Pour It On: The porron offers a splashy, exuberant way to share wine and cocktails with friends

The narrow-spouted glass wine pitcher known as the porron has its origins in Catalonian food traditions, where it cuts a fine figure at spring onion festivals. Increasingly visible worldwide and affordably available online (a classic model costs less than $30), the porron is poised to change the way we drink for the better. If you’ve … [ Read more]

What Do Minnesota Grapes Taste Like?

You’ve probably noticed our local wineries don’t grow chardonnay and cabernet grapes like their California cousins. Our wicked continental climate is only suitable for wine grapes engineered to withstand the biting cold. But in the absence of those recognizable grapes, how do you know what flavors to expect from our wines?  Here are the four … [ Read more]

Bubbles That Won’t Break the Bank: A Buyer’s Guide

In my wine-buying experience, there’s no single purchase that can be more variable and unpredictable than a mid-priced bottle of sparkling. At around $10–20, you can get nuanced, estate-driven, interesting bubbles just as easily as industrial, one-note, sickly plonk. And if you’re a newbie to the cage-cork aisle, it can be maddening to tell the … [ Read more]

Back From The Brink: Three near-extinct wine grapes that have received a mighty second wind

T he sheer number of wine grapes in the world is staggering. But while the varieties of Vitis vinifera number well into the thousands, the forces and trends driving the wine market have pushed many grapes to the edge of extinction.  It takes a great deal of commitment and dedication to produce a wine that … [ Read more]

Let It Breathe: When to decant a bottle of wine

To decant or not to decant, that is the question. Hold up—what is decanting anyway? In the simplest terms, it’s the act of pouring a liquid (wine) from a vessel (bottle) into another vessel (usually a glass carafe). Sounds easy enough. But should you do it? And why? Some people think decanting is completely unnecessary … [ Read more]

12 Women Winemakers to Toast this International Women’s Day

At the turn of the century, an article touting fabulous wines made by women would have been depressingly short. Not because great wines weren’t being made by women but because there were so few women winemakers. Today, as women are helming the tanks at more and more wineries, it takes a lot of paring down … [ Read more]

Wine Time: The Chain of Custody from Vineyard to Glass

Welcome to our new monthly wine column: Wine Time. This monthly journal will be filled with practical knowledge about the world of wine. This month, Brie Roland explains all the hands your bottle passes through from vineyard to shelf.  I t’s almost too easy to buy a good bottle of wine in the Twin Cities. … [ Read more]

Wine can be honest and authentic without being “natural”

Most grocery stores, chain liquor stores, and national restaurants sell wines made by the millions of cases—wines made with a recipe, a process more akin to making soda than wine. In contrast, “natural” winemakers have staked their claim as the antithesis to corporate plonk. While “natural wine” is a loose stylistic description, it is generally … [ Read more]

Taking Wine Tasting Menus to Task

F or many who love to dine, the marriage of good food and wine is undeniable. A thoughtful wine pairing can elevate an already delicious dish to previously unknown heights. In fact, it was the experience of this very thing that inspired me to pursue a career in wine; a carefully chosen glass of Muscadet … [ Read more]

The Great Debate: Is The 51 Percent Rule Good For Minnesota Wineries And Cideries?

In Minnesota, cideries and wineries with a farm winery license are required by state law to use enough Minnesota-grown fruit to constitute at least 51 percent of their product. The same goes for cideries and wineries with a wine manufacturer license if they want to sell their product on-site, say, at a taproom. Our question: … [ Read more]

C’est le Vin: Europe’s vintners are buying fruit, lighting fires, and saving good vintages as climate change alters the future of fine wine

The world of wine is always changing. Consider in Champagne, France (circa 1668), when a monk by the name of Dom Pierre Pérignon fought desperately to keep the bubbles out of the insipid red wine he was making for mass. It wouldn’t be until much later that the region would become known for its beloved … [ Read more]

Seven Sparkling Wines to Ring in the New Year

New Year’s Eve. It’s a time for reflection and reminiscing, celebrating and cheer. The drink that pairs perfectly with all of these things: sparkling wine. We’ve combed our archives from the past year to bring you our top bubblies to help you ring in 2019. They’re fresh, they’re fun, and they’re full of personality—just like … [ Read more]

Make Merry with These 9 Winter Wines

Cool Canadian winds have whisked in the holiday season, and with this churn comes a shift in wines to the more savory and layered. Many choose to jump directly into the depths-of-winter wines, like cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel. Instead, try something more transitional this month—something that honors the elements, pairs with a variety of foods, and piques … [ Read more]

Year in Review: Minnesota Wine & Spirits in 2018

A martini at Nye’s Bar is a fine drink to reflect on the year 2018 in local spirits. In January, this bar, Nye’s in name only, opened in the dust of the demolished Polonaise Room, a place whose divey charm earned it the Best Bar in America designation from Esquire in 2006—a lifetime ago, from the … [ Read more]

Thanksgiving Wine: Don’t worry, keep it simple

As we dive headlong into this holiday season, I find myself reflecting on celebratory meals of the past where the chronic overachiever in me could be found pouring over anxiety-inducing articles suggesting that I spatchcock or sous vide my turkey, or plan a multi-course dinner complete with the “perfect” wine pairings (you really want me … [ Read more]