For those not in the know, Wisconsin is primarily a beer production state. The breweries in in Milwaukee create not so much an industry as they do a lifestyle. That lifestyle leaves bars open into the wee hours, lets you get hard liquor at a gas station or a grocery store and creates loopholes that allow bars to have “after hours” openings so that those who work third shift can still have a happy hour.
So you can imagine my surprise when, upon this visit to Spring Green, I found a push not just for wines, but for local wines. The Wine Spectator sort of sniffs and wrinkles its nose at the collective Midwestern wine industry, but after my experience at the Frank Lloyd Wright center restaurant, I’m advocating a massive rethink of that policy. …for Wisconsin. I’ve tasted at some Minnesota wineries, and there’s a ways to go yet.
Among the wines I drank this trip:
- a Romanian Riesling – OK, not fabulous, but not like I was going to spit it out. Are Romanian Rieslings actually possible?
- Goats do Roam Rose’ – obtained at the local bookstore (really nice hangout.) Awful. Fortunately, I had already had some jack and diet by the time I got to it. We came in at closing time, and because of the wacky cork laws in Wisconsin, we actually had to have the bottle opened before we could leave – we couldn’t just buy it and walk out.
- Pinot Gris – at Arthur’s steakhouse. Pretty good, better than the food, for the most part. They make up for food quality in buffet herding and a large fountain installed since my last visit in 2002. The greens on my side salad were so old they were actually bitter AND brown.
- local Chardonnay, produced in Wisconsin – had a vanilla finish that was startling and quite good. At the Frank Lloyd Wright center restaurant. Best wine I drank the entire trip.
I have another bottle we brought home from a local shop that we have yet to pop. According to the owner of Convivia, it’s nice, especially for white Bordeaux fans like myself.
I am going to start blogging the occasional wine notes. Be warned.