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Friday, May 11, 2012
Big, Wonderful Wyoming--Table Mountain Vineyard
Over Easter (yes, I realize I am just a bit behind in blogging here!), I had the wonderful pleasure to visit big, wonderful Wyoming’s Table Mountain Vineyards (in Huntley, Wyoming), the only Wyoming winery growing or harvesting all of its fruit from within the state and producing all of its wines exclusively in the state as well. My family and I showed up at the tasting room and small section of vineyard on a beautiful Friday afternoon. The Zimmerer family has owned this farm land for four generations, and the grape growing actually began as a project for a class at the University of Wyoming. This project then turned much larger as wines were experimented with from the vines that were experiments themselves. Over time, business has grown, and continues to grow so much that a larger tasting room is being built near the original. Events are already planned there for this summer, though the actual completion is still ongoing.
There are several wines of note being produced at TMV. First is the Cowgirl Blush, a semi-sweet blush wine that I would love to sit and sip on a hot summer day. It just so happens to be a Gold Medal winner from the Finger Lakes Wine Competition as well. My other favorite grape wine was the Frontenac Gris, a wonderful, off-dry hybrid grape wine that reminded me of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The final wine that impressed me was their Cherry Rush dessert wine. Though the wine was sweet, it had undertones of spice, too; a wonderful contrast in the wine made from cherries that are harvested in nearby Torrington, from the yard of a 90-plus year old woman, who sits in the front yard and watches the cherry harvest, shouting instructions the whole time!
I have to say how much I enjoyed TMV! I love the fact that it is exclusively a Wyoming product. There are several other producers in Wyoming making or bottling wine, but they are buying their grapes or juice from California or other popular grape-growing areas. I’m not saying these aren’t good wines, but if I want a California wine (which I buy often), I want to buy that wine from a California producer, and I want to know exactly where the grapes were grown, not look at a bottle that appears to be “Wyoming Wine” when it’s not. This is exactly what the term terroir means: grapes are produced into wines that reflect the growing environment where the grapes are grown. Wyoming terroir is just slightly different than California (or about any other growing area). Okay, it’s REALLY different than most areas. Wyoming is cold, and some years dry, and most of the time windy!!! This means that different grapes grow well here, so TMV grows hybrid grapes like Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, and Elvira. These are different wine grapes than the traditional but because they are different does not mean they are bad. So though you are not going to find a California Cab here, I am enamored with the idea that you will find something completely different, enjoyable, and unique…something totally Wyoming!