Holly Hill Inn's Sub-Zero Wine Tasting
The license plate icicles tell part of the tale. Kentucky's coldest night in years had already begun last night when I set out for Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Kentucky. I headed toward a sold out Holly Hill Wine Guild tasting and seminar on European white wines that had been postponed from a week earlier because of icy roads and electrical failures. My car thermometer registered 13 degrees. I knew the wind chill had dipped below zero, with a low temperature of 3 degrees expected overnight.
When I arrived at the Inn I learned that during the day Inn staff, needing to know how much food to cook for the light meal ($15) that follows the tasting ($25), had called all the pre-registrants to ask whether they still intended to show up in the bitter weather. People responded, "Are you kidding? You couldn't keep me away." True! Every seat filled, one extra seat was added, and then finally a couple of people had to be turned away. (I assume they had not made reservations.)
Here in Kentucky we have been in our houses for quite a few days, courtesy of two winter storms. Many of those houses (nearly 800,000 statewide) lacked heat, phone, television, internet, and -- worst of all -- water, in places where the storm dismantled water treatment and distribution facilities. After more than a week of isolation and, for some, downright misery, people wanted OUT, wanted to see other people, eat, sip, make conviviality together.
I will use any reason to drive the 13.8 miles from my house to the beauty and warmth of Holly Hill Inn and its people. I didn't even wait for the confirmation call during the day -- I called early to make sure the Inn's electricity had been restored and that the evening events would unfold as (re)scheduled. Having been to several other wine tastings at Holly Hill Inn since last summer, I wanted to be certain the events would take place, because then I could enjoy looking forward to them all day.
Holly Hill Inn Wine Guildmaster Steve Mancuso had promised by email that the wines of the evening would be excellent. As he began the seminar he emphasized that the each wine's taste derived from the flavor of the single type of grape it contained. No blends. No vanilla or butter from oak barrels, no creaminess from fooling with the fermentation process -- just honest, authentic wines, mostly from coolish, sometimes mountainous parts of Austria, Germany, Italy's Friuli region, Alsace, and France. As it happens, in the short time I have been drinking my one glass of wine a day, these crisp, high-acid, food-friendly white wines have become my favorites.
I have thought earlier about publishing more information about the Holly Hill Wine Guild, which is free to join, and for which each event seems a great value. With space limits, though, more publicity hardly made sense. I have to admit, too, that I was selfishly not eager to create more competitors for the few spots available.
Last night we learned that the Holly Hill Wine Guild will begin offering some tastings and seminars on multiple nights to accommodate more people. Learn more here about taking part in events that are so delightful and such good value that people will brave subzero temperatures rather than give up their seats at the tasting and seminar table.