We made time last night to stop by the open house at Keel’s Creek Winery. It has been our intention to visit our local winery for a long time. A confession: Mom and I are both Californians, and consequently have a biased view of wine. In other words, we might be considered wine snobs. Certainly not to the level depicted in the wine country movie Sideways (2004), but we like the good stuff. As you will see below, I do not describe “the good stuff” with much eloquence. My range of wine description ranges from “ooh, this is good” to “yuck, this is like grape juice.” I leave the poetry of description to the true experts. Early in our residency in Arkansas, we sampled Arkansas wines, but they just didn’t measure up. I’ve also been informed since then that I sampled the wrong kinds.
So, with an open mind, we stepped through into the Spanish-style building home to Keel’s Creek Winery, tasting room, retail wine sales, and art gallery. We learned that in 2006, they opened their doors with production of 1800 gallons all produced from local grape varieties. Their vineyards with 12 planted acres, located 3 miles south of city limits, will begin producing next year, if the weather cooperates. “Co-owners Doug Hausler and Edwige Denyszyn estimate that the optimal production from the vineyard will be about 40 tons of grapes which will make about 5000 gallons of wine.” Currently, they continue to use all locally grown grapes for their Keel’s Creek labeled wines.
The entry is large and welcoming with two huge stone fireplaces, and comfortable seating choices. The walls support paintings from a variety of regional artists. In the tasting room, Jerry Weers oils are particularly excellent – detailed and with an old world feel, which enhances the tasting experience.
Mom and I tried two wines – the Chardonel, a Chardonnay/Seyval hybrid “Clean crisp dry wine with undertones of green apples. Barrel aged for 6 month in American Oak.” It was delicious. Really rich and dry.
Next, we sampled a dry red, Chambourcin which “is a mellow yet bold red, rich with smokey and almost chocolate notes. The varietal is a French-American hybrid normally grown in the Atlantic side of the US, however it grows quite well in the Ozarks too.” Very nice.
Keel’s Creek sells both their wines and many other Arkansas wines. We were impressed with the pricing, too. The wine we tried was in the $14 range, which for any boutique wine is a great price. The taste room, retail wine sales and art gallery are open on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (12 – 5 pm) and Wednesday through Saturday (10-6 pm). http://www.keelscreek.com/
So, these two Californians will be back again, for another tasting, and another lovely experience.