Lakeridge Winery

27 Feb

I finally got to visit Lakeridge Winery in the rolling hills of Clermont this past Saturday with some friends. I’ve been wanting to go to this place for about a year now, I just never got around to it. This is by far the largest winery i’ve been to in Florida. They have machines that shake the grapes off of their 127 acre vineyard and huge vats of wine. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, though. The largeness of the group tour (about 30 or more people every 15 minutes or so) takes away from the intimacy you get when the owner and winemaker himself gets to take you on a tour, like at the Rosa Fiorelli Winery in Manatee county.

The tours and tastings are complimentary making the trip worthwhile. Another letdown for me was the fact that they didn’t provide palette cleansers between the wines they served you to taste. Now I don’t claim to know too much about wine, but as a basic, if you don’t cleanse your palette between wines, you’re not getting the full taste of the wine. They gave us 8 different wines to try starting with the drys and moving to the sweets, as they should. The prices are reasonable with the cheapest being $7.99 for the Chablis and Sunblush and the most expensive being $16.99 for their Pink Crescendo (delicious sparkling wine) and Proprietor’s Reserve.

One thing I noticed during the tasting is that the Muscadine grape indigenous to Florida, which is what they make most of their wines from, has a very gasoline-like smell to it. After the tasting I decided to buy a bottle of the Cuvee Noir Reserve, their driest red wine. It has a deep red color in the glass and a fruity smell. Once you taste it, it’s not too harsh on the palette with a warm, light tannin finish. 12% alcohol by volume at $10.99 a bottle, I can afford. While shopping I also saw a small bottle of 100% Muscadine Grape Juice, which I thought was ingenious since i’ve always wanted to know what the grape tasted like before fermentation, so of course I bought a bottle, it was only $1.50 or so. It tasted like a white grape juice, not too sweet, with it’s own flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Lakeridge Winery.

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