Drink Magazine

Forestedge Rhubarb

By Brian @WineInMyGlass

While there are some grapes that can survive the cold Minnesota winters, another option is to make wine from other cold-hardy fruits. One fruit, that isn’t technically a fruit but ends up in pies anyway, is rhubarb. I had a rhubarb wine many years ago when I lived in Iowa at the Ox Yoke Inn in the Amana Colonies. The Germans call it “Piestengel,” or “pie stalk.” This grows very well in Minnesota. As I walk around the neighborhood in the spring, I’ll see many yards with large rhubarb patches.

This wine is made by Forestedge Winery, which is located on the edge of the Paul Bunyan State Forest.  They only make wines from fruits other than grapes.

My experience has been that most fruit wines (that is, non-grape wines) are sweet wines. This wine, however, is quite dry. I like this. I find that rhubarb is very often over-sweetened to the point where you can’t really taste the rhubarb anymore. My favorite rhubarb desserts have always been the ones with less sugar that showcase the rhubarb flavor. That’s what this wine does; it really showcases the rhubarb’s flavor.

The wine has a light scent of rhubarb along with some floral notes. This isn’t the sweet rhubarb smell of a rhubarb pie. It’s lighter and more refreshing than that. The wine definitely tastes like rhubarb, but, again, without the sweetness so often associated with rhubarb desserts. It’s a much lighter, crisper flavor. There’s lots of acidity, but that’s really part of the rhubarb’s character. It’s a bit like a grapefruit or gooseberry. There’s also a juiciness to the wine. This isn’t from sweetness, but just from the full-bodied rhubarb flavor.

If this was a grape wine, I might say the acidity was too high, but it really goes well with the rhubarb flavor. Rhubarb is a very tart plant, but that tartness is part of its appeal.

I really like this wine, but I’ll admit that this isn’t for everyone. Like I mentioned earlier, this is not a sweet wine, unlike so many non-grape wines. If you enjoy the flavor of rhubarb without the excessive sweetness, I think you’ll enjoy this wine. If you think some rhubarb desserts are too tart, you might want to pass on this.

The acidity of this wine lets it pair very well with food. We had it with some chicken with garlic and mozzarella cheese.  The acidity of the wine balanced the flavors of the food well, and the food tempered the acidity of the wine and let the fruit flavors come though brilliantly.

This wine gets a “Very Good” rating.

Forestedge wines are available for purchase from their website. They are also available in many liquor stores in Minnesota.

I received this wine as a review sample for Regional Wine Week courtesy of Forestedge Winery.

Wine Details
Producer: Forestedge Winery
Vintage: Non-vintage
Appellation: Minnesota
Variety: Rhubarb
Alcohol: 12.5% ABV
Price: $10.95 at the winery website
My Rating: Very Good

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