Saturday, January 4, 2020

A Visit to Cannon River Winery

Cannon River Winery holds a special place in my heart…or at least… past. Back when I was a Senior in college, I interned for a wine education company and during my tenure there, I got a visit a few Minnesota-based wineries and one of those wineries was Cannon River Winery, located in Cannon Falls, MN. I still remember that nice spring day seven years ago when I arrived there with the trees in bloom and the usually warm temperatures we had that day.. When me and my boss went inside to check the place out, I was amazed and how busy and vibrant it was there. I knew that the fanfare about local wine was sizable but it didn’t strike me as to just how big it was until I stepped foot in there. Remember, I did this internship a few months after I dove head-first into the craft brewing scene.

During my time there, I served as a “guinea pig” of sorts for the wine tasting since my boss was pregnant and wanted to avoid any sort of complications. It was a task that I was all too happy to fulfill. My favorite wine during our visit there was their Apple Wine, but only because it wasn’t a tannin-overload and my palate wasn’t fully refined by that point. Fast forward to today where I’m starting to dabble heavily into wine and the idea struck me that maybe it’s time to revisit this winery that piqued my curiosity years ago. So I decided to make the journey back to Cannon Falls.

Cannon Falls is one of those towns that looks like it belongs in Christmas Card Artwork, with its old brick storefront and buildings along with Christmas lights stretching across an intersection in the heart of downtown & it reminds me almost of my parents’ hometown. And of course, the Cannon River runs through it, which the winery takes its name from.

Fun Fact: Cannon Falls is home to Pachyderm Studios. This is where Nirvana’s In Utero album was recorded, which is one of my all-time favorite albums. Other bands to record there include: Live, Mudvayne, Soul Asylum, Motion City Soundtrack & Trampled by Turtles: Just to name a few. It isn’t the first place you’d expect a recording studio to be, yet here we are.

Anywho, the interior of the winery has changed in terms of layout but not necessarily in atmosphere. The wooden interior mixed with barrels and fermentation tanks and rustic lighting gives the winery a very unique feel. Plus the winery itself is housed in what I assume to be an older brick building. You have the option to either sit by the windows or in the back more but no matter where you sit, you’ll get to soak in the atmosphere either way.

Now let’s talk about the wine. I was able to sample a good variety of wine styles and get a better idea as to the offerings of Cannon River Winery. Without further ado, let’s take a look!

Name: Gunflint Gris
Style: Gris
ABV: 12.1%
Grapes used: Frontenac Gris

Taking its name from the Gunflint Trail in Northeast Minnesota. This wine has a bright pear & white grape flavor to it that has an almost citra-like quality to it with a fairly dry aftertaste with just a touch of tannins. It’s a simple yet solid wine that you won’t see me getting sick of anytime soon.

Gunflint Gris – 8.5/10

Name: Feisty Bitch Rose
Style: Rose
Grapes used: N/A

An interesting choice in terms of naming, but who am I to argue with the creative process? This wine has a nice raspberry & blackberry flavor with just enough tannin bitterness on the front end of the palate to help balance it out. The aftertaste is a short-lived but sweet raspberry-like fruitiness. All and all, another great wine that I could see myself sipping on a lazy afternoon.

Feisty Bitch Rose – 8.5/10

Name: Minnesota Marquette
Style: Marquette/Red Wine
Grapes used: Marquette

A wine made with grapes that were developed by the University of Minnesota for the purpose of growing grapes in the harsh cold Minnesota climates. This wine has a nice blackberry uprfront with a dark currant & oak flavor in the middle and back. There’s also an encompassing earthiness and light tannin flavor throughout the palate. The aftertaste is rather dry, save for a light oak flavor. It’s an eloquently put together wine that has enough overall layers in the flavor to keep things interesting.

Minnesota Marquette – 9/10

Name: Sparkling Edelweiss
Style: Sparkling/White Wine
Grapes used: Edelweiss

For my last wine, I decided that I was in the mood for something with a bit of a bubbly kick, and this was perfect. Light pear & vibrant apple flavors are on the front of the palate while the back end opens up to some white grape and tannin notes. The aftertaste is also quite dry, almost like a good Champagne or Brut. All and all, a great wine to close out my visit and amongst my favorites that I had there.

Sparkling Edelweiss – 9/10

There’s the old saying that the more things change, that the more they stay the same & that certainly applies to Cannon River Winery. As I said before ,there has been changes made to the overall layout of the tasting room, along with changes in ownership that occurred during these past seven years. However, what hasn’t changed is the overall feel and atmosphere of the place. After making the drive from my home located about 40 minutes away, walking into Cannon River Winery made me forget just how monotonous and cold it was outside that day and it made my trip all the worthwhile.

Interested in checking them out? They can be found in beautiful downtown Cannon Falls, which is located about 35 miles south of St. Paul, MN. Their address is:

421 Mill St W
Cannon Falls, MN 55009

I hope this article inspires you to check out any local wineries in your area. Or if you’re in the Twin Cities vicinity, check this place out. I think you’ll be surprised!

No comments:

Post a Comment