Alexandria Lakes

Do you think that wine is only made in California?  Well Skippy, you would be wrong about that.  American’s don’t live by those kinds of rules.  We make wine where we want.  For instance?  Minnesota.  Land ‘o 10,000 lakes.  And this viticultural area is surrounded by several.

Fast facts for the wino set?

  • Located in Douglas County, Minnesota
  • Established July 1, 2005
  • 10,800 Acres
  • There is only one winery in the appellation:  Carlos Creek (visited by your VinoVerve!)
  • Soil Type is Nebish-Beltrami
  • Elevation 1404 feet above sea level
  • Grapes produced:  Brianna, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, King of the North,   Marquette, Petit Pearl, Prairie Star, Sabrevois, Valiant
  • Weirdest nearby attraction:  Kensington Runestone – a 200lb slab of greywacke covered in alleged 14th century runes that is generally considered to be a hoax.  Wine lovers please note that greywacke is generally thought of as a soil base for wines in Germany, New Zealand and South Africa.

Map of the Alexandria Lakes AVA

by: Gretchen Miller Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

It’s All About Wine – Alexander Valley Edition

I admit it has been a while since I have posted here.

But that is because I have been learning. About one of my favorite things. Besides wine.


Naturally, I have made maps about wine too. (It is almost like you can hear one of my teens complaining)

So over the next couple of weeks expect to see maps of the American Viticultural Areas made with ArcMap.

I am starting today with the Alexander Valley. First some quick facts:

  • Settled: 1840 by Cyrus Alexander. Property was part of Henry D. Fitch and Josefa Carrillo Fitch’s Rancho Sotoyome. Alexander was granted two leagues of property as a reward for managing the Rancho for the Fitch Family
  • Established: October 24, 1984
  • Location: Sonoma County, California
  • Size: 32,536 acres; 15,000 acres under vine
  • Wineries: 45 – including Clos du Bois, Francis Ford Coppola, Geyser Peak, Jordan (a friend of the blog!), Kendall-Jackson, Murphy Goode, Silver Oak and many more!
  • Elevation: 128-2573 feet above sea level.
  • Grape Varieties Produced: Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier, Zinfandel

Map of Alexander Valley AVA


by Gretchen Miller Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

What To Drink During a Winter Storm

I saw a Facebook post from Maple River Winery.

They got an inch of snow today and are expection snow, sleet and freezing rain tomorrow.  Along with 50 mph winds.

They are suggesting Rhubarb or Raspberry wines to get them through a nasty North Dakota storm.

What do you drink when you are hunkered down?

(btw, I suggested one bottle per type of precipitation… )


 Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

A Bubbly New Year!

Hi VinoVerver’s! It’s getting to be the end of the year and almost everyone starts thinking about champagne. Luckily, I got to go to a champagne tasting here in Chicago sponsored by the Comité Champagne and located at the beautiful Tree Studios where hundreds of champagnes were poured and I got to taste a bunch! Here are a couple of my favorite:

Beaumont des CrayeuresI tried the champagnes from Beaumont des Crayères.

The first of their sparklers that I tasted was the Grande Réserve.  This wine is 60% Pinot Meunier, 15% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay and spent  2 to 3 years on lees. The champagne has  plum and bready overtones.

The Fleur de Prestige is 50% Chardonnay 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Noir with fresh tropical fruits  and a  creamier finish.

The Grand Nectar is off dry tasting of cookies and jam with tiny bubbles.  It was 60% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir.


Next up where the wines from Canard-Duchêne.  I love a good story about Champagne House and this one has one.  Victor Canard was tonnelier or barrel maker or cooper.  He married Léonie Duchêne a winemaker and founded the house in 1868.  Their house was granted the right by the Russian Imperial family to use their coat of arms on their bottles.  This reminds me that a. Russians love Champagne and b. women were often vital to the industry.  If you question that, just remember the Veuve Clicquot….

Canard-Duchêne RoseCanard-Duchêne Brut Authentic is a blend of 45% with the remaining grapes being Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay and expresses the essence of the house’s style.  The bubbles are small, the taste like brioche if a bit bland.

The Rosé Authentic is subtle and delicate with bright strawberry and raspberry flavors.  This was my favorite of the three

The Cuvée Charles VII is the premiere Blanc de Blanc from the winery.  It tastes of peach and lycee and is creamy.


I wonder what other bubbles I will encounter?!