Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Minnesota wine? Minnesota wine!

You've heard for years about the gimmicky little vineyard down in Hastings that bottles funny little Minnesota vintages. "Our grapes can suffer," says the label on every bottle of Alexis Bailly wines, ha ha ha.

So, being a wine drinker who enjoys a good glass of Spanish Rioja or perhaps a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, you might be forgiven for dismissing Alexis Bailly out of hand. We don't grow olives or oranges in Minnesota, why the hell try to grow grapes?

You, my friend, would be missing out on some delightful and innovative wines. Last weekend and next, the vineyard is hosting an open house: For $7.50, you get to taste all nine wines-- from the juicy table white to the subtle and rarified ice wine; from a buxom country red to the elite Voyageur. Our favorite turned out to be the Seyval Blanc, a citrusy and dry white with grassy undertones that compares favorably to some of the best Sauvignon Blancs from California and Down Under. After you've tasted all the offerings, you can go down to the casking room and buy a bottle of your faves.

What a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon: Bring a picnic, buy a bottle of wine, and hang out in the vineyard with its sculpture garden, natural prairie, and its bocce ball courses that are bedded with real sea shells.

Alexis Bailly Vineyard, http://www.abvwines.com/