Tasting the approach by Minnesota booze country: 11 wineries to try – TwinCities.com

July 28, 2015 - garden totes

Summer is a ideal time to suffer a expostulate to a vineyard, that is what we did, tasting a approach by several wineries in a area. Here are a highlights.

ALEXIS BAILLY VINEYARD (18200 Kirby Ave. S., Hastings; 651-437-1413; abvwines.Grapes grow on scarcely 12 acres during Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings. (Pioneer Press: Holly Peterson)com): With a vineyard planted in 1973 and a tasting room that debuted in 1978, this second-generation winery claims to be a initial blurb winery to furnish Minnesota-grown grapes. Nan Bailly has a same grapevines her father creatively planted on a 13-acre Hastings farm. In further to Minnesota grapes, French accumulation and California grapes are stars of a wines here. This is really a end for those who like to have a vast preference of middle to dry wines.

Our pick: Marechal Foch, a dry middle red that tasted well-spoken from start to finish. Named after a initial grape planted by David Bailly, a Foch grape continues to be a primary grape grown during Alexis Bailly.

Good to know: Wine connoisseurs, cruise lovers and those looking for a place to play will find this right for them. Create your possess cruise basket with booze and internal workman cheeses accessible during a winery. Or receptacle your possess dishes from home. Either way, there’s copiousness of room for vast groups, with seating on a expanded grass and an trustworthy patio. While there, check out a sculpture garden or a bocce round area. Live jazz is featured Sunday afternoons in Jul and August.

CANNON RIVER WINERY (421 Mill St. W., Cannon Falls; 507-263-7400; cannonriverwinery.com): If we cite discord to scenery, this downtown Cannon Falls symbol competence be usually a ticket. A vast bar area and eventuality space attracts crowds, including locals. There’s also a emporium offering booze and portion accessories. Grapes come from circuitously Cannon River Winery’s 20-acre vineyard.

Our pick: A tie between a Classic White, a chardonnay, and a Minnesota LaCrescent grape blend, that was reduction honeyed than other whites we attempted during a tasting. The note of orange liking combined a lovely flavor. The Sparkle Edelweiss Minnesota, a stimulating wine, also had a well-spoken finish and a spirit of pear.

Mike and Mayra Olson of Apple Valley ambience booze during Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings on Friday, Jul 17, 2015. (Pioneer Press: Holly Peterson)

Good to know: Every fall, starting in September, a open is invited on weekends to assistance collect grapes.

CHATEAU ST. CROIX WINERY VINEYARD (1998 Highway 87, St. Croix Falls, Wis; 715-483-2556; chateaustcroix.com): A revisit on these desirable drift desirous by a French castle will make we consider you’re walking in a French countryside. The 55-acre estate in a St. Croix River Valley includes vineyards, a carriage house, stables and gardens. Wine varieties prominence internal hybrids. Cheese and chocolate are among a offerings for noshing.

Our pick: Buckhunter Red done with a internal Marquette grape. Notes of blackberry and a hazed finish are partial of a layers that make this full-bodied Cabernet Franc-blend formidable and tasty.

Good to know: People wanting to applaud a collect — and peaceful to get disorderly — can join a Grape Stomp Festival hold in September.

FALCONER VINEYARDS (3572 Old Tyler Road, Red Wing; 651-388-8849; falconervineyards.com): Scenic bluffs and circuitous roads emanate a pleasing 50-minute expostulate from a Twin Cities to Red Wing. The quaint, 6.5-acre skill offers views of a vineyard and a valley, and sometimes, a sound of a woodpecker. Inside, swell adult to a L-shaped bar or lay during one of a wine-barrel tables. An adjoining room with prolongation apparatus and barrels shows where a sorcery of booze creation happens. A tasting consisted mostly of honeyed wines.

Laura Toombs pours booze for a patron during Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings on Friday, Jul 17, 2015. (Pioneer Press: Holly Peterson)

Our pick: Frontenac rose, a semi-sweet voted 2012 Best Minnesota white by a Minnesota Grape Growers Association.

Good to know: Wood-fired pizzas are on a menu. The symbol also houses a tiny sell area with such equipment as Ellsworth cheese curds.

MAIDEN ROCK WINERY CIDERY (W12266 King Lane, Stockholm, Wis.; 715-448-3502; maidenrockwinery cidery.com): Premium tough ciders are a specialty here. Some apple and grape wines are also accessible during this hilltop symbol travelling 80 acres, including vineyards and apple orchards.

Our pick: Dolgo Crabapple. Not many places make wines regulating crab apples, so this sweet, spicy booze is a treat.

Good to know: In further to a namesake label, Maiden Rock also sells booze from other Wisconsin wineries as good as internal foods, wine-making reserve and present items.

NORTHERN VINEYARDS WINERY (223 Main St. N., Stillwater; 651-430-1032; northernvineyards.com): Located in downtown Stillwater, this two-story winery hosts booze tastings and events year-round. Check out a barrel-stacked booze attic and a rug unaware a St. Croix River. The 30 wines offering are done essentially from locally grown grapes ecstatic to a winery.

Our pick: Main Street Red, a semi-sweet, unoaked accumulation done from Minnesota and Wisconsin grapes with records of black cherry and raspberry.

Good to know: The winery is in a heart of downtown Stillwater, so lots of dining and selling opportunities are available.

SOVEREIGN ESTATE (9950 North Shore Road, Waconia; 952-446-9957; sovereignestatewine.com): This west metro winery and eventuality space is a place to spend a resting afternoon. Nab a chair on a new piazza or settle onto a cruise dais on a lawn. Taste wines from a Sovereign Estate tag or select from a preference of locally brewed beers. Nosh on appetizers, such as a cheese and salami boards, or sequence pizza.

Our pick: Blue Loon, a dry white booze with pointed hints of floral and citrus aromas, is lovely on a prohibited summer day.

Good to know: When it’s time to play, we can wander a beautifully landscaped garden, take in views of Lake Waconia or play on a round margin accessible for guests. Or start a diversion of fetch with a proprietor dog, Duke, a white German shepherd-yellow Lab mix.

ST. CROIX VINEYARDS (6428 Manning Ave., Stillwater; 651-430-3310; scvwines.com): The vast campus common with Aamodt’s Apple Orchard creates this one of a many family-friendly wineries around. In further to a country stable that houses a winery, shop, bar and patio, a sprawling drift embody vineyards, apple trees and a fenced area housing goats.

Our pick: The Frontenac Gris, a full-bodied white with pink and pear notes.

Good to know: The initial weekend after Labor Day, a Grape Stomp Festival includes giveaway tours of a grounds, a grape-stomping foe and live music. German booze lovers will wish to symbol Oktoberfest on their calendars, when German wine-making traditions are inspected here.

VILLA BELLEZZA (1420 Third St., Pepin, Wis.; 715-442-2424; villabellezza.com): The hourlong expostulate to this symbol in a Upper Mississippi River Valley offers pleasing steep and stream vistas. At a winery, a relaxing Italian villa-style estate transports we to another world. The endless menu includes about 3 dozen wines, from a dry Cotes du Pepin to honeyed ice wine. We desired that guest could select a wines when grouping a booze flight, instead of being served a fixed tasting list.

Our pick: Rose lovers won’t wish to skip Villa Bellezza’s SOLE 2011 Rose Wine, a smooth, dry, frail brew with hints of citrus. The booze is a bronze medalist in a U.S. National Wine Competition.

Good to know: Antipasti and paninis are on a menu. The flattering drift embody vineyards, a piazza with a fountain and eventuality space.

WILD MOUNTAIN WINERY (16906 Wild Mountain Road, Taylors Falls; 651-583-3585; wildmountainwinery.com): The some-more than a dozen wines offering are a loyal ambience of a region. Wild Mountain Winery specializes in vines from a University of Minnesota and Upper Midwest grape grower/breeder Elmer Swenson, such as a LaCrosse and St. Croix.

Our pick: Frontenac rose recently perceived a china in a Rose Competition, a foe of North American roses.

Good to know: The winery is partial of a Upper St. Croix — a handful of wineries within 35 miles of any other — so it competence be inestimable to check out a few some-more while in a area.

WINEHAVEN WINERY (10020 Deer Garden Lane, Chisago City; 651-257-1017; winehaven.com): Things have come a prolonged approach given WineHaven started in 1992 with a recover of sugar wines. Today, WineHaven houses a winery 40 mins north of a Twin Cities and has branched out into grape wines, trimming from rieslings to merlots with an importance on small-barrel batches. Fruit and reward dessert wines are also partial of a lineup.

Our pick: The Nokomis grape wine, done from a WineHaven law grape, is deep, layered, complex, well-spoken and unique. A ideal booze to take to a cooking party.

Good to know: In further to a introduction of new wines, a winery and eventuality core built dual years ago have kept things fresh.


Consider a booze flight. In further to particular pours, many wineries offer booze flights so we can representation a few varieties before committing to a full-size potion or bottle. Of a wineries we visited, tastings costs ranged from $3 to $15, depending on a series of wines sampled and distance of a pour.

Follow a 3 S’s rule. Swirl, symbol and sip. After a booze is poured, whirl a potion to let a booze breathe. Sniff a booze to take in aromas, such as hints of citrus or oak. Then take a sip.

Don’t feel thankful to finish a glass. Often, a sip can be usually enough. In some instances, wineries keep a jug during a opposite for transfer out any booze we do not wish to finish. Sometimes, there is also a pitcher of H2O so we can swish out your potion or to take a H2O break.

Check amenities before streamer to a winery. Some wineries offer small some-more than a possibility to ambience and buy their wines. Others offer additional things, such as menus that can operation from cheese play to stone-baked pizzas. Some places even inspire we to container a cruise and suffer a flattering grounds. Or play while there. We visited places with petting farms, bocce round areas, sculpture gardens, botanical gardens and even a round field.

Before we go, investigate that wineries fit your palate. Do we cite sweet, semi-sweet or dry wines? Pick a winery accordingly. For example, we found Alexis Bailly in Hastings leaned some-more toward middle to dry wines while a tasting during Falconer Vineyards in Red Wing featured some-more honeyed wines.

Consider a booze tour. Sometimes, finished tours are good deals. Some offer travel around buses or limos, while others are self-guided tours. For example, on a Three Rivers Wine Trail debate we tried, tastings were offering during 5 wineries and enclosed pairings of appetizers or dessert. Participants were means to revisit any winery during their possess gait over dual weekend days. Cost: $25. (For $10, designated drivers could attend in a food-only part.) Some wineries had tasting areas set adult for usually tour-goers, saving them time since they avoided a prolonged lines of weekend visitors.

Nancy Ngo can be reached during 651-228-5172. Follow her on Twitter @nancyngotc.

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