A Wine Tasting And Professional Review - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

June 23, 2014

A Wine Tasting And Professional Review

Virginia's Beach Campground--Lake City, Pennsylvania

I lingered over an extra cup of coffee this morning after the best night of sleep I've had yet.  I decided last night that I would make today a shorter ride and head to a campground just past the Pennsylvania border. 

Somewhere between Ashtabula and Conneault, I came across some of the tallest reeds I have ever seen.  I stopped to take a selfie of me with them.  I hope you appreciate the picture because I suffered at least 20 mosquito bites while trying to take it.  I just didn't think I'd be there long enough to have to pull out my secret weapon (the 100% DEET.)

The reeds were much taller than they seem in this photo. And there were more mosquitoes than you can see in this photo.
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Six miles into Pennsylvania, I turned off of Highway 5 onto a quiet little road that led to Virginia's Beach Campground.  Yes, it's a private campground which, just yesterday, I said I dislike.  This one has a good reputation among bicyclists though, AND it has some nice primitive sites away from the RVs.  I got there at exactly 3:00 p.m.  By 3:10 I began hearing thunder.  From 3:15 to 4:30 it was a steady rolling thunder.  It started raining at about 4:30, but never so hard that I had to dive into my tent.  The storm passed with only light rain--nothing my rain jacket could not handle.

I've been learning that the Lake Erie region of northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania and southwest New York is grape country.  And that means wine country.  Now, I am definitely not a wine connoisseur, but after the resounding success of my food review a couple weeks back, I thought it might be fun for me and perplexing for you if I were to write a wine review.  So here it is:

Before I get into the actual tasting of the wine, let me say something about how I acquired it.  While in the city of Conneault, I pulled over to the sidewalk and asked a pedestrian where I could find a grocery store.  He pointed directly behind him.  It was a Dollar General.

    "No, I mean a full-service grocery--like where I could get fresh meat and vegetables."

    "Oh, you'll have to go back to Orlando's."
    "Where is that?" I asked.
    "Downtown."
    "Where's dow . . . nevermind."  I asked somebody else.


Orlando Brothers was small, but they had some locally produced wines and I chose, with complete randomness, something from the Ferrante Winery in Geneva, Ohio.  It was their "Russo Red Table Wine."


On the "residual sugar scale," so the label informed me, the wine rates a 3.5 on a scale from 0 to 6.  I probably would have given it a solid 5 on that scale.  It's OK though, because I LIKE sweet wines.  I am not a sophisticated wine drinker.  If I taste a $50 bottle of, say, cabernet sauvignon, my mouth will say, "What the hell was that?"


This Ohio Wine had outstanding sweetness and I detected hints of grape.  I really WANTED to be able to say it had hints of oak or peach or blackberry or charcoal or T-bone steak--like a real wine reviewer--but that would not be honest.  I tasted sugar and grape.  The bouquet of the wine was also decidedly grapey.  And it had 11% alcohol by volume, so it did its job in that regard.  Plus, it paired well with a fine meal of Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup, an avocado, Cheez-Its, and beef jerky.

There you go--my first wine review.

Looking out along the Lake Erie shoreline at Virginia's Beach.
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Good cholesterol to counteract the bad cholesterol of Cheez-Its.
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A heavier storm came through at night after I was safely tucked away in the tent.  Lightning, thunder, rain, the works.  I liked it.

Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 1,040 miles (1,674 km)

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