One of my favorite things to do wherever I go is visit wineries and vineyards. I love learning new facts and details about wine and I love tasting what wineries from different places have to offer. It's typically a great experience that always leaves you feeling good (and not just because of the alcohol). It's something that I fell in love with while studying in France and hasn't left me, even four years later. During my weekend in Peoria, I made sure that I got to at least one of the great wineries they have down there. Kickapoo Creek Winery, about a half hour drive outside of the city, is a charming vineyard and winery with a restaurant, tasting bar, tours and more. They were incredibly welcoming and the overall experience was fantastic.
As soon as you enter the main dining area, there is a section with seating for those having lunch and a very large bar for tastings. 5 tastings are $3 or $5 if you want to leave with a logo glass, incredibly affordable (keep reading for tasting notes). My Noni had the Turkey Club Wrap (Thin slices of honey smoked turkey, cranberry mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, crisp bacon, lettuce, onion and roma tomatoes wrapped in a wheat tortilla) and I had the Chicken Salad Sandwich (Chicken salad made with grapes and toasted pecans on a croissant) for lunch. They were both delicious. Light yet satisfying. They were both served with a macaroni salad I couldn't get enough of and fresh grapes.
After lunch, we participated in a scheduled tour of the winery led by the owner of Kickapoo. It was a fun, informational tour that took us through the wine making process and varietals they make. It's interesting to hear the unique twists each winery puts on their method. The basics are the same across the board but each winery has a specialty that it's known for and it's fun to learn about the history and process of that.
A few other things that are fun about Kickapoo are the events they host. Along with being a great venue for weddings at any time of year, they also use their event space for Murder Mystery Dinners, live music events and more. There is always something to do and never a shortage of great food and wine. I'd love to go back for one of their Murder Mystery Dinners. The tables are decorated cleverly and it just sounds like a really fun time.
Here are some notes regarding the wines I had a chance to taste:
Misty Creek: This full bodied wine is made up of equal parts barrel fermented Cayuga White and steel fermented Cayuga White giving it a lightly oaked aroma with hints of buttery green apple. The taste is crisp and refreshing and lingers on the palate.
--> My Notes: This was a crisp, fruity wine. I was able to taste pear, green apple and citrus.
Sun Kiss: This medium bodied, off-dry white has a vibrant expression of pineapple, peach and lime aromas. Made from the Seyval Blanc and Vignoles grapes, it is fruity, clean and refreshing with just a kiss of sweetness.
--> My Notes: I was able to smell aromas of pear, apple and pepper. It gives the impression of being dry at first to the nose. I tasted berry, pineapple and citrus. It was slightly sour but refreshing.
Kickapoo Blush: With hints of strawberry, lychee, black cherry and rose this blush is as refreshing as it is fragrant. Made from Seyval Blanc and Chancellor grapes, the moderate acids are well balanced with the sweetness of this crisp pink wine.
--> My Notes: This wine was not too sweet but not to dry. You get strong aromas of strawberry on the nose but oddly taste cranberry.
Nookeenay Meskwaai: With a savory blend of Foch, Frontenac and Norton grapes this subtle ruby colored wine lives up to its Kickapoo tribe name meaning Red Shadow. A perfect sweetness balances the acidity of this fun red wine.
--> My Notes: This red was smooth, lightly sour, low in tannins and carried a long finish. I smelled black cherry, licorice, currant and plum but tasted strawberry and blueberry.
Sangria: A fruit-filled wine that is refreshing and easy to drink with a wise variety of foods. The secret to our Sangria is plenty of Orange and Raspberry with a dash of sweet Strawberry. Opening a bottle of Kickapoo Creek Sangria is sure to start any party, just make sure you have enough!
--> My Notes: This sangria was fantastic. It smelled like fruit punch and raspberries but tasted slightly tart yet sweet with raspberry, strawberry and apple flavors in the forefront.
Dave: Widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness, the strawberry is one of America's favorite fruits. With its bold strawberry flavor and hint of peach, this wine celebrates to strawberry and is equally loved.
--> My Notes: You will instantly smell jolly ranchers and peach when you take a sniff of this wine. However, it tastes like strawberries, true to its ingredients. The sweetness lingers like candy. This is a great wine to serve ice cold on a hot summer day after dinner.
Thank you to Kickapoo Creek Winery for hosting our tasting and tour. This post was not sponsored. No compensation was received for this post, all opinions are my own.