My mouth is watering just thinking about it: my new Iowa favorite is a bottle of red wine from northwest Iowa. This last summer I took a trip with my family to Okoboji. But on the way there we hit several sites and quenched our thirst at Little Swan Lake Winery in Estherville. For me, that stop was the highlight of the whole trip. It was the first time I opened my mind and changed my attitude about Iowa wine.
The wine is a Cabernet Franc and the winery describes it as having, “Light vanilla flavor with big oak finish. A delight with or without cuisine.” It’s the kind of red that makes your mouth water just smelling it. Then, when you sip it, you feel that little twinge near your glands in the back of the mouth. After just a few samples, I snatched up a bottle. Ever since I’ve been plotting to find more Iowa wines to please my picky, big-and-bold-flavor-loving palate.
I ordered an Iowa Wine and Beer Directory, and here’s what I’ve found so far with descriptions from the winery:
- Cabernet Franc from Little Swan Lake Winery in Estherville: Light vanilla flavor with big oak finish. A delight with or without cuisine. $24.00
- Norton from Jasper Winery in Des Moines: Norton has gained a reputation for making remarkably bold and full-bodied dry reds. Our Norton exhibits dark fruit aromas of currant and blackberry with slight hints of cinnamon and mint. $20
- Maechal Foch from Snus Hill Winery in Madrid: Earthy dry red wine with aromas of anise and mocha over dark berry fruits. An acid driven wine, making it naturally food-friendly. Pair with lamb, steak and some spicy foods.
- Felony Red from Wide River Winery Le Claire and Clinton: A dry red wine that is perfect with steak, cheese or Beethoven’s 5th! $15
It’s not long, but there’s plenty of opportunity to lengthen the list this weekend and throughout the rest of the month of November with so many beer and wine events. I’m looking forward to Dubuque’s Food and Wine on the River. They’ll have wine and liquor to sample, along with great food. In fact, the actor known for his role as the “Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld is going to judge a soup contest. How fun!
Lots of wineries are releasing new wines this time of year, so help me fill out my list! Which wines I should try next? Red or white, tell me your favorite Iowa wines!