Sunday, April 04, 2010

Winery Visits

Yesterday was a beautiful Iowa day and after the grand kids were picked up, Roger and I decided it was road trip time and headed out to visit some of the Iowa wineries we haven't been to yet. Our first stop was White Oak Vineyards winery near Cambridge. Overall, I would give this winery five stars on a scale of one to five. There wasn't one wine I didn't like. Beautiful building and event room for receptions, etc.
We next traveled to Snus Hill Vineyard and Winery near Madrid. Another beautiful setting and our server Diane, along with her husband John Larson, own the place. We joined up with two couples from north of Panora for our samplings. Diane made sure we had a good time and explained where the name of Snus came from. The Snus Hill Winery name is reflective of the family’s Swedish heritage and their love of cats. Snus is the name of the Larson family’s affectionate and beguiling tobacco brown Burmese cat. The cat got his name from an old Swedish chewing tobacco (Snus). I would give this winery five stars also.
From Snus we headed northwest, stopping in Boone for lunch and a look at the train tracks and depots before heading to Carroll, Iowa and the Santa Maria Vineyard & Winery. It is located right in downtown Carroll, Iowa (across the highway from the Carroll Train Depot building). This winery is in a renovated historic building along the Old Lincoln Highway (Hwy 30). It is a beautiful building with great wall murals. They have an outdoor piazza where in nicer weather you can grab a bite to eat at our bistro, or warm up in front of the fireplace. The piazza wasn't open when we visited. We wished we would have waited to eaten there as they serve food that looked very good. The wines, though, did not match those we tasted (and bought) at White Oak and Snus Hill. We really liked their Brianna. I had also purchased a bottle of their Swan Lake White last fall while at a scrapbook retreat in Clear Lake that I found very good. I would give this winery 3 stars.

In total we purchased three bottles from White Oak, three from Snus, and two bottles of Brianna from Santa Maria.