American-made wine detail
In honor of our American food issue, here are some wines from the good ol’ USA. Our wine industry has come a long way in the last fifty years, and now we produce some of the greatest wine in the world. We recently lost one of our legends, Minnesota–born winemaker Robert Mondavi, without whom we wouldn’t be where we are. He inspired many of today’s great winemakers and if they can pass on that forethought and love, the future of winemaking in America will be bright. Today, all fifty states produce wine—from rhubarb wine in Minnesota to sparklers in New Mexico, ice wines in New York, and the pineapple wines of Hawaii. Not all of it is world-class, but it’s evidence that wine is now deeply ingrained in American culinary culture.
This month’s selections are available at Top Ten Wines & Spirits, 9887 Norma Ln., Woodbury, 651-501-1199
Stangeland Pinot Gris 2006 (Willamette Valley, Oregon), $17.99
This wine has more body than Italian pinot grigio and less acid than French pinot gris—Oregon’s style is all its own. The melon and apple tastes are well balanced with crisp acids. In hot weather it’s delicious paired with fresh fruit or a cold chicken and/or pasta salad.
Hook & Ladder Chardonnay 2005 (Sonoma, California), $15.99
Complex and rich, with nice—but not overpowering—oak and butter. It reminds me of a caramel apple with vanilla ice cream. Maybe that’s an odd description for wine, but who doesn’t like that stuff? The Wedge Co-op’s wheat berry salad would be a fun pairing.
Three Rivers River’s Red 2005 (Columbia Valley, Washington), $15.99
40% merlot, 27% cabernet sauvignon, 21% cabernet franc, 12% syrah. This is a lot of wine for the money. It is medium bodied with strawberry and raspberry fruit and a bit of pepper at the end. Washington is doing very well with these Bordeaux grapes and this one adds some syrah for spice. Try it with grilled pork loin.
Concannon Petite Sirah 2005 (Central Coast, California), $12.99
This grape was thought to be California’s own, but is actually from the Rhone Valley of France. It was transplanted to California and then lost in France. Thanks to the Concannons for keeping it alive. A dense, lush wine in color and body, it has deep blueberry fruit and cabernet sauvignon lovers can drink it young. Perfect with lamb or a flatiron steak off the grill.
Woodland Hill Winery Autumn Sky 2007 (Delano, Minnesota), $16
Available only at the winery.
Despite its name, this light, crisp white from far-off Delano made me think of summer. (The grapes were developed at the University of Minnesota). This cute renovated farm has jumped into the winemaking business with both feet and is worth a visit. The people are wonderful, the tasting room and grounds are beautiful, and a visit is a nice way to spend a day.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes winetastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at email@example.com.