Saturday, September 20, 2014

Crow River - Hutchinson, MN

I have been to Crow River a few times since my last blog post.  I will combine two trips into this one post to get caught up.

In February, I met with friends at Crow River to try the Bloody Marys & Sunosas that they serve on the weekends.   The bloody marys are made with their garlic wine.

I have sampled quite a few different wines on various visits that we did a dessert wine tasting, something that I rarely drink or do tastings of.

I stopped at Crow River today for a quick glass of wine today and discovered they have added olive oil tastings and balsamic vinegar tastings as well.   It is time to harvest grapes, and they had a sample of the Marquette grape that people could try.     I settled in with a glass of Red Coyote and tried the oils & vinegars. 
There are three different options to choose from for an oil/vinegar tasting and it is $3 for a flight.   The flights are Foodie Flight, Fruit Flight & Dessert Flight.   My favorites were the Basil Olive Oil, Fig Balsamic, and Lemon Olive Oil.
Crow River Winery
14848 Highway 7 East
Hutchinson, MN 55350

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sovereign Estates - Waconia, MN

I have been to Sovereign Estates once since I last posted, and visited for a 4th time.  The winery has been increasingly busier each time I have gone, with this being the first time I visited this summer (fall?).   They were busy on this beautiful Sunday.  The patio was packed as was the tasting room with people in the back tasting room as well.    The tasting room had changed since the last time I was there with less merchandise and more tasting tables as well as an extended tasting bar.

 The tasting process has also changed as well.   We got into a line to purchase our tastings and got the scoop on how to proceed.  Previously we were able to stand at the bar & do tastings at our leisure, but presumably because it was busy we didn't have the opportunity and had to secure a table.  We had no interest in getting back into the line each time we wanted a sample, and one of the employees said they'd keep an eye on us to ensure we didn't have to wait.   That was a relief, especially since a bus had just shown up.    There were two tastings to choose from and we selected the $10 tasting, which allowed us to try all of the tasting wines and we were able to keep the glass.

We were table to taste these wines:
2011 Seyval Blanc
2013 Frontenac Blanc
2012 Blue Loon
2013 Talon Crest
2013 Estate Marquette
2013 Cabernet Franc
2013 Frontenac Rosé
2013 St. Therese Rosé
Sovereign EstateWinery
9950 North Shore Rd
Waconia, MN 55387

Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery - Waconia, MN

I have been to Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery a few times since I initially blogged about them. A significant change since then is that they have started brewing beer and have tastings available for beer in addition to the wine (excluding Sundays).   This year, they have also brought out food trucks on the weekends. Great idea!  I have been here 4 times and each experience gets better.  One of my pet peeves is when a winery grows so much the service or experience suffers.  So far, they have exceeded my expectations.

Did I mention this place is in my top 3 favorite wineries in MN? Maybe even top 2?

I'm not a beer drinker, so I have no idea if their beer is good or not. I did a tasting of it to see what it tasted like, but I cannot tell you if it was good or not. 

Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery
8785 Airport Rd.
Waconia, MN 55387

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Forestedge Winery - Laporte, MN

I wasn't sure I would be able to visit some of the outstate wineries in MN, Forestedge being one of those.  A mini-vacation to Itasca State Park offered the perfect opportunity to visit and have a tasting.

Forestedge Winery is located along the edge of the Paul Bunyan State Forest and is home to many different fruit wines.  They have a large rhubarb garden that greets you when you arrive.  

They are one of the few wineries in Minnesota that offer free tastings.   They have a large selection of various fruit wines and we tried 9 different samples.   We tried the Apple (honeycrisp), Black Currant, Blueberry, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rhubarb Raspberry, Summer Blush (Strawberry Rhubarb), Cranberry & White Cranberry.     My two favorites were the Black Currant & Rhubarb.

Forestedge Winery
35295 State 64
Laporte, MN 56461

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Carlos Creek Winery - Alexandria, MN

Do you know what I forgot to do?  If you guessed update this blog for an entire year, you are correct.    I haven't tried a lot of new wineries, but have gone to a few for a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) visit.

A new one that I visited was Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, MN.   We were on our way to Itasca State Park for a mini-vacation and Carlos Creek Winery wasn't too far out of our way.

We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon for a tasting and were able to select 5 samples for $7 each.  Their wines are made from both California grapes & Minnesota grapes.  It is marked on the tasting sheet.

The wines we tried were the Chardonnay, Vintner's Blend, Sangiovese, Trinity & Frontenac. 

After the tasting we checked out the grounds.
Carlos Creek Winery
6693 County Road 34 NW
Alexandria MN 56308

Friday, August 23, 2013

MN State Fair - MN Wine Country

Let me start by saying I HATE going to the MN State Fair.  I hate the crowds. I get disoriented by the waves of people in the streets. I become overwhelmed with anxiety and become a real pain in the ass to the people I am with.  For that reason, I have only been to the MN State Fair 4 times.... in 35 years.  This year, I decided to give it another try for a few reasons.
1) Deep Fried Olives on a Stick
2) Midwest Firefighter's calendar
3) Minnesota Wine Country

Those are very good reasons and out of the three, we started with Minnesota Wine Country.   One of the positive things about the MN State Fair is there are thousands of people who are exposed to Minnesota Wines. This was my first time to Minnesota Wine Country at the fair, and it as a great building to stop at.   We were able to have a wine flight and try different MN vineyards.  They had a great selection of food cooked in wine, including Spicy Wino Wings, Deep-Fried Meatloaf and Wine. Fried. Brie.   Out of the options available, we had the Raspberry Wine Smoothie, which is made with wine from Winehaven, one of our favorite vineyards.

There were three wine flights available:
Light & Citrus (Glacial Ridge Winery, Parley Lake Winery & Falconer Vineyards)
Dry & Rich (Saint Croix Vineyards, Northern Vineyards & Cannon River Winery)
Rose & Fruit (Forestedge Winery, Winehaven, Garvin Heights)

Bestie #2 had the light & citrus  and I ordered the dry & rich.  We loved it. It was fun to have a sample from vineyards that we had visited and especially ones that we love.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

County Fair Season

I follow quite a few different MN Wineries on facebook and they are popping up for tastings at all of the local county fairs.  If you hit your local county fair, make sure to keep an eye out for the wine!