“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” – Galileo Galilei
Nestled in the bluffs of the Mississippi Valley, you’ll find a quiet little piece of land that seems more suited for an Italian countryside. Congratulations, you’ve found Flower Valley Vineyard- a remarkable winery in Red Wing, Minnesota that is producing some of the most intriguing wines this chick has ever had the pleasure of sipping.
In 2005, this family owned farm enjoyed it’s first harvest- a process that took only 45 minutes by hand. The harvest now takes four weeks (still all by hand with the help of community volunteers), with yields close to 40,000 pounds of grapes annually. Flower Valley tends to upwards of at least seven different types of vines- including another mutation of the Frontenac dubbed the Frontenac Blanc (one of four vineyards to have produced this grape, which they generously gifted to the University of Minnesota).
The tasting area opened last September, and if you’re a wine-lover in Minnesota you’ll do yourself a favor and stop in on a Saturday afternoon, or plan ahead and treat yourself and your friends to a private session hosted by the lovely Mary.
2012 Blend (‘Joyce’s Blend’)
A first impression of oak is subtly cut by a fresh, grassy note- almost reminiscent of the scent of sun-warmed wood. The hint of vanilla that touches the tongue with the first sip is short-lived, followed promptly by a refreshing pineapple that rounds into something smooth, yet bright.
Frontenac Gris, 2012
This Riesling style white is a curious delight of succulent fresh strawberry and savory smoke. The exciting strawberry scent would rival that of a fresh picked berry, and the smoky undertones that follow on the finish make this wine the perfect companion for a bit of prosciutto.
A luscious Pinot Noir style red, the Marquette 2011 is tannin-rich and oak soaked to perfection. A cold slate and sharp pepper backbite are polished with black currant and berry and bound together with a sliver of smoke. Mary joked that this is a ‘three sip’ wine. On the first sip, your tongue will say ‘What did you do to me?’, the second sip: ‘I kind of like this…’, and the third: ‘Oh….I really like this’.
She was spot on. I bought two bottles.