Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Saturday, June 14, 2014

City Girl's Wine Journal- LaCrosse

One of my favorite Iowa grapes is the LaCrosse. It's a semi-sweet grape that's often mixed with a drier white grape to get an off-dry white wine that's fruity and delicious. Fireside's LaCrosse is an excellent representation of that grape. Here is the factoid breakdown: LaCrosse grapes are a hybrid developed in Minnesota in the 70s by Elmer Swensen. They were developed by hybridizing Seyval Blanc and a numbered Minnesota varietal. LaCrosse is grown all across the midwest as it is very cold-hardy and can usually withstand temps to -25 degrees. Our last winter was that brutal, and hopefully the majority of the vines have made it!

Iowa grows about 1/4 of all the La Crosse grapes grown in the US. Unlike many wine grapes, LaCrosse is also suitable for fresh eating. Some wine grapes just are not good for popping in the mouth- too tart, too much tannin, too seedy. A nice bunch of LaCrosse grapes makes a great addition to a cheese plate, especially during a tasting.

This time we're doing something a little bit different with this wine, since I happened to have two bottles- one from 2007 and another from 2012. Now normally you wouldn't age a white wine much more than five years, but apparently this one was overlooked in the cabinet!

2007, left, and 2012, right
Fireside's 2007 LaCrosse is a lighter style white similar to Riesling- especially those not grown in the US or Europe, which tend to be drier. I expected it to be on the dry side but it was actually quite a bit more on the sweet side, but not overpoweringly so. Maybe because of it's age? Big grape flavors, almost jammy, which I usually find in red wines, hints of citrus, green grass, and a slight minerality. If you are unfamiliar with the term "minerality", which you will find in wine descriptions quite often, I'll do my best to describe it. It's an earthy note- not spice, not sweet or dry, not a fruit flavor, but more in the aroma. Think of the fresh smell after a rain- the way the sidewalk smells. Minerality is affected by where and how the vines grow, what's in the soil. If you were to gather up a small bowlful of rocks, get them wet, then smell the fragrance, that is a good way to imagine minerality. This wine also boasts 13% alcohol, which is really pretty substantial.

The 2007 bottle has a deeper amber color and was noticeably sweeter
Then we move on to the 2012 LaCrosse. I was tempted at first to stash it away for a few years and see what happens, but I decided not to. The first thing I noticed was the difference in color. The 2007 had almost an amber hue in comparison.This one is more straw-colored, like a Riesling. It is less sweet than the 2007 vintage, and has some similarities to Riesling, but also to Pinot Gris. The 2012 does not have the same pronounced minerality as the 2007 did, and it has a lot of stone fruit and citrus flavors. It is a very enjoyable wine and would be a perfect pairing with strong cheeses and anything off the grill. I loved this vintage!

LaCrosse is a wine created with food in mind. It's a great wine to serve with roasted or grilled chicken and seafood- it's slight sweetness is a nice counterpoint for spicy barbeque sauce. Serving fish? Perfect. Main dish salads and even pastas with creamy sauces go well with this wine. If you're looking for good cheese to pair with this wine look to cheddars, baby Swiss and Boursin.

Fireside Winery is located in Marengo, Iowa, but they sell through numerous vendors across the state. Check their website for a retailer near you, or plan a trip to the winery! You will love it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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