We’ve had a closer look at some meads brewed in Alberta. This time we focus on fruit wines, the other type fermented here. To see how things are done in artisanal fruit wine making, we visited the very first licensed estate winery in Alberta, Field Stone Winery.
Field Stone Winery was conceived by owners, Marvin and Elaine Gill. With the help of family and the expertise of world-renowned Winemaker, Dominic Rivard, excess from bountiful harvests of fruits from their Bumbleberry Orchards (back in the day a popular U-Pick farm in the perimeter of Strathmore, east of Calgary, now Field Stone Winery) were brewed into wine. No doubt, it would have been easy enough to go the jam and jelly route, but thank goodness they chose the more sophisticated road to wine. Thirteen years later from July 2005, they are now avid producers of award winning wines.
The winery is surrounded by charming orchards of saskatoon berries, strawberries, raspberries, chokecherries and rhubarb. Other berries used in their wines include wild black berries, black currants and red cherries. According to Marvin, our gracious host, the berries used are all Alberta-grown organically and 75% are right from their orchards.
Fruit wines are made by crushing and macerating fruits, their flavours and scents extracted with an enzyme. Specific strains of yeast to highlight the essence of each fruit are used to ferment, but before fermentation, the acid level as well as the sweetness of the wine, are fine-tuned. Ten varieties, five tables and five desserts some of which are fortified, are fermented at Field Stone. Fortified wines are wines with alcohol added to them after being fermented partially to approximately 5%. The addition of alcohol stops the fermentation, allowing the attributes of the fruit to blossom, making a sweeter wine.
We were fascinated by the information conveyed to us and were very much looking forward to the pièce de resistance of our visit – the tasting – which was a most welcomed relief to the summer heat. The wines were a symphony of melodious aroma and taste in our senses. As far as pairings with food or in cocktails, fruit wines are just as versatile as the more widely-known grape wines.
And now, here are the stars of Field Stone
Field Stone dessert wines are made from premium, plump Alberta fruits and berries. Chill before serving for optimum experience.
Black Currant (16% alc./14.5 sweetness) This fortified wine goes nicely with special meals. It is also great in champagne cocktails, Italian sodas and lemonades. It is rich and fruity with an aromatic bouquet and long lasting finish.
Raspberry (16% alc./12 sweetness) A premium fortified wine which pairs well with chocolates, cheesecakes and creamy desserts. It is velvety and luscious.
Saskatoon Berry (16% alc./10 sweetness) Fortified, it goes well with pastries, patés and strong cheeses. It is a tad heavier, similar to port, with an intense and complex flavour.
Strawberry (14% alc./9.5 sweetness) Goes well with creamy desserts, including French vanilla ice cream. It is semi-sweet and smooth and perfect as an aperitif.
Wild Black Cherry (16% alc./8.5 sweetness) This port-like fortified wine goes well with most desserts and cheeses as well as in a martini. It is also perfect on its own. The flavour of chokecherry is evidently rich. It is aged in oak.
Field Stone fruit wines are of premium quality. They are drier with more subtle finish. They pair well with various cuisines any time.
Black Currant (13% alc./1 sweetness) This dry wine goes well with strong flavoured meats such as bison, beef or lamb. Moderately oaked, it has an earthy, refined flavour with a berry finish.
Bumble Berry (13% alc./2.5 sweetness) A medium dry wine which goes well with festive meals, pizza, grilled beef burgers, Asian & other ethnic foods and barbecues. Subtle tastes of Saskatoon berries, raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb all come through for an exquisite flavour.
Cherry (13% alc./2 sweetness) An off-dry wine which goes well with pork, ham and game. It’s a tangy wine made from Alberta red cherries.
Raspberry (13% alc./3 sweetness) Goes well with grilled chicken. It is medium-dry, slightly tart and crisp and made from Field Stone’s finest raspberries.
Strawberry-Rhubarb (13%alc./4 sweetness) Goes well with vegetable salads and smoked cheeses. It’s slightly sweet with a fruity aroma and a dry finish.
Always is the perfect time to expand your culinary adventures. At Trail Appliances site we have a wealth of recipes that will pair nicely with fruit wines. Field stone also has great food and dessert creations which include the wines as well as cocktail concoctions.