At the end of March when the weather is nice, it’s a great time to plan a visit to Central Kentucky wineries. At the same time you can help McConnell Springs with its restoration and preservation programs.
Friends of McConnell Springs will hold its sixth annual Wine Barrel Tasting tour on March 30. Seventeen wineries, all within an hour’s drive of Lexington, will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. offering samples of wine in its final stages before actual bottling and release of the finished product. Each tasting will give participants the chance to experience up-and-coming wines and an opportunity to discuss the soon- to-be-released samples. Each winery will also have its tasting rooms open for regular tastings of their released wines.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at any winery. Participants will receive a wristband entitling them to one free barrel tasting at each winery visited that day. There will be a limited number of commemorative McConnell Springs wine glasses available. Call Annette Mathy at (859) 272-0682 or go to Mcconnellsprings.org.
Participating wineries are:
■ Acres of Land, 2285 Barnes Mill Road, Richmond. Call (859) 328-3000 or go to Acresoflandwinery.com.
■ Black Barn, 4200 Newtown Pike, Lexington. Call (859) 552-2525 or go to Blackbarnwinery.com.
■ Chrisman Mill, 2385 Chrisman Mill Road, Nicholasville. Call (859) 881-5007 or go to Chrismanmill.com.
■ Chuckleberry, 527 Garrison Lane, Bloomfield. Call (502) 249-1051 or go to Chuckleberryfarm.com.
■ Elk Creek, 150 Highway 330, Owenton. Call (502) 484-0005 or go to Elkcreekvineyards.com.
■ Equus Run, 1280 Moore’s Mill Road, Midway. Call (859) 846-9463 or go to Equusrunvineyards.com.
■ First Vineyard, 5800 Sugar Creek Pike, Nicholasville. Call (859) 885-9359 or go to Firstvineyard.net.
■ Grimes Mill, 6707 Grimes Mill Road, Lexington. Call (859) 543-9691 or go to Grimesmillwinery.com.
■ Harkness Edwards, 5199 Combs Ferry Road, Winchester. Call (859) 527-3584 or go to Harknessedwardsvineyards.com.
■ Horseshoe Bend, 1187 Lawson Lane, Willisburg. Call (859) 375-0296 or go to Horseshoebend-ky.com.
■ Jean Farris, 6825 Old Richmond Road, Lexington. Call (859) 263-9463 or go to Jeanfarris.com.
■ Lovers Leap, 1180 Lanes Mill Road, Lawrenceburg. Call (502) 839-1299 or go to Loversleapwine.com.
■ McIntyre’s, 531 McIntyre Lane, Bardstown. Call (502) 507-3264 or go to Mcintyreswinery.com.
■ Prodigy, 3445 Versailles Road, Frankfort. Call (502) 352-9400 or go to Prodigyvineyards.com.
■ Springhill, 3205 Springfield Road, Bloomfield. Call (502) 252-9463 or go to Springhillwinery.com.
■ Talon, 7086 Tates Creek Road, Lexington. Call (859) 971-3214 or go to Talonwine.com.
■ Wildside, 5500 Troy Pike, Versailles. Call (859) 321-5046 or go to Wildsidewinery.com.
Some of the wineries will have recipes for using their wines in a variety of ways. Here are two recipes from Bob and Ann Karsner, owners of Horseshoe Bend Vineyards in Willisburg.
1 baked pie shell
1/2 cup Horseshoe Bend Vineyards Traminette
1/2 cup water
2 pints hulled strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Bake pie shell according to package or recipe directions. Cool. Make glaze for strawberries by combining traminette with 1/2 cup water, 1 cup strawberries, cut into fairly small pieces, and 3/4 cup sugar. Heat until strawberries disintegrate into the liquid.
Dissolve 3 tablespoons cornstarch in 3 tablespoons Horseshoe Bend Traminette and add, stirring constantly, to the heated strawberry mixture. Cool completely.
Place remaining strawberries into cooled pie shell, cover with cooled glaze, and chill until set–about 2 hours. If desired, serve with whipped cream sweetened with natural sugar and Horseshoe Bend Traminette.
Black raspberry cabernet sauce
Serve with roasted lamb for Easter or with roast pork, roast beef, and grilled lamb.
Simmer 1 cup beef broth and 1/2 cup Horseshoe Bend cabernet sauvignon until reduced to 3/4 cup. Saute 1 shallot in 1 tablespoon butter until translucent. Add 8 ounces black raspberry all fruit jam and stir for at least 1 minute. Slowly stir in reduced broth wine mixture and cool. Refrigerate. May be re-warmed to serve or served at room temperature.