As someone who was born and raised in western Pennsylvania, four things come to mind when I think about neighboring Ohio:

  • Bad drivers
  • Sea World
  • Cedar Point amusement park
  • The much-hated Cleveland Browns.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was raised to loathe our neighbors to the west, but they definitely weren’t looked upon fondly.

Now, after tasting the wines of Kinkead Ridge Estate Winery, there is at least one thing I can say that I love about the Buckeye State.

Located just outside of Ripley, Ohio, Kinkead Ridge Winery grows only vinifera grapes in their vineyard, including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Viognier, Roussanne and Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard lies on ridges rising more than 400 feet above the nearby Ohio River and the soil is 30 inches deep to broken limestone, rich in clay and well drained. This drainage is ideally suited to growing fine wines, though winter can be cold enough to damage less hardy varieties.

Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite varieties, and if you love the red wines of the Loire Valley , I can’t recommend Kinkead Ridge’s 2004 Cabernet Franc enough.

A deep violet-crimson in the glass, black cherry dominates the nose with more subtle aromas of dusty cocoa, black pepper and violets. This is an extremely full flavored wine, with black raspberry, cherry, black pepper, and dark chocolate flavors mingling on a rich, balanced palate. Well-integrated, smooth tannins and just a little lick of acidity make this a wine of unusual character and balance.

Best of all, at $17 per bottle, it’s an excellent value.