We are a wine nation. Every state in our country now produces wine. America has its well-known bests, like zinfandel from Lodi and cabernet from Napa, but there are others that deserve attention. These wines do it better or in a more distinctive style than the rest of the world. This month’s selections are from Sunfish Cellars, 803 Sibley Memorial Hwy., Lilydale, 651-552-5955.
Girard Petite Sirah 2008 (Napa,CA)
Grapes: 89 percent petite sirah, 8 percent zinfandel, 2 percent mourvedre, 1 percent grenache
• Not petite (little) or syrah, this grape is a distant cousin to syrah. But its deep purple color, soft finish, and spicy, bold, lush dark cherry fruit put it in a league of its own. It needs food, so find a hunter—because roasted duck or pot roast would be awesome!
Bethel Heights Pinot Gris 2009 (Salem, OR)
Grapes: 100 percent pinot gris
• While pinot gris and pinot grigio are the same grape, this one has a lot more to it than its Italian counterpart: It’s bigger-bodied with more weight and more fruit-like melon and pear on your tongue. This is a beautiful wine for grilled walleye or halibut.
Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Chardonnay 2008 (Columbia, WA)
Grapes: 100 percent chardonnay
• Big, buttery, and balanced with oak, this could replace a bigger-name chardonnay for half the price. It's full of great tropical fruit with a little basil on the finish. Try it with scallops in a citrus butter sauce.
Warehouse Winery Number 2 2009 (St. Louis Park, MN)
Grapes: 75 percent frontenac, 15 percent syrah, 5 percent petite sirah, 5 percent cabernet franc
• It’s fun, it’s full-bodied, and it’s from just off Highway 394. This blend has a bright red color with plenty of cherry and berry fruit on your palate, plus nice spice and cedar on your nose and a bit of earthiness (that dirt flavor I like) on the finish. Try it with Black Sheep’s fennel sausage pizza for a hometown hit.