Wednesday, November 22, 2017
IF YOU GO
What: Myrddin Winery
Where: 3020 Scenic Drive, Lake Milton
Hours: Thursdays 5-9 p.m.; Fridays 5-10 p.m.; Saturdays 1-10 p.m.; and Sundays 1-6 p.m.
Information: For more information on special events and live music, visit www.myrddinwine.com or call 330-654-9181.
By REBECCA S. NIEMINEN
Off the beaten path, on a lofty wooded bank overlooking Lake Milton, sits Myrddin Winery, a charming hub where folks gather for amazing wines and tasty victuals.
If you don’t frequent Lake Milton, you may have never heard of this friendly little winery, which opened in 2005 and began serving food about four years ago. If that’s the case, I encourage you to give Myrddin a try.
During my visit, I sampled some of its most popular appetizers and sandwiches as well as a few of its most celebrated wines.
I began my Myrddin experience with two varieties of “wizard chips,” the winery’s top-selling appetizers.
“The winery is named after Merlin from the King Arthur legends. Myrddin is another form of Merlin,” explained Evelyn Sperry, who owns the winery along with ex-husband Kristofer Sperry. “So a lot of our wines and food have King Arthur-inspired names, such as the wizard chips.”
There are two types of wizard chips: the white chips, which feature a plate of potato chips drizzled with queso sauce and bacon bits; and the blue chips, which feature potato chips drizzled with blue cheese sauce and balsamic vinegar. Both are $6.50, and both are delicious starters. The creamy queso sauce and hearty, crunchy bacon bits pair deliciously with the crunchy potato chips. The balsamic vinegar provides a pleasing tang alongside the creamy blue cheese sauce.
One of the most popular sandwiches at Myrddin is the chicken salad croissant ($5.50). After one bite of this sandwich, I knew there was something special about it, but I couldn’t immediately identify the hidden ingredient that gave it its extra zing.
Sperry revealed the mysterious ingredient to be pineapple.
“It’s a mix of chicken, mayo, cranberries, pecans and pineapple,” she said. “The recipe actually came about by accident. I was going somewhere and needed to bring a dish with me and threw together some chicken salad based on what ingredients I happened to have on hand.”
The last-minute recipe has proven to be a lucky creation. The pineapple lends an unexpected and refreshing twist. The chicken is finely shredded and blends perfectly with the crunchy pecans, chewy cranberries and warm, flaky croissant.
I’m not the only one impressed by this sandwich. Sperry said it won a best of show award one year at Taste of Salem.
After the chicken salad, I sampled another popular Myrddin sandwich – the Italian Panini ($5.50). This gem features capicola, genoa salami, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, banana peppers, red onions, provolone and Italian sauce between two slices of crisp toasted bread. Imagine melted provolone, spicy peppers and onions and a hearty blend of meats, and you will understand why this sandwich tastes so yummy.
If you’re craving a cup of soup alongside your sandwich, ask for the creamy potato dill soup ($2.50 per cup, $3.50 per bowl). This soup also won an award at Taste of Salem and is a perfect pick-me-up for a wintry afternoon. The generous chunks of potatoes, flavorful dill and creamy broth will have you asking for seconds.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth like I do, you’ll be happy to know Myrddin serves mini desserts for $1.50 each. I tried the salted caramel ice cream and the hot fudge cake – both were scrumptious.
Of course, you’ll also want to sample some wines, which are artfully created by Kristofer Sperry. Most of Myrddin’s wines range in price from $16 to $22 per bottle. The Sweet Guinevere wine is the most expensive at $27 per bottle. However, one sip of this chocolate wine and you’ll be willing to pay every penny. Unlike many chocolate wines I’ve tasted that seem almost garish and artificial with their chocolate flavoring, the chocolatey sweetness of Sweet Guinevere is beautifully subtle.
I was even more impressed, though, by Myrddin’s pumpkin spice sangria, a seasonal favorite at the winery. When most people think of sangria, they picture berries and summertime. This unique sangria offers an unexpected alternative with flavors associated with autumn and fireside sipping. It is truly superb.
The sandwiches and appetizers I sampled are always present on Myrddin’s menu, but Sperry said the winery offers different items throughout the year.
“The menu is ever-changing; there’s always something new,” she said. “We also have specialty dinners from time to time.”
A recent Valentine’s dinner, for example, featured a five-course meal: an arugula salad with pears, oven-dried grapes and gorgonzola; a celery root soup paired with a dry white wine; a marinated shrimp with buerre blanc and a semisweet wine; a filet mignon steak with herbed potatoes and a dry red wine; and a chocolate stout cake with raspberry coulis paired with a sweet black raspberry wine.
Myrddin has seating for about 42 people indoors and seating for about 60 outdoors.