For the past couple of Novembers, we have been making a trip out to Rapid City, South Dakota, to see one my favorite people from my college, Kevin. Kevin works in an amazing local art gallery (complete with a John Mayer sighting) and is himself a fabulous artist. Last fall, his work was chosen for the label for the Pumpkin Bog wine bottle. (See, amazing). Aside from watching my father make wine, I am no expert on this, BUT I do seem think that cold climates tend to mix their grapes with other local fruits and end up with a sweeter product as they often need to add more sugar and make fruits such as rhubarb and cherry more palatable. Or consider the grapes for ice-style wine which has become popular as a sweet dessert which do well growing in the Midwest and the colder regions of Europe. As it goes, I like a hot-weather grape. Some of my favorite wines are from the Temecula Valley in California. And just made out of grapes. I get a little scared when I'm reading the back of a wine bottle and think that I accidentally wandered into the Bath and Bodyworks fruit-scented hand lotion section. So I was a but skeptical when we drove out to Prairie Berry Winery in the Black Hills to see Kevin's handiwork last year. That changed quickly. First of all, the day before it had snow. All the atmospheric aesthetics were there. So, it was a gorgeous sunny day with just a bit of chill in the air to keep the snow pristine. The Winery itself has not only a tasting area, but a Euro-deli with appetizers, sandwiches and pizza. Sadly we did not eat there, but I was able to pick up a variety of the jams, honeys and mulling spices that they also make. That particular day that we were there they had a string quartet playing. I mean, life really doesn’t get better when you have all of that going. And, I am happy to announce, they had an awesome red wine. Phat Hogg Red. A light (but not too light) Corot Noir/Pinot Noir dry red wine. Just grapes and just fantastic. Like I said, I'm not good at describing the aromatics of the wine, or comparing it to chocolate or describing it's oaky flavor. To me, it just has a damn good flavor. And I must know a little bit, because the wine won a silver medal from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. So please, if you are heading out to Rapid City, bring me back the Phat Hogg Red. And make time for lunch there.
Prairie Berry Winery (Since 1876!)
23837 Hwy 385 Hill City, SD 57745