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February 2011 / Kinkead Ridge: Luscious red wine for your valentine!

Kinkead Ridge 2008 Cabernet Franc reviewed by Currently a front runner for 2011 Wine of the Year...

"A small number of wines and wineries have developed an almost cult-like following east of the west coast. Paumanok Vineyards Chenin Blanc, Barboursville Vineyards Octagon and rockstar-turned-winemaker, Maynard James Keenan portfolio of wines have all been certified platinum by wine writers and critics alike. After tasting the Kinkead Ridge 2008 Cabernet Franc, I’m convinced the list just got a little longer.

Two years ago I began reading and hearing lots of wine chatter about Kinkead Ridge Estate Winery, a small producer in Ripley, Ohio. Renowned for their Cabernet Franc, Kinkead Ridge also grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Riesling, Roussanne and Sauvignon Blanc on their 5-acre estate vineyard.

Excited to learn more about Kinkead Ridge and especially their wines, Owner and Managing Partner Nancy Bentley kindly sent me 3 wines to sample, led by their Jefferson Cup Winner 2008 Cabernet Franc.

Dark fruit dominates the nose with a hint of red cherry, tobacco and spice. Blackberries, cherries, herbs and green peppers explode on the palate. A medium-bodied wine with balanced acidity and tannin. An outstanding effort, especially at $18 retail.

A front runner for my 2011 wine of the year, the Kinkead Ridge 2008 Cabernet Franc delivers on all fronts. Cheers!

--Brian Kirby

Kinkead Ridge 2008 Cabernet Franc and 2010 Viognier/Roussanne to be featured in internationally published volume "1000 Great Wines" by a publishing house in Britain in October. Details to follow.

Kinkead Ridge written up in the Washington Post! The "terrific Cabernet Franc from Ohio's Kinkead Ridge"... Click here...

Tweet from Brian Kirby, "Christmas came early. The 2008 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc is unbelievable."

Facebook post from Jens Rosencrantz, owner of the Cincinnati Wine Garage: "One advantage of having a poor inventory system in the cellar, is that you get surprised by a case that you entirely forgot about. 2004 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon. Wonderful."

Blog post from Dan McGrew on the 2005 Kinkead Ridge Syrah:

"No need to beat around the bush here so let's just go for a one word description. How about amazing.

About a month ago when I matched a physical inventory of my wine with the computerized inventory I found a discrepancy for this wine. The computer showed that I had one bottle, while the physical inventory proved there was really two bottles. A delightful problem. Of the four Kinkead Ridge red varieties the Syrah has usually been my least favorite. During tastings at the winery and elsewhere I've always liked the Syrah, but it was usually my least favorite of the reds.

I opened this bottle last night wanting a simple red with a pan seared, small steak. What popped out of the bottle and into the glass was anything but simple. The noses was classic, cold climate Syrah. It smelled of dark fruit, raw meat, white pepper, and spice. The color was a glorious medium red, and that was the only indication this wasn't a wine from the northern Rhone. The taste was fruity and spicy with a great depth of pure syrah fruit, wonderful acidity and just enough oak to balance everything. There was a natural sweetness to the wine that had nothing to do with sugar or over extraction, it was sweet because of perfectly ripe fruit. The tannins had settled to a supporting role, but they were still evident and gave the wine a great structure. It was good with the steak, but in this case the steak was almost secondary. Five years after the vintage this wine was a shining star and a credit to the vineyard and the winemaker.

My only regret is that I only have one more bottle. Rest assured that the three bottles of the 2008 that I own will not be touched until 2013. And I know what local market still has a few bottles of the 2008 vintage sitting on the shelf - at least until the weekend."


This speaks for itself:

From a friend of the wine buyer for Whole Foods Columbus who owns a restaurant in Colorado and imports wine from the Languedoc.

"My dear friend
Last week Janie and I were in Languedoc doing our blends. Every year my producers put on a lunch for us and everyone brings a wine to serve blind. So I brought over a bottle of the delicious 2007 Cab Franc you sent me. Everyone guessed classified Bordeaux including a British MW who was present. It was superb. Please tell them the French love their wine!!!"


What is the difference between OGIC and OWPA?

Every year I feel obligated to clarify the confusion about OGIC and OWPA.

The Ohio Grape Industries Committee ( is funded by taxpayer dollars and represents ALL Ohio wineries. The executive director is Christy Eckstein.

The Ohio Wine Producers Association, (OWPA) is a for profit members only organization that does NOT represent all the wineries in Ohio, including the non-member southern Ohio wineries (Kinkead Ridge, Harmony Hill, Meranda-Nixon and others). The executive director is Donniella Winchell.


Interesting History of Ohio Winemaking with some great Longworth illustrations at


Kinkead Ridge 2008 Cabernet Franc
Wins Coveted Jefferson Cup

The Jefferson Cup Wine Invitational is over and judges tasted over 600 wines. Wines are by invitation only, this is not a typical paid competition where wineries pay a fee to enter. They selected 70 of the very best as contenders for the top 20 winners (6 from CA, 14 other states). Only 4 of these 14 winners are vinifera, 2 winners from Ohio and we are the only vinifera winner from Ohio.

Kinkead Ridge in the Top Five of the Ohio/Michigan Wine Clash Competition
Winner: 2008 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

American Wine Society Competition Results
2008 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon: Silver Plus; 2008 Kinkead Ridge Winery Cabernet Franc: Silver. Both of these wines were judged in October after only a few months in bottle. Many of the gold medal wines at this event were from vintages from 2007 or earlier, so this was a great result.

Kinkead Ridge and Ravenhurst, the only two Ohio wineries featured in Opus Vino. Written by a new generation of wine critics with up- to-date, in-depth knowledge of the different wine regions, the wineries and their wines, Opus Vino provides greater coverage to the wine world than any other illustrated wine book. Organized by country, and then broken down into regions, districts, and wineries, the book looks at more than 4,500 individual wineries, identifies each region's top producers and its rising stars, and entries cover the owner, grapes, wine styles, and their best wines.

At 800 pages, Opus Vino takes wine publishing to new heights and gives both professionals and amateur enthusiasts a wine reference fit for the 21st century. Available in the U.S., U.K. and Australia in November, with international editions to follow next year.
Click here for details.

Click here to request a copy of our retail outlets. There are three wine stores in Ohio that can ship within Ohio or out-of-state.

Click here for a one page summary of the upcoming 2010 releases, or visit the Wines link from the home page and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Read what others are saying about Kinkead Ridge in their blogs...

Click below for access to six regional tours of Ohio wineries. Visitors can download turn-by-turn directions to their : Garmin, TomTom, Smartphone, PDA, iPod or any MP3 player. Also included is a brief description of each winery, along with contact information and hours of operation.


We are often asked about food and wine pairings. Try Natalie's food and wine matcher!



"Why  go for those long distance relationships when you can find love in your own back yard." 


Brillat Savarin noted two features which distinguish man from beast:
1. Fear of the future.
2. Desire for fermented liquors.

Missing the jokes and quotes from last month? Click here.