(This is the first of our 2008 Food & Wine Finds--Please share your own discoveries of the past year in the Comments section below.)While staying, and dining, at O'Bryon's Village Inn in Cornucopia, Wisconsin, last summer, we were intrigued by a selection of local wines on the restaurant's wine list. They were made from locally grown fruit--not grapes, but apples and pears, some flavored with other local products like cranberries and black currants.
The wines were all from the Bayfield Winery located at Hauser's Superior View Farm, a few miles down the shore. We ordered a bottle of apple-based wine as well at the Dry Pear shown above, and while I admit we weren't exactly expecting Montrachet, we were pleasantly surprised. The apple wine was a bit sweet but with good balancing acidity, and it was excellent with the rich, full-flavored lake trout and whitefish entrées. The pear, with sherry-like notes and subtle sweetness, made a fine digestif, and would do just as well as an aperitif.
We visited the winery the next day, in its exalted seat overlooking the lake, and bought half a dozen bottles to take back to Saint Paul. We enjoyed them back in the city, but this is probably the best setting to appreciate them, a summer's evening on the beach at Corny:
Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw