I'm not one to make a lot of resolutions at the beginning of the year. I definitely couldn't make one every week like my friends at Fifty2 Resolutions.
However, this spring I found myself at the Farmer's Market in Des Moines, Iowa trying to buy everything for a perfect local meal. I had the organic chicken from the county where I grew up. I had asparagus. I had rhubarb. When I found myself thinking I couldn't stoop so low as to buy Iowa wine, I checked myself and decided then and there that this summer I would give wines made in Iowa a chance.
Since that time I've tried the two Iowa wines shown above. I know that trying two bottles isn't really what you'd call giving Iowa wine a chance, but mainly it's because at $12 a bottle (it seems like they've banded together and decided that's the going rate), it is a little more than I'm used to spending. But you know, I paid a little more for that chicken, and I was okay with that because it was supporting someone in my state. It's the same with Iowa wine--the people making this stuff are our friends and neighbors; they need to make a living.
So back to the wines. . .The Jasper Winery Front Porch wine was a lot too sweet for me. Luckily, I had a friend who likes her wine on the sweeter side help me drink it. It was good in small amounts, and fun to drink. Also, I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I thought the red bottle was pretty.
I used the bottle of Francesca's Folly from Covered Bridges Winery to make sangria. It was an easy-drinking Rose' perfect for a summer afternoon, just like they described it in the brochure. However, that's not the whole story behind this wine adventure.
The guy who sold it to me was really nice and said that while they only had white wines right now, they hoped to have a drier red wine ready soon. So I gave the guy a $20 and walked off with my bottle. Two days later I get an email that said, "This is going to be a totally off the wall question, but did you stop by Covered Bridges Winery’s booth at the WDM Farmers Market last night and buy a bottle of wine?" I'd walked away without getting my change, and he tracked me down so he could get my money back to me.
As I was arranging to get my money back, I told him about Glass Half Full and how I'd made a sort of resolution to stop whining about Iowa Wines. He said, "Those of us in the Iowa wine business appreciate spreading the word about wines. There are still a lot of lingering memories of sickly that are made in Iowa. We are working very hard to overcome the quality perception. Hopefully some of what you tasted last night will help that cause."
You know what? What I tasted did help that cause. The other thing that's helped the cause is the fact that all of these Iowa vintners are so darn nice, it can't help but make their wines taste a little sweet. . . uh, I mean, better.
I'll leave you with a recipe Kevin sent me, along with my $8 change, for Sangria, the Covered Bridges Winery way:
- 1 bottle Francesca’s Folly
- 1 can g
- 1 cup p or c
- 4 cups of fresh fruit (frozen will work, too) Pineapple, peaches, oranges, lime, apples, pears, kiwi. Just about anything works except banana.
- Mix all of the above and serve over ice. Alternative – Use 1 bottle Edelweiss wine and increase the amount of juice to get a nice color.