RESURRECTING AMERICA’S RHINELAND: A TUESDAY MORNING VISIT FROM SUSAN KEUPER OF KENTUCKY’S BAKER-BIRD WINERY

Earlier in the week, I met with Susan Keuper from Kentucky’s Baker-Bird Winery in Augusta, KY.  One of the oldest commercial estate wineries in the U.S., this historic producer is actually listed on the National Historic Registry.

I was a little late, having been with M. for an interview in some undisclosed locale, and having rushed through traffic to meet with Susan, I found her in the tasting studio, all set up.  I usually don’t think of a meeting with me as a foreboding event yet I got the impression from Susan she was a bit nervous.  Hilarious when you think about it – me, foreboding.

She had an urbane arrangement of the wines – making it way too formal for this whino – and we dove right into the wines.

Baker-Bird Vidal Blanc Ohio River Valley NV.  Grade=Very Good.  Slightly sweet white wine with hints of pear, mineral and apple skin.

Baker-Bird Vidal Blanc Semi-Dry Ohio Valley NV.  Grade=Very Good.  Notes of apple cider, pear skin, white flower and white spice, this more austere version of Vidal shows really well.

Baker-Bird Ruby Hawk Rose Ohio River Valley NV.  Grade=Outstanding.  A blend of Cuyaga, Vidal Blanc, and the aloof Marechal Foch, this pink shows nice notes of mulled spices, strawberry and apple skin, finishing off with a bit of Frisch’s strawberry pie.

Baker-Bird Cabernet Franc Ohio River Valley NV.  Grade=Outstanding+.   A touch of maple amidst black cherries, elderberries and mulberries, this woodsy red demonstrates a bit of the forest with lots of earth, twigs and sage.  Very nice.

I was pretty impressed by the wines, and by Susan.  She brought a simple, charming presentation and was more than forgiving for my truancy.  If I could have imparted a bit of wisdom though, I would have told her, “Relax.  You don’t have to try so hard.  The wines speak for themselves.”

And what they say is, “We are pretty darn good.”

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