Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wine Party

My beautiful bride and I are planning a wine party for this weekend and picked up the wine tonight. Its a unique party in that we are serving Minnesota wines exclusively. So, I thought I might give you a virtual experience.

The picture shows all the varieties that we will offer for the tasting. I'll go through the wines individually as well as some background on the vineyards they come from.

From top to bottom:
  1. The first sampling is a cranberry wine from Winehaven. As the name indicates it is fruit wine, made with Wisconsin cranberries and is one of the winery's most popular bottles.
  2. The second is a red from Cannon River Winery, called GoGo Red. Its a fun variety crafted from Sabrevois and Frontenac (true MN grapes). It was apparently inspired by Grandma "GoGo" who grew up through the depression, WWII and always had great stories to share. Its a sweet red (no doubt inspired by Grandma) and has won multiple international wine awards
  3. Third in the photo is another from Cannon River; an unusual variety known as Sogn Blanc. Its named after the valley that produces the grape Edelweiss. This is another Minnesota grape that's hardy enough to live through the frigid winters and thrives in the sweltering heat of the summers. Sogn Blanc is also a winner of multiple international wine awards.
  4. Fourth in the picture will actually be last in the tasting. It is a port called Hastings Reserve from the Alexis Bailly Vineyard. It is a "ruby" port made from a variety of native Minnesota grapes and aged 2 to 8 years to achieve perfection.
  5. At the bottom left hand side of the picture is our third and final from Cannon River and that is the West 7th wine. I must admit that I was initially attracted only by the name; west 7th has been a landmark in downtown St. Paul for over 100 years. It used to be the trolley way, once housed the classic Schmidt's brewery and many Winter Carnival torchlight parade...not to mention the 7 corners hardware store. This is also the house white for Mancini's Char House which is one of the best Italian steakhouses in the region.
  6. Last, but certainly not least is the Winehaven Honeywine Mead. Otherwise known as honey mead, this wine-ish drink has been served since before Elizabeth held court in England. This is the signature wine of Winehaven and actually the original variety they produced. Winehaven began as a honey farm, which began to dabble in making honey mead. Well, honey mead is such a complex beverage to craft that it makes wine seem easy. It wasn't long before the business expanded into other types of wine. This wine was actually presented to Sweden's King and Queen during their Minnesota visit in 1996. This is definitely a beverage meant for royalty.
Well, if you received an invite to the wine tasting then I hope this will get you excited. If not, I hope that this might inspire you to do your own Minnesota wine themed party. It wasn't difficult at all to plan and there are certainly a variety of wineries to choose from (over 30 in MN, I have heard).

Whether its wine or ice fishing, I encourage you to go try something distinctively Minnesota or wherever you come from. Some of the best things to do are in your own backyard, all you have to do is look for them like you would if you were on vacation. Enjoy your own state for a cheap trip this year!

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