrus...it's won multiple awards! The Off-Dry Vignoles is a dry white with a hint of sweetness with citrusy flavors and has hints of tropical fruit like mango or something similar. And my absolute favorite red is Wolf Red that is drier, spicy and fruity all at the same time. While I do like drier wines, their sweeter wines are also very highly recommended. My grandmother loves Wolf White. :) If you live in the KC area, I definitely recommend a trip to Bluejacket Crossing very soon! Why not make a Saturday of it and visit the other local wineries as well! Of course, I recommend bringing a DD. Responsibility first!
So all in all, happy national drink wine day!! Go have a glass of your favorite vino whether it be local or international. If you're new to wine drinking, my one recommendation is start sweet...it's easier to ease into loving wine when your first sip doesn't make you pucker from the tannins. So as the Italians say, "Chin, chin!"
Words of Wisdom: "The flavor of wine is like delicate poetry." - Louis Pasteur
"May our love be like good wine, grow stronger as it grows older." - Old English Toast