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Wine, Wine, Sheep…and More Wine!

I think it’s safe to say that I’m becoming more and more of a wine-lover. Or a wine snob. Or a wino. (You know, however you see it.) In the past three weeks, I’ve been to three wine tastings. And, people, I live in Kansas City. Not exactly the wine mecca of the world—although there’s certainly more wine interest now than, like, ever! So let’s recap my three recent wine-tasting adventures shall we? I thought you’d never ask!
First, my friend Tessa (she’s always up for a good adventure!) and I hit up Remedy (one of my fave spots) for an evening of wine-tasting and education. On this night, the focus was on blends.
The idea was to go and taste a bunch of good wine—which, we clearly did—but I also used the opportunity to pretty much get all of the info I could out of the restaurant’s owners who were running the tasting. I asked about blends, proper tasting technique, two-buck Chuck (yep, I went there), favorite wines—and about everything else I could. I ended up taking copious notes once it was all said and drunkenly done.
Three fun facts from the evening? One: Syrah and shiraz are the same grape—different regions just call them different things. Two: A wine only has to have 80 percent of a certain grape to be labeled as only that specific grape. (So that cab you’re drinking may actually have other stuff in it.) Three: Some red blends actually have white grapes in them. Neato stuff, right?
I loved many of the wines (if you’ve never had Mollydooker, it’s worth finding!) we tasted this night, but this one was my favorite. If you see it and like bolder wines, snap it up! (And confession: I’m a sucker for cool-looking wine labels…)
That next week, my sister-in-law and I serendipitously walked in on a wine-tasting event at Cellar & Loft in the River Market. We went in to have a glass of wine, which turned into a tasting—and a bottle on their back patio. It was delicious. So delicious that I totally forgot to take a photo. Darn!
Then, the next week, I hit up yet another wine tasting. And while the wine featured may have had my least favorite wine of the three, it was definitely the most scenic. Just look at this vineyard. (And, yes, this is Missouri, folks!)
It’s Jowler Creek Winery up in Platte City, and it’s gorgeous. This time of year the vines are just starting to come out and on a mostly sunny 75-degree day, it was perfect weather for a tour.
I brought friends, too! We made the trip (about an hour’s drive from my place) specially to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Here Ryan and I are with my parents.
We began the tour in the wine-tasting room, where we learned a bit about the process and the grapes they grow there at Jowler Creek (norton and vignoles).
Then we got out and into the vines! Our tour guide introduced us to the “security” (now that’s fluffy security!) and chatted with us about how they train and manipulate the vines to grow so that they keep the fruit up and off the ground.
A totally green winery, Jowler Creek uses chickens to keep pests away. (And for eggs for good eats!)
And the “mowers” are, well, THE CUTEST THINGS EVER. See them back there?
Okay, how about now?
And now? On both sides!
They literally came running over to us.
And, seeing that I LOVE sheep… (They are the cutest creatures, ever. No debate.)
I took a million photos of them…
(The baby black one on the far left was “bahhing” like crazy.)
And I totally geeked out. TOTALLY. I had no idea this place had sheep so although we were there for my mom’s birthday, it felt like mine!
After freaking out, learning more about the wine and posing for countless other sheep photos, we headed back to the tasting room to, duh, taste some wine!
Missouri is definitely known for having sweet wines, and Jowler Creek had plenty of them. I’m not a big sweet-wine girl, so many of them that we tasted weren’t really my thing, but the norton was excellent. As was the company. A big cheers to my mom turning 60!
After the tasting, we headed back to my parents’ house for a very appropriate and lovely end to our celebration: a homemade steak and roasted veggie dinner.
With a plate of this:
And a just-bought bottle of this:
It was pretty much perfect. And I think that might really be my favorite thing about wine tastings: it’s a really fun thing to try together. From friends to family, it’s a good excuse to get together and just enjoy life. And the sheep? Well, that’s just a super-cute bonus.
Do you love wine-tastings, too? What’s the most memorable one that you’ve been to? —Jenn

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