On a recent family trip to Starved Rock State Park, we took the opportunity to taste wines from two wineries who are part of the Illinois River Wine Trail. The first winery was the Illinois River Winery, which was founded in 1998 with the establishment of Starved Rock Vineyards by Gregg Kane. They now make wines from their own grapes, other Illinois vineyards, and grapes sourced from other states. Since we were driving home, we opted to share 6 tastings, which limited the types of wines we got to try, but also made it safer to get home.
- Cabernet Franc (2009) - A light bodied dry red made from Illinois grapes, this was our favorite. Decent balance and mouthfeel.
- Norton (2009)- A medium bodied dry red, also from Illinois grapes, this had promise but was a little off-balance to me, perhaps a bit dry for my taste. A decent effort.
- Cayuga White - A floral nose, this is a fruity sweet wine.
- Riesling – They called this a semi sweet white wine, but definitely on the sugary end of Rieslings we’ve tried.
- Vintner's Blend – an interesting blend of dry and sweet grapes. This was a wine that seemed to me made to drink with food.
- Niagara – like tasting white Welch’s grape juice. That’s what the tasting hostess said and she was right. VERY Sweet.
The Illinois River Winery is worth a stop if you’re in the area – they take part in a lot of festivals as well, so taste their wines when you can!
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