Friday, July 10, 2015

Indiana Wines: Oliver Winery and Vineyards

Located in Bloomington, Indiana, and started in the 60s as a hobby, Oliver Winery now annual sales exceed 320,000 cases. Definitely more than a hobby. Sourcing grapes from a variety of growers, Creekbend Vineyard is Oliver Winery's commitment to the production of great wine from Indiana grown grapes. Oliver Winery sells almost 50 wines and ciders, made of vinifera and hybrid grapes and other fruit. Oliver sent us bottles of their Soft Wine series, three, semi-sweet Soft Wines that were the recipients of the 2014 Gold Consumer Wine Awards in Lodi, California and have earned 40 medals in the last three years.

Indiana Wines: Oliver Winery and Vineyards
Soft White: Niagara grapes; cold fermented in stainless steel; palest of yellow in color; white currant, star fruit, and subtle white flower aromas; citrus, muskmelon, white currant, and honey flavors; quite sweet, then some acid; agglomerated cork closure; SRP $7.50. If they dialed bak the sweetness on this, it would be a really nice wine.
Soft Rosé: Catawba grapes; cold fermented in stainless steel until dry; juice added provide sweetness; pretty dark salmon color; red currant, cranberry, and pomegranate aromas; sweet raspberry, red currant, rhubarb, and orchard fruit flavors;  agglomerated cork closure; SRP $7.50. Not as sweet as the Soft White, this would also be better with less sweetness.
Soft Red: Concord grapes; cold fermented in stainless steel tanks until dry; juice added provide sweetness; cranberry red color; grape juice aroma; grape juice flavor with just a touch of cranberryish bite;  agglomerated cork closure; SRP $7.50. This is, unfortunately, a one-dimensional wine; Concord is a tough grape because it always brings to mind Welch's grape juice. I've never tasted a Concord wine that got beyond that.
Indiana Wines: Oliver Winery and Vineyards

It's tough to make wine from these native grapes, without them being either musky or cloyingly sweet. These are well done  and would be improved, in my opinion, by vinifying out more of the sweetness or limiting the addition of juice after fermentation. One of the suggestions on the Oliver Winery website is to use these wines as mixers in wine cocktails. We chose to make sangrias with all three, and were pleasantly surprised at the positive results. All three wines made a good sangria, very refreshing as we were able to mitigate the sweetness with the fruit, rum, and ginger beer. We ended up mixing all three together to make a super sangria that was extremely tasty.

If you are a fan of sweet wines, these are a well-made version. If not, use them as mixers for good wine cocktails or feel comfortable gifting them to those that enjoy sweet wines. 

Indiana Wines: Oliver Winery and Vineyards

Daily wine tasting and weekend tours of the production facility and cellar are available, as are an assortment of gourmet picnic items, gifts and accessories. Creek bend Vineyard tours are by appointment only and are offered seasonally on a limited basis. We're looking forward to visiting the next time we head to southern Indiana.

Wines provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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