Monday, September 23, 2013

Winery: Four Daughters Winery and Vineryard

It has been awhile since I have been to a winery. And when I say awhile, I mean about 2 months.

Moving to Minnesota was a culture shock of experiences for me. Once I got beyond the feelings of "I can't see my friends and family whenever I want" grew to "What do you mean there is no Target in this town? And I have to drive <i>how far</i> to get to a winery? Can they even grow grapes in the Great North???"
Four Daughters Winery and Vineyard

Well, it turns out, there is a winery less than an hour away from where I live. And yes. The University of Minnesota viticulture/enology department actually grows cold hardy vines.

The product is Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Cresent, and Marquette vines. And they are all pretty outstanding. And all, are vines that Four Daughters grows.

Four Daughters provides a neat, and what I like to consider, an "California Authentic" wine tasting experience.  Their tasting room is very spacious and warm in color.  They have a full menu to take advantage of during your tasting as well (and let me say I only shared a Pizza Margarita with the Hubs, but man, was it really, really good).

As explained to me, they typically have a red tasting menu, and a white, but with this past weekend being the harvest weekend, they made a special tasting menu to showcase the wines that were made from grapes grown at the winery.

We started with a Brianna, 2012. This was white wine, slightly sweet, with a grassy nose that reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc. There was nothing Sauvignan Blanc about this wine. Smooth, easy drinking, and not too sweet.

We followed that with a gorgeous amber colored 2012 Frontenac Gris. This wine was almost as syrupy as a late harvest reisling, rich and decadently smooth, with notes of apricots.

Following next was a Frontenac Rose, something I have never had. This was very fruity and smooth.  I think it's a great wine to introduce to non-wine drinkers, actually, as it is a little bit more "juicy" than wine-ish.

aren't those the cutest little glasses?
I have to say, I wasn't sure if the North could produce a robust wine like the Napa Cabernet's and Paso Robles Zin's I have grown to love and adore. But, they can and do. Marquette is a really lovely wine. It smells peppery, and a little leathery, like a good, good, Syrah, and it delivers on that tannin mouth feel with a warm close at the back of your throat. There are hints of berries throughout the wine, but I was amazed at the pepperiness. A nice red, dry, but perfect for the long winters ahead of me.

Lastly we finished with a Sparkling Pinot Noir. While I was very excited to try this wine (I had exclaimed, "It's Pinot Noir and Sparkling! What will I not love about it?") but.... It didn't quite meet those expectations. The sparkling isn't too pronounced, and I am not certain I tasted a distinct Pinot Noir flavor. The wine itself was a little jammy, but didn't have a jammy wine texture. It was light. It did pair nicely with food, because I polished off half a pizza with that last glass of Sparkling Pinot Noir. I just wasn't as captivated by this wine as I was its predecessors.

After lunch and tasting, we tood a self guided tour to sample grapes in their raw form, before the wine making process. It was very neat to see, and to see an actual difference in the hardy vines of Minnesota, sort of trim and with less foliage than the fuller California vine counterparts. I think it's important to remember that these are rather young vines though, no more than 10-20 years old.

grapes in the "raw" and the final product
All in all, this was a very good tasting experience and I am excited to try more vintages from the other wineries this state has to offer.

We purchased a Marquette, and a bottle of the Brianna, but I will be back; I am a believer in sampling all that is offered.

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