Seven years ago, the founding FEWC members decided to take a trip to the Southern Illinois Wine Trail. (What we do for the sake of research!) Besides having a wonderful time in Macanda, IL, we visited several of the local wineries and were introduced to the mighty Chambourcin grape. Now Illinois is not known for it’s great wine for a reason… they don’t make great wine. It was not even very good… but we bought a few bottles and brought them home anyway, vowing to have a “Chambourcin night” some day.
Now back in the middle of May, Janet and Lenny went on a road trip to Minnesota, driving up through Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. We discovered the “Great River Wine Trail”. We stopped at 3 wineries along the way in Wisconsin. The wines were surprisingly good! So… as any good FEWC members would do, we brought a few bottles home.
On a suggestion from Scott and Amy, the theme for our June 8th FEWC meeting was, “Wines of the Midwest.” We opened two coveted 7 year old Chambourcins and two of the newer wines from Wisconsin.
First was a white from Seven Hawks Vineyards called Prairie Star. A light and refreshing white, served nice and cold. A real “Patio Pounder”. With lemon and stone fruit on the nose, we finished it in no time at all.
Second was Scott’s prized bottle from the Blue Sky Vineyard in Macanda, IL. This was a beautiful light red color with a light to medium body. We had no idea what to expect on the palate but we were all pleasantly surprised. We discovered that Chambourcin aged well! We could not decide what we smelled on the nose but it was pleasant and tasty with a fast finish.
We stuck with Chambourcin for the 3rd bottle, which was from our favorite vineyard that we visited during our stay in Macanda, Orlandini Vineyard. The owner and Vintner at this charming little place served us during our tasting. He was a real character and we liked the wine then, so after 7 years, we were hopeful. We were shocked and delighted by how well this bottle tasted. We will never make fun of Chambourcin again!
Lastly, we had a bottle of 2013 Marquette Reserve from Villa Bellezza in Wisconsin. This wine was stunningly good for a wine from Wisconsin. Very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. Delicious!
With some tasty cheese and crackers, good music and good company, the “Wines of the Midwest” night turned out to be a great idea.