When people think of the wine regions of America they probably think of the Napa Valley first and then several other regions of California. They may also think of regions in Washington like Columbia Valley and regions in Oregon like Willamette Valley but they probably don’t think of Indiana. People in Indiana probably don’t think of it as a wine growing region but it is. You can actually find wine produced in all fifty states.
So for 2016 I hope you will join me on a virtual road trip across America where over the next year I will try a wine from every state. You can expect to see Road Trip posts every Sunday. First up, Indiana
It was actually illegal to make and sell wine in the state of Indiana until 1971 and last year was the first year you could buy alcohol on Christmas. Easley Winery in Indiana offers a variety of wines from your standard Cab’s and Chard’s to sweet wines. I choose their Reggae Red to taste. I tasted it a few ways, room temperature, chilled, as a cocktail with rum, mulled and baked into a cake. The bottle recommended that it be chilled but as a red I wanted to taste it un-chilled as well. At room temperature you can immediately tell this wine will do better chilled. Chilling this wine really brings out its Strawberry and Concord notes. This wine is VERY sweet but somehow this doesn’t change its appeal for me. It reminds me in a positive way of what a strawberry manischewitz wine would taste like. In thinking of what works with this wine, it is almost better suited to think of it as a low alcohol liqueur.
Now normally I would not mix a wine with rum but the winery website offers a cocktail recipe with 1 part coconut rum with 3 parts Reggae Red. I’m not going to lie, I was more than skeptical but the coconut rum brought out tropical notes like papaya. For reference, I used Malibu Rum. This was actually my favorite preparation of this wine but mulling it was a close second. Mulling brings out the notes you’d expect like cinnamon and clove.
Finally, the website had a recipe that called for using the wine in a batch of cupcakes. I opted to adapt it and bake a cake. I did not make the icing from scratch but I followed the rest of the recipe. I did take it one step further, I stewed fresh strawberries in some of the wine and topped the cake with it. Overall, it was quite delicious and I think I’ve decided to splash some wine in every time I make chocolate cake.
So what’s the lesson? The lesson is that wine will often surprise you so try something you wouldn’t think of.