Alexis Bailly Vineyard lines up stellar cellar tastings for late fall

The harvest is in at Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings, and word is that it was a very good year. Summer's rain + sun + temperature yielded a bumper crop of grapes at Minnesota's oldest winery. To celebrate the harvest and taste the wine, the winemakers have come up with a creative slate of wine-centric fun for November and December.

Mark your calendars for the always popular Alexis Bailly Vineyard events:

November 5 - 6: Annual Fall Open House and Nouveau Harvest Celebration
The headline for this event is the release of the 2011 Le Nouveau, a red table wine. Buy by the case and, in the best French tradition, drink now and enjoy the last bottle on Christmas Eve. Cost: $7.50

Novermber 19: Wine and (Regional Artisanal) Food
The most important thing to pack for the trip to Hastings will be an empty stomach. This event is devoted to showcasing the local artisanal cheeses, chocolates, and other foods pouring out of the kitchens of the Upper Midwest and pairing them with the vineyard's wines.

"This event is going to be a very introspective experience forcing you to think about what you eat and drink together," Bailly says. "So many people think wine and cheese go together, but they don't--a lot of them make the wine taste metallic. We want to provoke people to be able to focus on a food and wine pairing and really understand what they're eating and drinking."

Cheesemakers invited to participate include 2011 American Cheese Society Blue Ribbon winner Marieke Cheeses; Northern Lights Blue; and Pleasant Ridge from Uplands Creamery. A series of chocolate pairings include marcona almonds, pralines, and cocoa bar imported from Barcelona; and hot and bitter chocolates.

A special feature of the day will be local author Brett Laidlaw talking about his book, Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager. Cost: $10.

December 10: End-of-Season Sale
A bottle for dad and a bottle for me, a bottle for grandma and a bottle for me . . . The prices are right at this annual shopping extravaganza, with mark-downs on wine and items from both cellar and gift shop.

December 17: End-of-Season Sale, Part 2
The Splendid Table star Lynne Rosetto Kasper will be signing copies of her new book, How to Eat Weekends while you stock your cellar and fill the stockings. Tip: Ask the always approachable and up-for-a-good-time Lynne for ideas on pairing recipes with Alexis Bailly wines and, bingo, the perfect gift of book and wine.

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Alexis Bailly Vineyard

18200 Kirby Ave.
Hastings, MN 55033


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