Butler Limited Edition Indiana Chambourcin

Maker: Butler Winery, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Vintage: 2009

ABV: 12%

Appearance: Dark burgundy.

Nose: Oak, wild blackberry, dried tobacco. Bears a passing resemblance to Chianti.

On the palate: Full bodied, but delicately sweet. More forest fruit, toasted oak, blueberry.

Finish: slightly tangy, but with some cedar in the background.

Parting words: Chambourcin is a hybrid grape that is pretty widely planted around Eastern North America. It was developed by hybrid guru Joannes Seyve and became available to planters first in the 1960s. Its advantages are its disease resistance and a lack of foxiness. It is an ancestor of the increasingly popular Regent grape. It ages well too, or at least this one did.

This stuff was all over the place in a very unpleasant way during the first hour after I opened it . After it sat in the fridge with a stopper on for 2-3 hours it settled down into a good, very food friendly wine. It’s not incredibly complex but it has a slightly rustic character that keeps things fun. My only criticism is that it is slightly over-oaked. Less oak and more fruit might have put it into the highly recommended category. Overall it’s a good effort, though. Butler Limited Edition Indiana Chambourcin, 2009 vintage, is recommended.

Camelot Mead

Maker: Oliver Winery, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

ABV: 11%

Appearance: Light straw, like a chardonnay.

Nose: Honey (duh), apples, citrus blossoms.

On the palate: medium bodied, big sweetness, fruit juice, more floral notes, followed by a slightly bitter honey flavor.

Finish: Pretty light. The fruity sweetness lingers in the cheeks and frankly makes my teeth hurt a little.

Parting Words: Camelot is a good beginner’s mead. In fact, it was one of the first products ever produced by Oliver Winery when it began nearly forty years ago. It’s light and sweet, not too bitter, but still has a decent amount of honey character. Works well on its own or as a dessert wine. Not life-changing, but at under $10, it’s hard to complain too much. Recommended.