Whether you’re a casual wine drinker or an uncorked connoisseur, two Central Indiana wineries are sure to tickle your taste buds: Chateau Thomas Winery (Plainfield) and Peace Water Winery (Carmel).
We scored Groupon deals for tastings at both wineries and set out on a “day trip” right here in Indiana. We sipped our way through 17 whites and reds, while enjoying each winery’s unique atmosphere.
Chateau Thomas Winery
A quaint winery on the southwest side of Indianapolis, Chateau Thomas is reminiscent of a small French castle we visited – in both its exterior appearance and delightful wines.
The winery’s grapes come from Washington and California, but they make all 29 wines in-house. We tried 10 of them and were impressed by the quality and unique flavors – particularly the “jug” series, a tribute to Abe Martin, a local legend from Brown County, Indiana.
Here’s the selection of wine we tried, along with their descriptions (our favorites are marked with asterisks):
- 2015 Chardonnay: This chardonnay was barrel-fermented sur lie and has rich, creamy fruit flavors, steely acids and toasty oak with apple pie bouquets.
- Classic Chardonnay*: A golden wine with aromas of tropical fruit and citrus. Hints of oak. Smooth, flavorful and lingering.
- Riesling: Cool breezes and a long growing season produces grapes with floral aromas of apple and citrus. Elegant sweetness.
The Jug Series
- Strawberry blush: Chateau Thomas’ No. 1-selling sweet wine. Candied strawberry highlights this sweet blush wine.
- Peach Chardonnay*: The winery’s No. 2-selling wine. Tropical fruit medley of pineapple, pear, mango and peach.
- Blackberry Merlot: A fruity merlot with flavors of blackberry and toasted oak.
- Fleur d’Peche: A sweet nectar of peach, apricot and honey. One of Chateau Thomas’ oldest and most cherished wines.
- Sweet AB Ultra*: A reserve of the winery’s Sweet Aubergine, it is a balance of berry and cherry fruit with a rich finish, which has a plummy sweetness.
- 2006 Nectar des Dieux (“Nectar of the Gods”): A late harvest wine paying homage to the great wine houses of Sauternes in Bordeaux, France. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion.
- 2007 Late Harvest Viognier: Concentrated floral aromas with apple, citrus and strong botrytis character.
Peace Water Winery
This cool, eclectic winery tucked in Carmel’s downtown offers a great vibe and great vino – plus supports a great cause! Fifty percent of the winery’s net profits go to the eight charities chosen by the owner’s eight children:
- Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital
- Indiana University Dance Marathon (pediatric care)
- Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral Soup Kitchen
- Reins of Grace (therapeutic horse riding center)
- Art with a Heart
- Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
- Love on a Leash (pet-provided therapy)
- Xavier Murphy Student Scholarship Fund
As Indiana’s only locally owned California winery, Peace Water handcrafts its wines in Napa Valley, one of the premier wine regions in the world.
Though its list of wines is much shorter than that at Chateau Thomas, Peace Water’s selection is equally delicious.
We tried the following wines and highly recommend them (but our favorites are marked with asterisks):
- Wishful White*: With hints of peach, orange rind, honeydew and wildflowers, this wine has a dreamy quality with an aspiring outlook.
- Bliss: Hints of grapefruit, lychee nut, citrus and sage will find you in a state of euphoria.
- Radiant*: Bursting with lime, apple and hints of dried orange blossoms, this wine absolutely shines with flavor.
- Soulful: Lyrical and melodic, this wine has expressions of butterscotch, toasted oak and pineapple.
- Sublime: Aromas of black cherry and bright strawberry lead to a savory red that’s truly transcendent.
- Sublime Reserve*: An additional six months in French oak barrels intensify aromas of black cherry, blackberry and dark chocolate.
- Grateful Red: A red blend with black fruits, cassis and a smooth texture, this wine will bring out your inner hippie.
The wines at both Peace Water and Chateau Thomas were some of the best we’ve ever had, and we’ll definitely be back!
If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive experience, this is a great choice. Be sure to check Groupon for any wine-tasting deals too!