Monday, March 16, 2015
Wine Country: Ohio - Meier's White Catawba Wine
Today, there are well over a hundred wineries operating in the Buckeye State. Ohio wine is produced from a lot of grapes you probably recognize - Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and the Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc - and some you may not. North American hybrid grapes are hardier during Ohio’s frigid winters than vitis vinifera grapes. Grapes like Baco Noir, Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin and Catawba may sound foreign, but they lie at the heart of American wines made in the great Midwest.
The Catawba grape is an American fruit thought to be a cross between vitis labrusca and vitis vinifera plants. Catawba’s place in American wine history was ensured in the mid-1800s, when the aforementioned Mr. Longworth produced sparkling wines from Catawba grapes. His bubbles won raves even from wine lovers in Europe.
Meier’s Wine Cellars is Ohio’s largest and oldest wine producer. They also make other beverages, grape juice included. They once grew their grapes on an island in Lake Erie, but now purchase grapes from independent growers in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.
Meier’s White Catawba Wine is made from Catawba and other unnamed grape varieties. This viscous wine is colored like apple juice and scented with an earthy, Midwestern, broad-shouldered nose. There is a sweet edge to that aroma, as in pear juice. Sweet sap on the palate is fruity, and rather delightful in a North American kind of way. The sense of sweetness remains after the sip, leaving a sticky sweet feeling reminiscent of a dessert wine. It is actually more off-sweet in taste, but the sweetness tends to be more pronounced on the finish than during the sip.
There is not much acidity to speak of, but it does serve a purpose with food nonetheless. It's a great wine to pair with salsa and tortilla chips, spicy Asian cuisine or peppery bar peanuts.
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