Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Muscadine Wine - Florida Redux

Boo made a short visit to Florida for a family gathering that I'd mentioned awhile back in an earlier post that recounted how I'd asked him to try and locate a few Floridian wines if he could. After all, Florida is "The Birthplace of American Wine." Those crafty Spaniards took to making a bit of vino to get them through those long hours away from home long before Californian church goers started making their sacramental zins and cabs.

I was kinda hoping for an orange wine - not the trendy white wine from red skinned grapes that see a bit of time on the skins to add a touch of colour but one of the Floridian wines made from orange juice. Boo said he didn't see any and that he had to spend way more time than he wanted to in order to even find any Florida wines, period. We've been a little scared of opening the reds he picked up but I decided to pop the cork on the second of the whites that he brought back.

1457.  N.V. Lakeridge Southern White (Florida)

I read on a couple of sites that Lakeridge is Florida's largest winery, one of those sites saying that the winery makes more than a million bottles of wine a year. The winery's own website refers to itself as "Florida's largest premium winery." Their understanding of the word "premium" may not be quite the same as say the folks from Napa, Sonoma, Willamette or Walla Walla, but they do follow that statement up immediately with the fact that Lakeridge "remains a pioneer in the development of table and sparkling wines from muscadine and hybrid grapes." That might be enough said.

The winery started up in 1988 and its wines are made primarily from grapes grown on its home property outside Orlando and from a second vineyard further north near Tallahassee and the Pandhandle region. The vineyards are planted with Muscadine and hybrid varieties that are disease resistant and adaptable to Florida's warm, humid climate. You won't find any of the traditionally "noble" grapes down here.

Lakeridge appears to be a popular tourist spot and there are a good number of internet comments that say that the writers enjoyed the wines. The website also states that its various wines have "won more than 700 awards for excellence in winemaking." I can't say whether this particular wine is one of their big winners - but I'd be interested in seeing what the competitions were if this was a champion wine.

I didn't find the actual make up of the grape varieties used in Southern White but I'll assume it will largely, if not entirely, be made from Muscadine varieties.

Now I don't have a whole lot of tasting experience behind me when it comes to Florida's local wines, certainly not enough to make any definitive judgments, but I think I'm going to continue to think of Floridian wines as a bit of a novelty. At least for the time being.

Lakeridge's website compares their Southern White to a late harvest Riesling. Ahem. I suppose it does retain a lot of residual sugar but I'm a big fan of Rieslings - of all sorts - and I'm afraid I wouldn't grab this bottle in lieu - even with a sticker price that's substantially lower than most late harvest Rieslings.

I will say, however, that the wine was palatable and we did finish off the bottle. I tried to pair it with a curry that had a bit of a bite but not even that could fight off the sweetness. If sweet wine is your gig though, you may find Southern White to your liking. Not that you could ever find a bottle up here in Vancouver. If you do, however, just think of it more as a dessert wine than a casual sipper.

No comments:

Post a Comment