5 Great Bottles: Straight from Stillwater
We may be a world away from the vineyards of New Zealand, Italy, or Napa Valley, but that doesn't mean that a great glass of juice is only available with the purchase of a plane ticket. A classy afternoon of strolling through grape trellises and sipping on hand-crafted wines is, in fact, within a short drive at Saint Croix Vineyard, in Stillwater.
The establishment, which shares its property with Aamondt's Apple Orchard, makes for a great day trip. The hour-long tour through the wine-making process is best followed by the $5 wine-tasting, which buys the drinker generous samples of about 10 different wine varieties.
Amy Abt, a wine educator at the vineyard, passed on the names of five of her favorite St. Croix wines, which are available at the vineyard as well as in various retail outlets throughout the Twin Cities metro area.
5. La Crescent is an award-winning white wine with a great, aromatic bouquet, followed by rich tangerine and apricot tastes on the palate. The new variety, which was developed by the University of Minnesota, pairs well with smoked salmon, turkey, and ham.
4. Seyval has won several awards in prestigious international wine competitions. It's a light bodied white, with an off-dry feel in the mouth. The aroma is full of honey and fresh fruits. The light, crisp wine pairs well with meals featuring fish and chicken.
3. Frontenac Gris is another variety created by the University of Minnesota. The white grape yields a delicate aroma and tastes of peach and pear.
2. Frontenac - This is a red that is not to be missed! The Frontenac grape is as Minnesotan as casseroles and Vikings games; it is one of the most memorable wines to originate from the University of Minnesota's vitaculture program. The wine's body is earthy, with unmistakable notes of cherry, and impressive tannins to finish. This wine can hold its own against hearty pastas and red meats.
1. Raspberry Infusion - This dessert wine truly captures the essence of a fresh-picked raspberry. This wine should be sipped slowly, and preferably beside a piece of quality dark chocolate or drizzled over ice cream. Amy recommends a wine glass rimmed in melted dark chocolate, if you're looking to really impress your dinner companions.
Most bottles range from $10-25 and the winery offers discounts for on-site purchases. Several events take place throughout the upcoming weeks, so make sure to check out Saint Croix Vineyard's website.
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