ohio wines coming to a restaurant near you (plus recipe from doug katz)

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is explore our many wineries. I’m especially fond of Harpersfield in Geneva. The grounds are lovely, staff welcoming and pet-friendly (that is, if your dog is small), which is ideal for us because we can bring both kids – Natalie and Stella. And of course, we enjoy the wine. What’s your favorite Ohio wine?

If you can’t make it to the wineries this summer, the wineries will come to you. The Ohio Grape Industries in conjunction with many local eateries throughout Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati are working to  showcase Ohio wines June through November, both by the glass or bottle. Additionally, many restaurants will offer special five-course dinners as well as winemaker dinners. Locally, participating restaurants include Fire Food & Drink, Grovewood Tavern, Light Bistro, Molinari’s, Sara’s Place and Vine & Bean Café.

One of the winemakers featured at Fire is Ferrante. Chef Doug Katz and his staff sampled several Ferrante wines before selecting the 2008 Ferrante Signature Series Riesling and the 2008 Ferrante Signature Series Cabernet Franc to share at his restaurant. Below the chef shares a recipe for one of the dishes he’s pairing with the wine.

According to Jim Arbaczewski of Ferrante, these two wines are great examples of the wines Ferrante grows and produces. “Both of these wines are found in our Signature Series,” he says. “The Riesling has aromas and flavors of apple, peach and lime lending to a honeyed finish; the Cabernet Franc has aromas and flavors of fresh blackberry and raspberry with a hint of spice leading to a harmonious finish. Both of these wines are quite food-friendly and after tasting for yourself, you can see why they were chosen by Doug and his staff. Also, these wines carry the Quality Wine Label given out by the Department of Agriculture.”

Chef Doug Katz: Fried green tomatoes w/ sautéed sweet corn, lucky penny goat cheese & jalapeno jelly

Fried Green Tomatoes (serves 2)

1 green tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
cayenne pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste
canola oil to pan fry (about 1 cup)

Submerge tomato slices in buttermilk and allow to rest 10-15 mins. Using a pie plate or shallow baking dish, combine the cornmeal with cayenne and salt to taste. Heat the canola oil to 325 degrees in a 10 inch skillet (the oil should fill the skillet by about 1/2 inch). Shake off excess buttermilk from the tomatoes. Dredge the tomatoes in the cornmeal mixture to coat completely, shaking off excess cornmeal. When all tomatoes are dredged, place in the skillet, making sure to drop the tomatoes away from you so you do not get burned. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the tomatoes and continue cooking until golden. remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels

Sautéed Sweet Corn (serves 2)

2 tbs canola oil
1 tbs yellow onion, small dice
1 tsp garlic, minced
cayenne pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste
1 large ear sweet corn, shucked
1 tbs whole butter
1 tbs basil, torn into small pieces

Heat the canola oil until it shimmers or ripples. Using a 10 inch skillet, sauté the onion and garlic for 30 seconds, stirring or shaking the pan; season with salt and pepper. Add the corn and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes (turn down heat to medium to avoid browning). Remove the pan from the heat and add the whole butter and basil. Stir to combine and set aside

Jalapeno Jelly (can be made 1 week ahead; makes 2 cups)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cranberry juice
2 tbs jalapeno, seeded and diced

In a small saucepot, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for 1 minute more. Transfer and allow to cool completely before using.

To assemble: Shingle the tomatoes on a square or rectangle plate; top with the corn sauté. Sprinkle large chunks of Lucky Penny Farm goat cheese on the tomatoes and drizzle with jalapeno jelly. Serve with a knife and fork and enjoy!

This post was sponsored by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee.


  1. Posted June 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m so happy to see that Ohio Wines are getting a much deserved spotlight but I hope it includes some of the amazing wineries that don’t get much talk.

    Personally I’m not a fan of Ferrante or Debonne and they get so much buzz. Why, I have no idea. I wish everyone would explore the other area wineries. South River, while owned by Debonne, has their own winemaker and their Trinity is a wonderful crowd-pleasing red (found at Heinen’s).

    Farinacci Winery has really limited hours but amazing Italian style reds as does Laurello. I can’t make a trip out to the east side wineries without stopping at all three. They’re gems.

  2. Michelle V
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I kind of agree with you – there are several that I wish would receive more attention. SO I guess I’ll have to make a few trips this summer and post about them! I haven’t heard of SOuth River so I’ll add that one to my list. Thanks for sharing.