Thursday, February 22, 2018

Date Night Log 2018: Farms Uncorked

I'm behind on some date nights, but one of the ones I wanted to be sure to share with you was from our trip a few weeks ago to Living History Farms to their "Farms Uncorked" event. Each winter, LHF does a Cabin Fever series where each month they pair a food and adult beverage combo. This year I bought Shon and I tickets to the entire series as one of his Christmas presents - what could be a better gift than time with me?! Obviously one date has already passed, but they have tickets available for $20/person in advance to each of the following still:

Feb 24: Cocktails and Comfort Food
March 24: Beer and Bread (I've been to this one a couple times and it's great)
Apr 21: Festival of Cheese

As I mentioned, the first event in the series was Farms Uncorked, and I have to start by telling you - we are NOT wine people. This year their billed winery partners included Annelise Winery, Country Barn Winery, Della Viti, La Quercia, Machine Shed (with food for the win), Penoach Winery, Soldier Creek Winery, and Train Wreck Winery. We had beautiful weather and started our day with a selfie.

One of the things I knew going in was that I don't love red wine. I was, however, open to trying new things. I'm going to be really honest with you and not even try to pretend to "speak wine" to you, but rather share some of our favorites (I'm a moscato kind of girl), and tell you more about the experience so that maybe we'll see you at an event in the future!

When you walk into the main entrance they have the tickets set up (be sure to have your ID, I had to turn around and go back to the car and get mine), and then a big ring of vendors, for lack of a better word, around the outside. They each had samples of 4-8 different wines, and then they were able to offer 2-3 (ish?) of those wines for sale in the gift shop if you were interested in taking some home. La Quercia had an awesome meat and cheese spread set up, and The Machine Shed had some awesome Iowa-themed appetizers available - think pasta and brisket - we came back about three times! It was nice to have some food options with the alcohol intake, because while they are small samples, when you try several from each winery, it's nice to have something to eat in the middle. And you know... insert wine talk about cleansing your palate...

We worked our way around the room in a somewhat organized fashion and had a few highlights. Soldier Creek Winery (near Fort Dodge) we learned as live music on Friday nights even through the winter! We plan on this being a date night in the near future. They also had a wine called Geneva Red 7 that had this hint of bell pepper taste that would be amazing when grilling during the summer. This was by far my favorite red of the day because it just had this interesting flavor you didn't expect.

Country Barn Winery and Annelise Winery had some of the fruitier and sweeter wines we tried. Country Barn Winery had a dry, raspberry wine that was interesting called Black Beauty. Annelise Winery, near Indianola, had one of our favorites, Dipsy Doo. It's a sweet red and we actually just enjoyed that bottle this week while celebrating!

The Cellar (near Cambridge) had another of our favorites. Edelweiss (my favorite song from The Sound of Music) is a semi-sweet table wine that had a nice flavor but wasn't so super sweet. It was a nice way to finish out our day and it was our Valentine's Day wine this year!

One of the very first wines we tried, and the one we'll be going back to taste again this weekend as a potential wedding option, is Caboose by Train Wreck Winery. First, it comes in a gorgeous blue bottle which fits perfectly with our wedding colors. Second, the winery is in an old train depot in Algona and the grapes are grown on the site of an actual train wreck. Third, and much less important to Shon, it's Dallas Clark's winery, so as a Colts fan it seems only fitting that we find such a special wine at this location. Don't tell him that, though (Shon, not Dallas), because I don't want him to change his mind. Caboose is a sweet white wine with enough acid to keep it from being "too sweet." Many of their wines can be found at stores near you, and honestly, many of the wines we sampled can be found at places like your local Fareway or HyVee, both of whom I love for being committed to carrying quality Iowa products.

For people who aren't "wine people" we walked away with three bottles, a fourth that we plan on picking up for grilling this summer, and three future dates! We'll have live music at Soldier Creek, a wine tasting at Train Wreck, and I didn't mention yet that in March we're heading to Della Viti in Ames (there's also a Des Moines location) with friends, which is actually a wine bar and we'll do a tasting all over again to try and find some new things we like! Basically, from what I understand, you load up a card, much like a children's arcade experience, and then you sample different types of wine. I'm particularly looking forward to that new experience.

If you aren't sold yet, I still think you should check out the Living History Farms events because clearly that's where the cool people hang out! See you there!

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