2018 Vintage Illinois took place September 15 & 16 at Matthiessen State Park. I was able to attend for a short period on Saturday. Even though my time was limited, I was able visit all of the winery displays and taste several wines. Needless to say, trying to fully explore the wines from 24 wineries would be a bit much in a matter of hours.
This was my first, but will not be my last visit to this event. The number of attendees was amazingly large, but all were having a great time enjoying the wine, live music, and food trucks.
Here is a selection of the wines that I really enjoyed and recommend. This is not all inclusive. The notes are those of the wineries.
August Hill Winery – Utica, IL
Ravat 51 – Ravat 51 is a dry, medium-bodied wine filled with notes of rose, pineapple, lemon, orange, and moonflower. Similar to a dry German Riesling, this wine is from Vignoles grapes (a.k.a. Ravat 51), a French-American hybrid that grows well in Illinois.
Chambourcin – A smooth and timeless dry, red table wine made from Illinois-grown Chambourcin grapes. This medium-bodied wine is similar in style to a light pinot noir with its upfront fruit character and aromas and flavors of blueberry and dark chocolate.
Fox Valley Winery; Oswego, IL
2015 Petite Pearl – This 2 time 2017 Silver Medal Winner and 2018 Governors Cup Winner for Best Red Wine….was “Estate Grown” at our vineyard in Sheridan!! This exciting new varietal has a deep rich color, with lingering plum flavors and soft oak aromas. Our Medal winner offers a full bodied strong tannin structure and a smooth full finish. The Petite Pearl was aged 12 months in French Oak Barrels.
Galena Cellars Vineyard & Cellars; Galena, IL
General’s Reserve Red – A classic blend of European varietals and native French hybrid grape varietals resulting in a premium red wine with notes of plum & chocolate and soft, velvety tannins to round off the finish.
Massbach Ridge Winery; Elizabeth & Galena, IL
Massbach Reserve – Full-bodied, dry, oak-aged red made from a blend of Frontenac and Foch grapes. 2012 Vintage.
Prairie State Winery; Genoa, IL
Fusion – A unique concept of co-fermenting CA-grown Tempranillo with a small amount of IL-grown Frontenac. 100% barrel aged.
Prairie Pumpkin – Made of 100% Pumpkins and infused with all of your typical pie spices. Enjoy chilled when it’s warm out and warmed when it’s chilly out!
Spirit Knob Winery; Ursa, IL
Traminette – Semi-sweet aromas and flavors of pineapple with hints of citrus. This particular wine is very light and crisp.
Rapture – Dessert wine with hints of cherry and raspberry. Great cigar wine!
Walkers Bluff Winery; Carterville, IL
Cabernet Sauvignon – A BIG BOLD full-bodied red wine. It is a well-balanced wine with great structure and medium tannins. Flavors of this wine are black cherry, vanilla oak, black pepper and violets.
I’m looking forward to a much longer visit to Vintage Illinois 2019. Mark your calendars for September 21 & 22, 2019.