Thursday, December 1, 2011

Get Ye to Markko Winery for the Yuletide Tasting

This weekend, December 3 and 4, Arnie and his family and friends will share their bounty and say thank you. The winery is open from 12-5 on Saturday and from 12-4 (I think) on Sunday. The e-blast said "It seems to be the little things we find in wine that add some extra pleasure."

I first met Arnie Esterer, winemaker and owner of Markko Vineyards in Conneaut, on our first Ohio wine country adventure.  Arnie, with partner Tim Hubbard, started experimenting with European varietals and French-American hybrids in the late 1960s after purchasing one hundred acres of land, as instructed by Dr. Konstantin Franc of New York’s Finger Lakes.  There are no pretences at Markko—it’s all about the wine.  The chardonnays and cabernets at the boutique winery are the best in Ohio because they’re handcrafted and estate bottled, and Arnie admits that they are expensive.  Arnie’s the guru of winemakers in the Lake Erie Appellation, and other vintners like Ken Tarsitano will admit they learned how to trellis vines and craft a decent wine from Esterer.  Arnie readily explains how the vines in our region must be kept three feet off the ground to prevent moisture that leads to rot.  The dark cellar of stainless steel for his Rieslings and oak barrels for the Chardonnays and Cabernets remind me that the grapes become wine all on their own, and it’s the winemaker’s job to create an excellent, drinkable wine from the results.  When we first stood at the counter in the tasting room and tasted dry wines with complimentary cheese, Markko became our favorite Ohio winery because Esterer wants to create the best wine possible from what the land offers, and he does.   

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