Over the holidays, I was in Kentucky, per usual, visiting the fam and the friends. A few of us decided to take advantage and visit some KY wineries, in and around Louisville. Unbeknownst to us, it was a U of L/ UK game day (basketball) so the wineries were free and clear! We had a lovely and boozy afternoon at Broad Run Vineyards in Louisville, followed by MillaNova Winery in nearby Mt. Washington. They were very different from each other but both had what we desired: wine. And lots of it!
Broad Run Vineyards. We started with the lovely drive from the Highlands area of the 'ville towards Broad Run, technically in Louisville, though, dear god, it was a "city goes to country moment". All of us, 2 Chicago residents and 2 Louisvillians kept marveling at how we "had no idea that this was out here..." To be clear, I had actually been to BRV before, years prior, with my mother. It was in the summer and we tasted in the old house. I disclosed this to the helpful employee upon our arrival and inquired how long it had been since the tasting room had been up the hill in the barn? "About 10 years" she said, followed by, "Where ya been?!" My thoughts exactly.
Broad Run is a fun place to visit. They offer a generous tasting for $10.00. They even have a nice cheese plate to purchase. We should have done that but only realized that option was available at the end. Broad Run has a very impressive claim: all their grapes are grown in Kentucky, which makes them a truly Kentucky winery. Many other wineries in the area source their grapes from California and the like, places more conducive to grape growing. Therein lies the problem. Or maybe not? The wine, overall, is not that complex. They have an eclectic assortment of both white and red varietals, including Traminette, Chambourcin and Carmine! Additionally they offer some of the standard reds such as Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Syrah. For the whites they have an enjoyable Reisling. We smelled some delightful aromas but the taste left something to be desired. Is it the grapes? Their process of winemaking? Unclear. Still, it was fun and the wines are decent, just not terribly impressive. And I really want them to be. Still worth a stop and a sip...or 16. They are generous with the tasting. The woman who helped us was very kind and easy to talk to. She openly shared many details about their wine and history in general and truly enhanced the experience. We purchased a few bottles, including the '99 Reserve Cab, which is one of their finest and the '07 Pinot Noir. All in all, we were glad we went.
MillaNova Winery. Feeling warm and happy, we headed next to MillaNova, at the suggestion of our helpful staff person at Broad Run. We loved the wine at MillaNova! It was a short drive over and we had the place to ourselves initially. They have a beautiful space at MillaNova and was a huge contrast to the empty metal barn effect of Broad Run. MillaNova is downright cozy. The owners happened to be there that day and they took some extra time explaining their process, as well as treating us to a walk into the fermentation room where we tasted right out of one of the tanks!
Their tasting fee is $6.00. You can choose 4 from the list and receive a commemorative stemless glass, which is so hip! Additional full glass pours can be purchased, as well as the cheese plate, which we opted in on. We all really enjoyed their wines! They have a range of styles, and as is common in Kentucky, several fruit wines. The latter is not my bag but consider your demographic. Most folks in those parts are not into dry wines and remember the days of home-made sweet concord grape wine (if they don't still make it!).
MillaNova has played on the name of the varietal, Gewurtraminer, with their, "Girls Are Meaner" and adorned the bottle with fun label to reflect this idea. All art for the labels was created by the brother of one of the owners. It is a crisp Gewurtz, hitting all the notes with a nice acidity to go well with richer foods. We bought this one to bring back to Chicago and ended up pairing it with a failed risotto (a friend of mine refers to it as an "evil dish to make"). I ended up not eating and mostly drinking the wine, as I could not stomach the risotto, and it stood on it's own as dinner, just fine. We also bought the reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and plan to age it a bit longer. Overall, their wines were much better than the first winery of the day.