Monday, February 10, 2014

Simon Creek Hazelnut Port - Drinking Notes

If we neglect anything in the Firewater Lounge, it is probably wine. The Badger State is known for beer and brandy which sends the Wollersheims and the Door County wineries to the back burner. It's a shame too, since Wisconsin sports some really stunning wines and meads that deserve wider appeal. One of these overlooked vineyards is Sturgeon Bay's Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery. Less commercial than Door Peninsula, Simon Creek offers a number of interesting selections from muscats to merlots, from  Gewurztraminer to their table wine Untouchable Red.

The bottle that we were most interested in was their Hazelnut Port. Port is a favorite cocktail ingredient because its higher proof and bolder flavor holds up to strong spirits. Simon Creek's Hazelnut Port is no exception - its velvety sweetness, deep fruit and moderate spice holds up in bourbon and brandy well while proving itself eminently drinkable in its own right. We are a bit worried here in the FWL that the Hazelnut Port was a limited bottle for Simon Creek since it doesn't seem to be offered on its website (maybe it is seasonal), however, given the quality of this winery, it is worth your while to stop in post-Packer game to taste-test a few bottles yourself. Their Speakeasy Red table wine (pictured) makes for a wine for cheesecake or a replacement for cocktails that call for Dubonnet.