Wine Tasting Around Kentucky – Part 2

Here is the long-procrastinated Part 2 of our whirlwind tour of Lexington-area wineries.  In case you missed part 1, you can find it here.  This post focuses on two South Lexington favorites – Talon Winery Jean Farris Winery.

Talon Winery

TalonJust south of Lexington on Tates Creek Road, Talon Winery has become one of the area’s most coveted wedding venues, so expect them to be busy during the summer.  Their 200 year old farmhouse-turned-tasting room is very pleasant with a traditional tasting bar that overlooks the vineyards.  There’s also an outdoor picnic area in case you want to pack a lunch, buy a bottle and make an afternoon out of it!

Talon produces 16 wines.  Their Chardonnay has been consistently good over the years, full of lemon and grapefruit flavors with very mild toast and vanilla from the French Oak aging.  I was also impressed with their two Cab Franc blends: Equestrian Series III and Monarch,which were rich in pepper, tobacco, and berry flavors.  Their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignons had very different personalities.  The regular Cab was spicy and earthy, while the Reserve Cab was a fruit bomb with vanilla, oak, chocolate cherries.  They were both great, but priced unjustifiably high at $29 and $50 respectively.  The Traminette and Syrah were both off-putting.  The Traminette tasted soapy, and the Syrah was just weird.

Our Favorites:
– NV Chardonnay ($20)
– Equestrian Series III (Cab Franc/Cab Sauv Blend) ($23)
– 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29)
– 2008 Cabernet Sauvingon Reserve ($50)
– NV Monarch ($25)

Jean Farris Winery

Located off Richmond Road, Jean Farris almost deserves its own blog post.  A visit to a winery – not in Italy, not California, but get this – Missouri, inspired winemaker Jean Farris to begin a career in wine.  Now there’s a fun story!

jean farrisThe hallmark of the Jean Farris property is their very popular restaurant – wine tastings are held at its (relatively small) bar.  If you visit, try to avoid the dinner rush.  Or better yet, stay for dinner and taste at your table while you dine!

Jean Farris sources all of their grapes from Kentucky vineyards, with the exception of Zinfandel (which I assume is used in some of their blends, since they don’t produce a zin.)   Taste the reds… you won’t believe it.

We skipped their white wines this time around, and started instead with their red blends.  The rose was a little funky.  The nose was buttery and caramelized, almost like a creme brulee and the taste was of tropical fruit and strawberry.  But for some reason the flavors just didn’t work together.  The 2009 Tempest was complex, but seemed astringent.  The 2009 Hell Hound Red was a total knockout – complex, and terrifically balanced.  We bought a bottle.

The single-varietal reds are where Jean Farris really shines.  They were all rich, well balanced and very enjoyable.  You’d never guess these wines were from Kentucky!  Greatness comes at a price, however, as the Jean Farris wines are some of the most expensive in Kentucky.  On the plus side, their wine club discount is HUGE. It may be worth joining just for the discount.

Our Favorites:
– 2009 Hell Hound Red Blend ($32)
– 2010 Pinot Noir ($55)
– 2009 Merlot ($18)
– 2009 Malbec ($40)
– 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ($28)
– 2009 Petite Syrah ($65)

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