What to Drink at the Ohio Wine Festival

From the July 2014 edition

This year’s Ohio Wine Festival at the North Market (July 12 to 14) will feature nearly two dozen Ohio wineries and their best wares—meaning there will be more than 100 bottles from which to choose. No worries: We consulted Matt Citriglia, the only master sommelier in Columbus, to recommend can’t-miss pours for every palate. northmarket.com

If you like dry wines, try: Ferrante Winery’s Golden Bunches Dry Riesling

This peachy, off-dry riesling has earned Ferrante a number of awards, including Best of Class at the American Fine Wine Competition. “The first time I tasted this wine was in a blind setting, and I thought I was drinking a high-quality German riesling,” Citriglia says.

If you like herbal wines, try: Meranda-Nixon Winery’s Cabernet Franc

You’ll nose and taste dark cherry notes in this franc-done-right—thanks to southwestern Ohio’s ideal terroir. “Cabernet franc is one of the few red grape varieties that ripens earlier and can tolerate Ohio’s humidity and soils,” Citriglia says. “It’s herby and tastes a lot like cabernet sauvignon in its structure, but it tends to be more tart and lighter in body.”

If you like complex, red-fruit forward wines, try: St. Joseph Vineyards’ Pinot Noir

Mother Nature didn’t intend for pinot noirs to “jump out of the glass and slap you in the face,” Citriglia says. Rather, a pinot noir, like St. Joseph’s, should draw you in. Gently. “Pinot [noir] is finicky and cannot be overmanipulated or overhandled,” he says. “It loses its identity.” Expect black and red cherry flavors, with lavender, violet and “stemmy” notes, meaning the wine still carries hints of grapevines.

If you like balanced white wines, try: Debonne Vineyards’ Pinot Grigio

Apple, vanilla and hazelnut notes shine in this white, whose variety is typically creamier, fruitier and more full-bodied than riesling. “A lot of pinot grigios are overdone or overcropped,” Citriglia says. “Yet it is a difficult grape to grow because it can lose its acidity quick when it becomes ripe. This wine does a nice job of finding that balance.”