“Red red wine…If you would…”

By now, anyone who reads this knows that I’ve been working on coordinating my part of the United Slurps of America, with Sacha & Jason (She & He). The party I had was primarily to have people over to share some of the wine, as well as an excuse for me to cook/entertain. I feel sometimes like I don’t do enough of that–It’s funny, but I read a lot of blogs where people are always having other people over for potlucks, and so on, and Jay & I are such hermits, we almost never go anywhere or have people over.

The wine. I started this off by emailing the folks at Schadé Vineyard. I thought of them first, since they’re over in Volga, which is a 5-minute drive from Brookings (well, in good weather, and with the way I drive, anyway). I waited, and waited, and never heard back from them. After a couple weeks, I sent an email to Valiant Vineyards, down in Vermillion. I got an auto-reply that someone would be responding to my email shortly. I’m still waiting for that response. I then contacted a ranting post, not expecting them to reply either). Within 2 days, I received an email from the very nice Michele, as well an email from Karen, AND 2 phone calls regarding their willingness to not only ship me 4 bottles of wine to try, but they would send the same to Sacha. South Dakota has goofy-assed laws about alcohol shipments, meaning while Prairie Berry had no trouble sending wine to California, they couldn’t ship it to me, an 8-hour drive across the same state. So they worked with the local liquor store, and had a box sent to me, care of Brookings Municipal Liquor Store. I had decided that if/when I ever received any wine, I would have some folks from work over, as a lot of my coworkers have been really helpful with me getting my food blog going. Any time I’ve gotten anything free (which, I’ll be honest, hasn’t been a whole lot, but I am still relatively new to food blogging, even though I’ve had a blog in some form or another basically since college), I’ve tried to share as much as I can, as thanks. Hence the party.

I should also preface this by saying I know virtually NOTHING about the proper way of tasting wine. Hal asked me if I was planning on having spit buckets placed around my living room, but I told him that even though the booze was free, we were NOT wasting it, so no spitting (and he didn’t end up coming over anyway, so it didn’t matter). Because she was the first guest to arrive, I gave Melissa the option of choosing which wine to try first. She chose the Lawrence Elk.


I should also point out that I am a huge cornball, so the name of the wine and the label cracked me up. It’s a black currant wine, and fairly sweet. It looked, smelled and tasted basically like cranberry juice to myself, Melissa, and Jay (I forgot to get Jen’s thoughts on it, and Jessica wasn’t drinking because she’s expecting). I did think something about it smelled like the produce section of the grocery store–Very green; Jay described it as leafy-smelling. It went down easy, and was very berry-centric. Overall, we liked it.

Next we tried the Red Ass Rhubarb.


This seems like more of a novelty wine than anything else…Kind of like the Klingon Blood Wine that’s permanently holding a spot on my wine rack because I refuse to open it, now that the Star Trek Experience is gone, and even if I could find it somewhere, I’d have virtually no way of getting it to me. Or one of those wines that people who grow up in South Dakota then move away buy whenever they return home for a visit. According to the label, it’s 90% rhubarb & 10% raspberry. I should also qualify this by saying that I’m a weirdo who has never had rhubarb before in my life. No strawberry-rhubarb pie, no rhubarb cake, nada. So I might not have the best frame of reference here. After I first sniffed it, I commented that it smelled like a Bath & Body Works lotion–Very fruity and floral. My first sip was slightly medicinal and coconutty. After that, sadly, it was downhill. Jay thought it looked like Kool-Aid, and thought it tasted like an instant wine (if such a thing existed). Melissa did not like it at all, and the more I drank, the less I liked it. Out of the 3 wines we tasted that night, this was the least popular.

Finally (Saturday night, that is), we opened the Frontenac Gris, the lone white wine of the bunch.


This, I liked. A lot. I don’t usually care for white wines, as I find a lot of them too sweet (but that could just be that I’ve never had a good white wine). It was rather rosy-gold colored, kind of like Black Hills Gold (and we all wondered if that was done on purpose, since that’s where Prairie Berry is located). Jay and Melissa both also agreed that the color was a little off-putting, and both thought it looked more like a cognac or brandy (my thought was scotch). This actually smelled like wine–Crisp, and clean. I thought the taste was fruity, but slightly acidic. I don’t remember much of an aftertaste.

After that, Melissa, Jessica & I started talking about this, that & the other thing, and before we knew it, it was 11:30, so they left, and Jay & I went to bed. Sunday evening, I opened the Phat Hogg Red on my own.

It was a deep garnet/ruby color, and it smelled like a red wine (I know, could I be more generic?). It was nice and dry, which is how I like my red wines. It was very smooth going down, buttery with nice acidity, and a slightly berry-flavored finish. Of all 4 wines, this was my favorite, and I’m rather glad I have an almost full-bottle still!

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