Red wine lovers, rejoice! I have an article for you.
Picture this: it’s about 50 degrees outside, the sun is shining, and you’re sitting comfortably in a living room floating down a wide river. Yes, you’re watching college football on a big-screen TV, and you look to the left out the window and see nothing but water and a red and orange speckled mountain shoreline across the way. Maybe you also see a flock of White Pelicans land in unison on the water in the distance, a respite during their long journey from north to south for the winter. There is an aroma coming from nearby, and it smells like fresh pumpkin spice muffins baking in the oven to your right. Someone hands you a cold beer from the fridge. This is what it’s like to be on a houseboat on Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky during the fall.
Houseboating on Lake Cumberland, Kentucky
I was introduced to Lake Cumberland through my boyfriend’s family, and it has been a wonderful addition to our travel plans. Houseboat living is not completely unlike a weekend camping trip if camping also included a bedroom, full kitchen, and a flushable toilet. You are, similarly to camping, cut off from the real world and staying in a fantasy-land of nature when you take the boat out on the lake. It’s the perfect place and opportunity to do almost nothing.
During the summer, the water is warm, and it’s refreshing to have a dip and swim around, or simply spend your days bobbing on a noodle with a drink in hand. However, during the fall, lake activities can be somewhat restrained due to the lack of sweat-inducing temperatures and 85+ degree water. For wine lovers, this means plenty of time to sit back and relax and drink a Cabernet all day on the deck of the houseboat.
Five Wines You Should Bring on the Houseboat During the Fall
When visiting Lake Cumberland after the summer has passed, you’ll need something to keep you busy and warm. Here are five wines you should bring with you on the houseboat during the fall.
Domaine Bousquet Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
I’ve written a lot about Domain Bousquet, and I will persist as long as this Argentine winery continues to produce quality wines made from organic grapes at extraordinary value. The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is priced at about $18, but the wine far exceeds expectations at that level. Red and black fruit mingle in the flavor profile, tied together with some subtle green pepper. Bold on the palate with structured tannins and savory weight. This is a sturdy wine that will pair well with your houseboat BBQ dinner. Brisket anyone?
The Federalist Zinfandel (aged in Bourbon Barrels for 6 months)
Honestly, I brought this bottle along for the ride due to the Bourbon connection and being in Kentucky, although, the grapes are sourced from Mendocino County, California. Don’t expect an obvious Bourbon kick with this Zin, as the Bourbon influence shows more in the aromas of vanilla and spice from the barrels. Big juicy Zin with lots of strawberry jammy notes on the tongue. A smooth and enjoyable wine that you can find for about $21.99. Frankly, I paired this bottle of The Federalist Zinfandel with sitting and reading a book on the island overlooking the lake, and few other activities are more pleasurable on a fall day.
Patricia Green Cellars Reserve Pinot Noir
Need something lighter as an afternoon delight? This Willamette Valley Pinot Noir paired just perfectly with watching college football in the living room of the houseboat. Priced at around $25, this is a great sweet spot for quality Oregon Pinots. Cherry red fruit dominates with a hint of spiciness that gives the wine complexity. A very elegant, lingering Pinot that will hold its own to a sausage sandwich for lunch.
Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon
It can be quite chilly at night on the houseboat, so you’ll need a wine that will warm you right up as you sit close to the heater on the back patio listening to the sounds of silence out on the lake. Joel Gott Cabernet will help ease you into the chill of the night with a blanket of concentrated dark fruit, vanilla, and white pepper spice. At a retail price of less than $15, it’s hard to deny that Joel Gott is a great houseboat house guest that won’t leave you high and dry.
Piazza Del Dotto Cabernet Sauvignon American Oak Alain Fouquet Connoisseur’s Series
At least one of the nights on the lake, you’ll want to impress your fellow companions with a wine that is more a relic of big city drinking than houseboat living. This bold Cabernet from premium Napa Valley producer, Del Dotto, is everything you want from a Napa wine. Sourced from vineyards in the Oakville area close to the famed To Kalen plot, this wine that retails for about $175 shows deep, dark expressions of fruit, a hint of smoky tobacco, and herbaceous, savory notes that round out the long, lingering finish. This is not a shy wine, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Decant before serving at least for an hour, and then pair with your finest meats.