4 Daughters

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Happy Wine Wednesday!

Wait, what?!

I haven’t done a Wine Wednesday post in ages; but I thought I’d throw one in there since I visited a new winery this summer!

When it comes to Minnesota wine, I’m not usually a fan. One of the exceptions is wine from this winery. However, when my fellow Wineaux friend Stacy suggested we dine at a nearby winery the next time I visited, I was all in.

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Four Daughters Vineyard is located in Spring Valley, Minnesota, just about a half hour outside of Rochester. As you near the winery, you kind of feel like you are suddenly in the middle of nowhere. But that’s the point. You are at a vineyard.

Upon arrival we noticed they were setting up for a wedding, right amidst the vines, which were as far as the eye could see…

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We entered the building to find a nicely set up  wine bar. You can’t see the tables to the left, but this place was roomy!

IMG_3645It was a beautiful day, a little humid; but we decided to chance it and dine outside. I am so glad we did! We were seated at a table underneath the awning. There were other picnic tables right out in the open sun, which are ideal for socializing.

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A slight breeze counteracted the humidity perfectly, creating a splendid ambiance for such a setting. I was relaxed. Content. Sure, that pole above didn’t make for good photos, but it did not ruin my 180-degree view one bit.

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We were there to taste wine and to eat! But we had to start with the tasting…

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The Wine

They offered a flight of white wines and a flight of red wines. We elected to do both and split them.

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The red flight didn’t include all reds. It truly was a mixed flight – two reds, two whites and a rosé. The whites in the red flight overlapped with a couple of them in the white flight, too.

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I loved that the descriptions were lined up with each of the wines.

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Another thing I loved was that we were not meant to taste out of these tasting glasses. It was encouraged to dump the sample into a real wine glass, swirl and taste from that glass.

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And then there was this advice:

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This is advice that I’ve always given at my wine tastings when I used to teach about wine! They really do care about the tasting experience. From the literature, it doesn’t sound like the production is such that you’ll always be tasting the same wines either. Get your favorites before they are gone!

That day, our favorite was the American Zinfandel. Zinfandel grapes aren’t known to grow in Minnesota; so I suspect that these were imported from California. This Zinfandel was also a tad sweeter than those either of us tend to drink, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. We also noticed that Four Daughters served it slightly chilled. At the time of this writing, this wine is no longer listed on their website. It must be out of stock!

We also tried wines made from grapes grown in Minnesota, including these varieties:

  • La Crescent
  • Frontenac Gris
  • Marquette

One fun thing about the white flight is that they put the Frontenac Gris up against their Nude Etude II, which is a wine also made with Frontenac Gris, but showcasing a truer expression of the grape. The two wines taste completely different, illustrating how a winemaker’s techniques can really influence a wine!

Truth be told, I liked all of the wines! My least favorite was the rosé. As for the whites, we had such a hard time deciding which was the favorite. So we each went with another round of a white flights!

As a side note, Four Daughters also makes a hard cider which they call Loon Juice. {I just love that name!} I’ve had it on tap before here. In my opinion, it doesn’t have a ton of apple flavor; so we skipped it in favor of the wine. However, I loved the idea of hard cider cocktails! One of them was called Looney Tunes!

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The Food

Four Daughters offers a seasonally changing menu, a concept which I always love. The prices are also very reasonable.

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Stacy is one of the few friends who will order a cheese board with me. In fact, it’s kind of a tradition. {Except when we get sushi! 😉 }

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Artisan Cheese Board – $14

We weren’t too keen on the grape jelly; but I applaud the effort for using their own grapes! Then, after we polished off the remaining white flights and had our fill of cheese, we elected to order some small plates.

Stacy’s selection:

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Prosciutto Flatbread w/grilled garlic scapes, preserved lemon oil, sherry-caper goat cheese – $12

The description of that flatbread had “Stacy” written all over it. It was exceptional. That arugula piled on top doesn’t do photographic justice to this flatbread.

As for me, I’m always a sucker for scallops when they are on the menu! This particular offering also had me intrigued by the “chickpea fries”.

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Seared Scallops w/chickpea fries, bell pepper, coriander yogurt, chorizo oil – $16

Swooooonnnn!! The dish was a bit small, but the price was on par for the size. What beautiful plating, too. The scallops were perfectly seared and I was in love with the chickpea fries. {I think a better name would be chickpea fritters… maybe?} We were impressed by them so much, that when Stacy and I were picking out which wines to buy to take home, we met the owner and told him that those need to go on the menu permanently!

He sipped a glass of wine and chatted with us. He was proud while swirling the wine in his glass, but not in a pompous kind of way. He had a very cheerful, relaxed disposition.

As we commented on the food, he told us that the chef came from Chester’s, a higher end restaurant in Rochester. Stacy and I had been there on a recent visit of mine, but I neglected to share anything about it on the blog. I’m not even sure I took photos! Let’s suffice to say that we liked it so much that we’ve talked of returning.

We felt the same way about Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery. We might have to make it an annual outing! I know if I lived in the area, I’d go there for the food, the wine and the relaxed setting.

I wouldn’t start comparing the wine with California; but for Minnesota I highly recommend it. The bottles to take home are a little pricey {around $20/bottle}; but I like to spend my money locally. They’ve got a good thing going at Four Daughters and I want to support that.

What’s your favorite winery in your state?

A bit of trivia: Every state in the U.S. has a winery!

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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2 responses »

  1. What a fun place! I love flights of anything – I am much more adventurous to try something new if it’s tiny and if I don’t like it, I don’t feel like it’s a waste.

    1. I need a cheese board in my life soon.
    2. I need to make a pizza with goat cheese soon!

  2. My favorite winery here in MN is Parley Lake Winery in Waconia. Of course I may be a little biased because I’ve poured wine occasionally for them over the past 4-5 years AND I own a barrel there that is currently being used to make wine. The wine and the people are fabulous! Plus in the fall they have an apple barn… a fun place for the whole family!

    In WI, I just love River Bend Vineyard & Winery in Chippewa Falls. Its not far from highway 29 when I’m heading to or from my hometown in central WI. The wines are very good & the place is pretty neat. A must try the next time you’re in the area or passing by!

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