Earlier this year I noticed that I’d somehow acquired wines from Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin. I had this idea to have a local wine party, so I saved these bottles and added wines from from Illinois and Michigan. I’ve been trying to figure out how to schedule this party all summer, but it just got away on me. Finally, I figured out a day that several friends could get together and we did it. I got some cheese and snacks and we made a whole night of it.
For fun I also made up some wine tasting note sheets for each wine and had people fill in how the wine looked, smelled, tasted, and then an area to rate each wine.
Here’s what we thought of each of the wines:
Winery: Good Harbor Vineyards, Leeanau Peninsula, MI
Wine Name: Trillium Semi Dry White Table Wine
Variety: Reisling, Vignoles, Seyval Blanc
Story: I got this wine at Whole Foods to round out my collection of midwestern wines
Look: Pale; Smell: Fruity, Flowery; Taste: Fruity, Flowery, Light, Crisp, Floral;
Overall Rating: Most people seemed to like this wine, rating it between a 6-8 on a scale of 1-10. A solid white wine.
Winery: Oliver Winery, Bloomington, IN
Wine Name: Soft Red Wine
Story: Our upstairs neighbors who are from Indiana gave us this bottle a few years ago when their dogs jumped on Dallas. Dallas didn’t really care, their dogs are harmless little dachshunds. It was a nice gesture, though.
Look: Ruby, Rose; Smell: Fruity; Taste: Sweet, Grapey
Overall Rating: Just about everyone thought this wine was too sweet to drink. The overall rating was between 1-3 on a scale of 1-10. One noted “tastes like grape juice.” Several people poured this out and didn’t finish their serving.
Winery: Door Peninsula Winery, Sturgeon Bay, WI
Wine Name: Peninsula Red
Variety: Cherries, Grapes
Story: My cousin Kelly, who lives in Wisconsin, gave me this bottle of wine last year on my bachelorette weekend.
Look: Garnet, Ruby; Smell: Fruity, Spicy, Woodsy, Cherry; Taste: Spice, Complex, Sweet, Dry
Overall Rating: Everyone seemed to like this wine and were surprised that they liked it. I think everyone was suspicious that it was a cherry wine mixed with a grape wine. They thought it would be too sweet, but it was not. The overall rating was between 5-9 on a scale of 1-10.
Winery: Prairie State Winery, Genoa, IL
Wine Name: Recession Noir
Variety: Red Blend
Story: I had time to kill when the Jeep broke down between Chicago and Milwaukee over the summer. Luckily a Whole Foods was nearby. I bought this Illinois wine there.
Look: Garnet, Ruby, Rose; Smell: Fruity, Barnyard, Woodsy; Taste: Sweet, Light, Spice, Crisp, Dry
Overall Rating: This wine was universally disliked. Most did not finish their glass. The overall rating was between 1-4 on a scale of 1-10.
Winery: Wide River Winery, Clinton, IA
Wine Name: Dry Red Wine
Variety: Red Blend
Story: This guy Matt sat in the desk next to mine for a while. A family member or friend of his was involved with this winery in Iowa. His stint at my company was brief, but long enough for him to gift this bottle of wine to me!
Look: Garnet, Ruby; Smell: Woodsy, Spicy, Barnyard, Baby Diaper, Pigpen, Chocolate, Poo; Taste: Wood, Spice, Complex, Sweet, Velvety, Smoke, Heavy, World of Warcraft
Overall Rating: The things people were tasting and smelling in this wine varied greatly, but most people seemed to like it. Ratings came in between 6-8 on a scale of 1-10, with one lowball of a 4 rating.
Winery: Something in Holland?
Wine Name: Choco Vine Espresso
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Dutch Chocolate
Story: This is not local, but I kept seeing it in the store and got really interested in trying it, so this was a surprise tasting.
Look: Brown, How Now Brown Cow, Milky, Chocolate Milk; Smell: Chocolate, Coffee, White Russian; Taste: Sweet, Heavy, Velvety, Complex, Ovaltine,
Overall Rating: People really liked the Choco Vine. It must be served over ice or it’s too thick. Ratings came in between 8-9 on a scale of 1-10. One person wrote in 100!
After tasting the midwestern wines and the Choco Vine, I still had about 12 bottles of wine left in my case so we busted out a few of them. I had some generic wine tasting note sheets and as you can see, people were getting very… creative… filling them out:
The damage the next morning:
Only 8 bottles. I thought it would be worse, actually. Thanks to Emily, Jen, Jess, Jill, Kate, Loden, Sara and Stacy for coming over and drinking wine with me! I’m already thinking about how we can try to make this happen again!