Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our Visit to the Midwestern Chateau

A few weekends ago Paul and I cashed in our Groupon for a tour and wine tasting at Chateau St. Croix Winery and Vineyard. It was a great weekend for a drive up north. We caught the beginning of the leaf peeping season so the scenery was pretty and the roads weren't too crowded.

The winery is located about an hour or so north of the cities, just over the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. The property is used for multiple purposes, including weddings, special events and polo matches. When we arrived, a polo match was just concluding and the wedding party was cleaning up the morning-after mess from their Saturday ceremony. The winery owners have designed their space to be "reminiscent" of European vineyards. It was an odd combo of city and suburban Groupon people and locals in a faux European setting. I wasn't too interested in the part of the tour where our guide explained in great detail why they chose the flooring they did, where they bought their chairs from and how the faux support beams were supposed to make you feel like you were in a German lodge.

The part of the tour that I did find interesting was the winemaking information. Our tour went into the wine production area and the wine cellar. They seem to be able to make a pretty large quantity of wine in a very small production space.

Despite having a small grape orchard, this vineyard is not growing any usable grapes at present time. They make their wine with grapes and juice that they buy from other vineyards. There were a few tubs of grapes being stored in the wine cellar. We also learned a bit about the use of the barrels in winemaking. Those barrels are really expensive! I now know why the resale market prices for oak rain barrels are so expensive. Some of the oak barrels in the cellar cost $1000 each and are custom-made and shipped from France.

After the tour, we were each given 5 wooden tokens to turn in for tasting pours of their wine. Between the two of us, we were able to taste nearly all of the wines they were offering. Unfortunately, we only liked one of them. We agreed that the Syrah was their best. Although, the Groupon meant we went home with 2 bottles of Thoroughbred Red.

Despite not loving the wine and half of the tour, we enjoyed ourselves. It was a gorgeous fall day and we were free to stroll around the property after the tour. As much as I like to buy local goods, it seems hard to find local wine that compares to Malbec from Argentina.

1 comment:

  1. looks fun! but you're right--when lee and i were on vacation in VA, we did some wine tasting (at like 6-8 vineyards!). though we liked a couple of the wines, most of it was not good and certainly not as good as a malbec from argentina :)


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