Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Like Liquid Grape Jam

That was my first thought when I poured a glass of the Raven's Glenn Raven Rouge, a semi-sweet red wine, grown and vinted practically in my backyard.  Well, at least it's an Ohio wine.  A friend from Tuscarawas County calls his part of Ohio "God's Country".  This is where the Raven's Glenn Winery resides, in a small town called West Lafayette, OH.  I received this bottle as a gift at Christmas.  Honestly, I've been reluctant to open it, mostly because I generally HATE Ohio wines.  They are usually too sticky-sweet for me. 
But, in desperation last night, I found the last bottle of red in the house.  It was the Raven's Glenn Raven Rouge.  (Another reason to dislike Ohio wines.... Raven's Glenn?  Do they mean "glen" like a pretty little place out in the woods, or do they mean "Glenn" an unusually old-fashioned guy's name?  So ambiguous!!!  And don't ask why I was in a desparate mood last night.  Suffice to say, I WAS!)

The Raven's Glenn label calls their Raven Rouge a wine of "concords blended in an elegant style".  I'm not sure I would agree.  Seriously, it's not elegant and no matter what they write about it, it won't make it elegant.  It's like drinking Welch's with a shot of alcohol squirted in as a bonus.  They should serve it up in a jelly glass.

After two glasses last night, here was my initial reaction:  GRAPE GRAPE GRAPE GRAPE CONCORD GRAPE GRAPE GRAPE!   The only way I might have enjoyed it more were if it was slightly chilled and there were actually concord grapes ready for harvest on my grapevine in the garden.  That and a slice of sharp cheddar or maybe some crackers with an olive tapenade.... Mouth watering yet?For years, the majority of Ohio wines came from the Lake Erie region.  They were vinted from Catawba and Concord grapes, and probably others.  But I quit drinking them shortly after grad school.  They were seriously sickly-sweet - more about alcohol and less about flavor, nuance, experience.   In short - no thanks.  This Raven Rouge is sweet, there is no getting around it's sweetness.  But the beautiful, unique flavor of the Concord Grape stands above any other.  Some may taste tannins or oaks or leather or chocolate in this wine.  I'd say they're lyin!  This is pure concord grape, with it's sweet inner-grape sweetness and just a hint of the grape-peel tartness.  I'd recommend enjoying this chilled on a warm summer day with a good pizza or meatball sandwich, or in the fall or winter with cheese and crackers.

After trying this, I plan to put the Raven's Glenn winery on my list of "must-see this summer" and head down south.  I saw on their website they have a raspberry wine.  Sounds perfect for the 4th of July!

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