Continuing in our local sight-seeing ventures we took a short trip out to Sovereign Estate Winery in Waconia, MN on the holiday. I love the look of this place, and think it compares to several of the smaller wineries we saw on a trip to Oregon a few years back. The grounds are expansive with grape vines growing up right along Lake Waconia. They have a large tent for outdoor events, a baseball diamond, children's play equipment, and a beautifully manicured garden.
The winery itself is very easy on the eyes and has plenty of outdoor seating. They have a nice tasting bar and gift shop inside that reminds me of a French winery. They do their tastings differently here, with either a tasting of 6 wines in small glasses that you get all at once, or a different tasting up at the bar, with each wine paired with a small bite of food. We ordered a cheese board, and made this into a light lunch. I really like the wines here and especially dig the Talon Crest white. This time of year they are serving the Sangria as well, and I was less impressed with that one. Well worth a visit, and a nice place to wander the grounds and relax with a glass of wine!
For wrap-up I'll give a quick review of my day three Octoberfest experiment. On the third day of September my true love gave to me...A Lake Superior Octoberfest! Located in Duluth, this production brewery has been around for some time. Often forgotten in the recent craft beer boom, these guys have been brewing beer in Minnesota since 1994. Overall, I think their beers are decent, but haven't changed much over the years. I have actually never had their Octoberfest before, so this was a nice one to try. I had a bottle at the Old Chicago in Eden Prairie, served up by a very friendly bartender.
Aroma: Malty sweetness. No real hop aroma.
Appearance: Deep amber to orange with excellent clarity. Fine white head fades fast.
Flavor: Sweet maltiness followed by a firm bitterness. Some toasty or bready notes as it warms. Has an almost astringent finish.
Overall: Not a bad beer, but not my favorite Octoberfest. The strong bittering and deep color actually seems more like an Alt beer.