Earlier this season, I took my yearly pilgrimage back to my hometown in Western Wisconsin to see friends and family. It’s always a welcoming feeling to see the lush, rolling hills, witness the gorgeous limestone bluffs, and of course partake in what Wisconsin is famous for: cheese, beer, brats, and of course the green and gold of the Green Bay Packers. However, this year, I learned that as a wine lover, I could also add wine to that list.
Having traveled around the world trying wines in Mendoza, Argentina, Oporto, Portugal, nearly everywhere in Spain, and most recently the Finger Lakes of New York, I hate to boast, but I have a seasoned nose and well-trained taste buds to be a selective wine enthusiast. So, with views of my hometown, Trempealeau, and its Perrot State Park, I was ready to indulge in the fruits of ELMARO Vineyard, a family owned and run boutique vineyard located between La Crosse, Wisconsin and Winona, Minnesota.
Given the choices of either dry, sweet, or a combination tasting, I steered towards the selection of dry wines. I started with the La Crescent, a crisp white wine with aromas of grapefruit and pear. For those of you that are unfamiliar, the grape itself was developed by the University of Minnesota, only about 2.5 hours away from Trempealeau. For me, it was surprising to be so delighted by the wine, expecting a sugary sweet wine of decades past. As a lover of Sauvignon Blancs and especially citrus and crisp fruit flavors, this was a gem.
I continued with the Marquette Rose. It was a beautifully dry rose with hints of strawberry. Although not in the mood for chocolate yet, I could imagination the pairing to be delectable. In fact, while trying this wine, one of the owners, Lynita, stepped behind the tasting bar to get my feedback. She and I agreed that it was a flawless rose.
With great company, I tasted the Vidal Blanc, which borderlined on too sweet to be classified as a dry wine. The sweetness of apple came through and thus took me back to my childhood, living only a valley away near various orchards. I finished my flight with the Chambourcin, which Lynita tasted with me. With a subtle oak flavor, this wine was a perfect red to pair with a marinara or with one of the cheese plates that ELMARO offers featuring local Wisconsin cheeses, including one of my favorites, sharp cheddar and of course more mild cheeses such as colby.
So, what was my verdict? Can Wisconsin do wines?
Yes, I can attest that ELMARO is making great quality wines worthy of enjoying at their beautiful countryside vineyard as well as taking home with you. The proof is in the pudding. I did. I took a bottle of the La Crescent home.
Have you traveled to Wisconsin? If so, I’m sure you have tried its cheese, but have you tried its wine? Please share your Wisconsin adventure travel stories and/or tips. I’d love to hear from my adventureros near and far. Go Pack!
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Here’s to more good times and good stories.