Top 8 Minnesota wines named by tourism site

Top 8 Minnesota wines named by tourism site

Hey, one of them's even called Hot Dish! Minnesota tourism site Explore Minnesota has compiled a list of eight local award-winning wines as its top Minnesota wines for 2009. According to Explore Minnesota's Chuck Lennon Minnesota currently has more than 20 wineries (plus at least five "on the drawing board") in addition to more than 600 vineyards statewide.

The wine that shares our name, Hot Dish Red, is from Alexandria's Carlos Creek Winery, and has won several awards in the last few years. It's also reasonably priced at $18/bottle. Here's how the winery describes it:

Our best-selling and most award-winning wine is also our sweetest red. The bold taste of Valiant comes through with hints of zesty blackberry that perfectly balance the sweetness. Perfect with Tator Tot Hot Dish, it also drinks well with leftovers!

Here's a breakdown of the others:

Slippery Slope Ice Wine Winehaven Winery and Vineyard, Chisago City, MN Award: Winner of the 2009 Cold Climate International Wine Competition Description: Ice Wine is a Minnesota classic that is made from grapes that are allowed to freeze on the vines and then picked in December. The wine is packaged in an unusual bottle.

Frontenac Gris Fieldstone Vineyards, Morgan, MN Award: Silver medal at 2008 Indy International Wine Competition and Bronze at the 2007 Mid America Wine Competition. Description: A semi-sweet white with hints of peach and apricot on the finish.

St. Croix Reserve Northern Vineyards, Stillwater, MN Award: Gold medal from the Taster's Guild International Wine Competition Description: A full-bodied red made from "press run" juice.

Voyageur 2008 Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Hastings, MN Award: The first vintage of Voyageur was awarded 'Best Wine made in America' at the Atlanta International Wine Competition Description: Deeply colored with a rich flavor, bold and opulent fruit flavors of blackberries, and smoky vanilla aromas from extensive aging in oak barrels.

LaCrescent Crofut Family Winery & Vineyard, Jordan, MN Award: Silvers at the International Eastern Wine Competition and the International Cold Climate Wine Competition Description: A full-bodied rich and classy off-dry white; fresh on your palate with the taste of white apricots and peaches.

Little Iza Millner Heritage Vineyard, Kimball, MN Award: Gold medal International Cold Climate Wine Competition Description: Produced from St. Pepin and Lacrosse, moderately similar to steely Reislings from northern Germany, with faint hints of honey, and finished with a touch of sweetness.

Bootlegger's Red Port Wine Cannon River Winery, Cannon Falls, MN Award: 2009 Lodi International Wine Awards and 2008 International Eastern Description: Decadent and robust in flavor, a full-bodied wine combining the lush flavors or red berry jams, nuts, chocolate, vanilla and licorice. Packaged in a unique, award-winning 500ml bootlegger's jug.

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