©Neville Goedhals 2007. Visit my site at: www.NevilleGoedhals.com

 FLORIDA ESTATE WINERY

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Photos and Article

By

Neville Goedhals

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If you want to take a break from the mundane, then a short drive north to Land O’ Lakes will bring you to the Florida Estates Winery, where well-informed staff provide wine tasting sessions--no need to book in advance, just be there.

The tasting office is set amongst flat pastures, a far cry from the hills and vales usually associated with vineyards, but this doesn’t detract visitors from enjoying the country air while sampling Florida’s own. Tables and chairs are set out beneath moss-draped trees behind the tasting office, and are well patronized by repeat visitors.

The selection of wines provides for those who may not enjoy traditionaly heavier reds. Some uniquely flavored whites are popular both for their taste and as souvenirs of Florida. The flavored wines include Casa Del Sol Florida Orange, Casa Del Sol Florida Key Lime and Plantation Spice. There is even a strawberry flavored port.

Wine aficionados are likely to pale at the thought of local cultivars; however the use of hybrid grapes has ensured some very palatable wines. The estate’s vines are still maturing and most of the grapes come from Eden Vineyards, a sister estate in Ft. Meyers. In addition the estate has partnered with a winery, Viña San Esteban, located at the base of the Andes foothills in Chile.

 

If your visit is timed to coincide with one of the estate’s event days, then you are in for a treat. I was fortunate enough to attend the Driving Pink event that took place on the 3rd of June. The Florida Estates Winery, Suncoast Classic MG Club and Nature Coast English Car Club held a car show in aid of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (contact details for these worthy institutions can be found at the end of this article).

It was a day of food, live music, wine, prize drawings and vintage cars; all for a good cause. Happy revelers, many who mistook ‘taste’ to mean ‘quaff’, admired Rolls Royces, Minis, MGs and other vintage British cars. The congresswoman for Florida, Mrs. Ginny Brown-Waite (an MG enthusiast), was on hand to support the event and press palms.

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Wines of Note

La Florida Estates Carmenere (Chile):  The carmenere grape was originally imported to Chile from Bordeaux, but the vines were ‘lost’ amongst the merlot plantings for 100 years. DNA testing rediscovered the carmenere vines which the estate now bottles as ‘The Lost Merlot’. Although full tasting, the wine is light, imparting an aftertaste of blended berries. This wine is highly recommended as a compliment to red roasts.

La Florida Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile): A very rich chocolate taste that does not require aging. What makes the wine so impressive is its smoothness and character for an off-the-shelf cabernet. Serve this wine to that someone special along with a dark chocolate fondue.

Plantation White: Very refreshing without being overly sweet or fruity. Perfect for our hot Florida weather. Serve chilled alongside the pool with crab or shrimp appetizers.

Plantation Red: A mild red for those who dislike the strong tannins usually associated with red wines. Excellent for making Sangria (the estate sells the spices required).

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Contacts:

Florida Estate Winery: (813)996-2113 or www.floridaestateswines.com

The Suncoast Classic MG Club and The Nature Coast English Car Club: www.britishcarclub.net

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation:

(877)506-6927 or www.komensuncoast.com