Forsee Vineyards and Winery
18165 North 4th Avenue
Coffeen, IL 62017
Hours of Operation:
Thursday – Sunday
Noon to 10PM, year-round
Location, Arrival, & Lodging:
It’s a normal midwest drive for me to see mostly fields and not much along the interstate. So, as you wind through the country it’s a WOW moment when you pull around the corner to see this diamond in the field. The winery building has a lot of character and charm to it all alone. Then to see it sitting among a beautiful vineyard in the country was just wonderful! It was a nice surprise. There’s hotel lodging in a local town if you’re traveling from afar which I would recommend to stop in Forsee to see for yourself!
Staff and Service:
Everyone we met was very friendly. The bartender Lisa who assisted us with our wine tastings was very knowledgeable and helpful. Anything that she couldn’t answer she asked someone else who did know.
Samples were unlimited and free and if you let her know you’re likes she was kind to lead you to some great recommendations.
Currently they only offer appetizers which with the addition of a new fryer that smell was dominating the tasting area so they are in the midst of adding on again to accommodate a separate kitchen area. This should help with the smell. They seem to be expanding very nicely.
Amenities & more:
I love the fact there are so many private and secluded areas you can sit and enjoy your wine and friends. Above the wine tasting bar is a nice open loft with a variety of seating that could hold approximately 24 people and you can look out the front window over the vineyard or out the back window peeking into the wine making facility. An additional enclosed room with a large television can also be enjoyed all year long with approximately 40 friends. Lisa told us the outdoor covered deck that they enclosed with vinyl gets them through the cold months with a nice fireplace and heaters you could host a family reunion of about 90 members. When the weather is nice the multi places to sit outdoors and take it all in is a perfect winery experience in my book. Its a winery that keeps on going. Everywhere you look there is a different sitting area. Take your pick!
I can’t wait to go back!
Chrissy’s Crushes: The ambiance and setting!
Wines and Winery
It’s pretty common to go to an Illinois Winery and find certain grape wines like Norton, Chambourcin, and a blend of the two. In the whites you will find Traminette, Vignoles, and Niagra. So to find Corot Noir, a dry red, was very unusual. It is a full bodied red, lightly aged in American Oak which gave it a buttery creaminess. It tasted drier to me than the Norton even though it was only 12% alcohol. It had a very long finish meaning the taste hung on in your mouth.
The wines ran between $14.25 to $26 a bottle and $4.25 to $5 a glass. Tastings were free. The wines I chose to try were:
Norton – 2009 -$24 a bottle
It was deep ruby colored, good spice, dry as soon as it hit your mouth but had a nice finish. I enjoyed this Norton the most.
Okaw Red – $17 a bottle
Lighter strawberry colored, semi sweet red (12% alcohol), nice but I still enjoyed the peppery Norton better.
No. 76 – $15.75 a bottle
Why the number 76 for a grape name? It’s because they haven’t actually named it yet. Researcher, Bruce Reisch from Cornell University, bred the NY76 grape in 1976. It is known for its winter hardiness and productivity and is similar in characteristics of a Gewurtztraminer or Muscat according to Reisch. A contest to name it was held up until Aug. 6th and the new name will be released at the Viticulture 2013 Conference in February.
This grape is a dry white with a floral and apricot bouquet. It has a long, dry finish.
Traminette –2011- $15.75 a bottle
This semi-sweet is a medium bodied, crisp white that tingles at the end! It is very similar to a German style Riesling. I enjoyed it very much.
Vignoles – $15.75 a bottle
Even though this wine is listed as sweet I was a little surprised that it tasted a little drier than expected. I would call it a semi sweet white. This one is on a limited release so get it now!
Niagra – $14.25 a bottle
I am definitely not a Niagra fan so it forces me to try it everywhere I can only because I am looking for that one that I REALLY like! As soon as I smelled this one, I knew it was Niagra. The only way to know is by doing tastings as often as you can! To a point. Not such a good idea for breakfast though. Sorry to say I did not enjoy this one like all the rest of the Niagra grapes from around the area. They compare this grape to the white version of the Concord grape.