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. A truly impressive operation (especially once you realize just how small the town of Utica is) greeted us at the August Hill Winery tasting room (our second stop after tasting at Illinois River Winery).
From the photos above, you can see what a keen design sense pervades the establishment - I can imagine whiling away an afternoon on that back patio, really comfy.
We once again tasted 6 wines - with a drive home in front of us, no need to get overserved! Among the wines we tasted were the 2010 Hieland Red (nice basic red, good with food, I would suspect), the Berlyn, the 2011 Traminette (very similar to a nice Gewurtztraminer), and the 2011 Vignoles (flowery, reminiscent of Riesling). While their whites were quite good, the most surprising thing was how good the red wines were - we spend a lot of time drinking on the Lake Michigan Shore Trail in Michigan, and the reds have been relatively disappointing as a whole. These reds were far better!
August Hill's vineyard stands atop a bluff on the south side of the Illinois River. Grape varieties growing in the vineyard include Briana, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Geneva Red (Buffalo x Baco noir), La Crescent, Marquette, Noiret (formerly NY73.0136.17 - [(NY33277 x Chancellor) x Steuben]), Prairie Star (aka ES 3-24-7), and St. Pepin. Grape varieties supplied by other vineyards include Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Chardonel, Frontenac, Golden Muscat (Muscat Hamburg x Diamond), Léon Millot, Marechal Foch (aka. Foch, Kuhlmann 188-2), Seyval Blanc, St. Pepin, Traminette, and Vignoles/Ravat.
If you are in the Utica area, I highly recommend stopping by the tasting room and enjoying some great wines!
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