What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile. ~William Sokolin
Greetings from central Kentucky, readers!
I spent a very pleasant afternoon yesterday sampling wine, learning and laughing with the congenial owners and operators of WhiteMoon Winery, Bert Poston and Alex Payne. If you are in the area, stop by.
Alex told me she became a vintner somewhat on a whim. Fifteen years ago, she and a friend looked at a hillside, and thought it would be a good place to grow grapes. After a two hour span of research on the internet, she ordered 3200 grape plants. Alex began her new future and. definitely, has not looked back.
WhiteMoon Winery is on fourteen acres; the tasting room, on top of a hill, has one wall of windows that looks out over a lovely verdant pasture and valley.
Grapes grown here include Chardonnay, Concord and Triminette. Other grapes come in from California and Oregon.
Eight wines are offered at WhiteMoon; some quite sweet and others dry. Right now all are straight varietals but a red blend is in the works, as is a Sangiovese.
The 2014 WhiteMoon Chardonnay is made from California grapes. This is a rich, refreshing fruity wine. It is full of a mild tart apple aroma and taste, with a hint of almond and buttery oak. Alex recommends pairing this with roast chicken.
Just last week (third week of October 2015) the WhiteMoon Chardonnay won a bronze medal in Louisville at the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition. Very Good!
Triminette is Indiana’s State Grape. However, WhiteMoon serves Triminett from grapes grown at the winery. The grape was new to me: Alex explained it is a Gewurztraminer hybrid and can grow on its own root stock.
WhiteMoon’s Triminette is a semi-sweet white wine. It has a nice balance of apricot, cinnamon and rosewater. A bottle of this would complement a Thai or Vietnamese dinner.
The Muscato is made from Oregon grapes and done in an Italian style. Not made as sweet as one normally associates with this wine, it has a pleasant aroma and taste of pears, sweet apples and golden raisins. Go ahead – try it with a seafood pasta.
The 2013 MoonedWhite is made from Kentucky grown Chardonnay. This is intentionally a bit sweeter; in fact it is described as a peach infusion. It is very peachy. This wine be a perfect companion on a hot summer day. Sit on the patio and enjoy with a shrimp salad or shrimp cocktail. Yum.
Alex suggests another use for the MoonedWhite; pour a bottle in a bowl, add some club soda and lots of fruit and you have a delicious Sangria. Remember this wine next summer.
The 2012 Merlot was an incredible surprise. Light in color, this wine has flavors of ripe plums and black fruit, with a slightly spicy finish. It seems more like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel than Merlot. This is a big wine, so pair it with a good steak.
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is from Alexander Valley fruit and one can tell that. Only two weeks in the bottle, this is already a wonderful wine – rich with black cherries, blackberries and coffee. Alex is still waiting for labels to put on these bottles but they will be very popular and instant sellers. She recommends a hearty steak with this wine.
The Mooned Red is a big and grapey Concord. The Concord is very much an American grape, full of juice and with a distinctive, but pleasant, taste. I enjoyed the slightly tart cranberry essence of the glass and I am not the only one; in 2014 the Mooned Red won a silver medal at the Kentucky Derby Wine Competition.
Alex and Bert get Damson plums from Michigan for a specialty wine: Plum. They say it is messy to make and they need a lot of cane sugar and distilled water to get the brix to the correct levels but this is their biggest seller and a joy to drink.
This wine starts sweet at the front of the mouth and finishes quite tart. Alex perfectly describes it as a plum tart. It literally does have an extreme change somewhere over the tongue but a very pleasant one. This brought home the Gold Medal in 2013 from the Indy International Wine Competition in Indianapolis.
Serve it with an Oriental dinner or just enjoy it as dessert.
A tour of the barrel room proves Bert and Alex are very hands on winemakers. All the work is done by them: barrel cleaning, bottling, corking and putting on labels is done right there. All the tanks are stainless steel; American oak chips are used to season the reds.
They were proud to inform me their wine sales tripled in the past year, so their distinctive brand is catching one. Kentuckians, seek this place out.
WhiteMoon Winery hosts a yearly barbeque with a live band and a wine and paint night every few months. Two tall fireplaces in the front lawn add to the down home feeling and would be a fun place to sip on a chilly afternoon.
WhiteMoon Winery is located at 25 Arthur Mattingly Road outside Lebanon, KY. For more information visit http://whitemoonwinery.net.
As always, drink responsibly.