Florida Wine. Is it possible?

By Greg B. So what would you think if I told you I had an actually enjoyable wine from Florida.  Made in florida, from grapes grown in Florida.  You’d probably think I had lost it.  But you’d be wrong.  There is at least 1 enjoyable wine, and Jim had brought it up from Florida to try here in Baltimore.  San Sebastian Winery’s Castillo Red.

Apparently, this winery has a jazz and blues bar upstairs, as their webpage reads, making this an appealing destination for me (I do lament the lack of good jazz places in Baltimore.  And by good, I mean any.).  But besides this, the wine isnt too bad either.  We opened the bottle of Castillo Red at my old house, of course, after we had moved all the good glassware and anything useful to opening wine and snacking on finger foods (Gabi brought some of those delicious small servings of swiss cheese, the laughing cow ones.  I am practically addicated to these.).  At 12% abv, this wine had average alcohol content, and poured a pale/light red in the glass.

On the nose, there were musty, damp earth notes which surprised me.  I had half expected just another fruity, sweet wine and was pleasantly surprised to smell something unique and interesting.  The taste had a light mouthfeel with some, but very little, earthy notes.  It was a little tart at the finish, however after leaving the bottle open for about 30 minutes or more, the wine opened up with some bright fruits on the palate which was rather nice.

As this same evening, we also tried a Plantation Blush, a wine from Williamsburg Winery.  This had some very light fruits on the nose and was considerably sweeter in comparison to the Castillo Red.  Interestingly, it had a slight tobacco flavor, but like a sweet pipe tobacco almost.  For a cheap bottle of wine ($7.50) this wasnt too bad of a deal.

All told, it was an interesting night to check out wines from Florida.  I did not know they grew grape vines there, let alone made any kind of wine, let alone (again) made any kind of respectible wine from Florida!  But I was glad Jim provided the opportunity to broaden my horizons and I look forward to hearing more about and learning more about Florida wine in the future.

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4 Responses to Florida Wine. Is it possible?

  1. michael says:

    I’m sorry to have missed this tasting, especially since I do not believe there is any palatable wine made from Florida!!!

  2. Brian says:

    Just stumbled upon your blog. I’m a big fan of the other 46 states and actually live in Florida. The San Sebastian Winery actually source their grapes from Lakeridge Winery in Clermont, Florida, about 30 minutes outside of Orlando. They specialize in the Muscadine grape varietal. Ironically, I just reviewed the Williamsburg Winery Governor’s White yesterday on my website, http://www.theother46.com/. A pleasant surprise.

  3. Greg says:

    Hi Brian, welcome to the website and thanks for the information! I’ll be sure to check out the rest of your blog, the Governor’s White sounds pretty good, I’m all for the Muscat grape, blended or on it’s own!

  4. Jim N. says:

    I wanted to comment on the grapes. This wine was previously made with 20% CA Merlot & 80% Blanc Du Bois, but, what we tasted is probably the newer batch of >10% Sirrah and the rest Florida Blanc Du Bois. It has a short shelf life, according to the winery, of about 3 years.

    The reason Blanc Du Bois grape is interesting is that it is a bunch hybrid developed at the U. of Florida from a native grape. It was developed specifically to grow in the hot southeastern U.S. where you have heat, freezing, hurricanes, drought, insects, root rot…. you get the idea. It’s a tough grape and not really available elsewhere as far as I know. It’s supposed to be used for white wines, but, it made a fine red. You can look this grape up on wikipedia for further info.

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