Drink Magazine

WineHaven Marquette Reserve

By Brian @WineInMyGlass

WineHaven Marquette ReserveToday is the start of Regional Wine Week. Since I’m in Minnesota, I’ll be reviewing wines from local Minnesota wineries all week.

Minnesota has very cold winters, which makes it difficult if not impossible to grow traditional grape varieties here. Even some of the better known “cool climate” grapes cannot survive the cold winters here. We will typically get low temperatures of -20°F to -30°F. Northern Minnesota gets even colder. However, some wine grape varieties have been developed that will survive and even thrive here. Elmer Swenson was a pioneer in breeding grapes to survive the climate in Minnesota and nearby states. More recently, the University of Minnesota has developed some new grape hybrids.

The Marquette grape is a recent release from the University of Minnesota. It is a grandchild of Pinot Noir, but it has many other grape species in its lineage as well. This grape was introduced in 2006. Unlike some other cold-climate grapes, the Marquette typically has fairly high sugar levels at harvest (average Brix of 25.7 according to the Univ. of Minn.).

WineHaven is a family winery in the Chisago Lakes region of Minnesota. They have won more than 200 awards for winemaking excellence in New York and California wine competitions during the past 10 years.  They were founded in 1995, and are located on a 50 acre estate. In addition to red and white wines made from grapes, they also produce fruit wines and honey wine (mead).

Now let’s get to the wine tasting.

In the glass it is a dark, inky purple. It’s nearly opaque.

The nose is interesting. There’s fruit and some vanilla, but there’s something else … maybe a bit of pine or cedar.

The taste, though, is what I consider the most important aspect. There’s dark cherries and plums and even some cassis (black currant). I get some spice mid-palate (black pepper, maybe a hint of cinnamon). Some nice oak influences on the finish, with some toast and a bit of mocha. Nice structure from the tannins. Very good balance.

I think this would pair well with red meats (burgers or steaks), a rich red sauce, or some dark chocolate.

This wine gets the “Excellent” rating.

Give this wine a bit to open up. Even with a bottle-top aerator, it needs a bit of time in the glass. (Yes, a decanter is on my list of “things I really should buy,” along with lots of other stuff.)

This wine is not listed for sale on their website, but they do sell their regular Marquette. The regular Marquette is aged for 3 months in oak, while the Marquette Reserve is aged for 9 months. The Marquette Reserve is available as part of their Wine Club. The regular Marquette sells for $20 for a 750 ml bottle.

WineHaven wines are available in many liquor stores in Minnesota. Find a nearby retailer here.

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

Wine Details
Producer: WineHaven
Vintage: 2010
Appellation: Minnesota
Varieties: Marquette
Alcohol: 13.9% ABV
My Rating: Excellent

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