State Fair Food and Wine Pairings

Vignoles: Missouri’s Favorite White Wine

If you’ve visited Missouri wineries, it’s likely you’ve tried a wine made from of Vignoles (veen – yole) grapes. This incredibly versatile varietal is the most commonly grown white grape in the state. It’s used to make wines ranging from refreshingly dry to sinfully sweet Late Harvest dessert wines. It is a favorite among Missouri winemakers and consumers alike for a multitude of reasons.

Its popularity is hallmarked by prestigious glassware company, Riedel Crystal, taking notice. At the end of 2013, Georg Riedel, 10th generation head of Riedel Crystal, led a panel of Missouri winemakers and sommeliers through an extensive workshop to select a varietal specific glass for Missouri Vignoles. This is a great honor and culminated in the selection of an exceptional glass that perfectly highlights the wonderful attributes of this versatile varietal.

Take a look inside this exciting process and find out where you can get your own Riedel Vignoles glass by watching this video.

Vignoles’ popularity comes in part because of how food-friendly it is. A vast range of dishes pair well with the floral nose and fruity flavors characteristic of Vignoles. A spicy Mexican or Asian dish matches perfectly with a semi-sweet or sweet Vignoles. A dry or semi-dry Vignoles is delicious with Swiss cheese or salmon. You know that delicious fruit chutney you make, it’s just begging to be served with Vignoles. And you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a Late Harvest Vignoles wine with a piece of cheesecake.

It’s true that good food deserves great wine, but Vignoles also stands alone for sipping, especially during the hot summer months. Whether you’re relaxing poolside or socializing on the patio, Vignoles is the perfect tag-along.

There’s a Vignoles for everyone. Now that you know a little more about this French-American hybrid grape and why it has made such an impression, invite it to your next summer gathering.

Cool Off This Summer with Wine Popsicles

As the temperature rises, we all tend to look for anything that will cool us off. One great and delicious option is an ice-cold popsicle, but why not take it one step further and make it a delicious wine-infused popsicle? Summer fun, indeed! Try out these recipes with your favorite Missouri wines for a tasty treat sure to be refreshing and help you relax on a hot summer day.

  • Red Wine Popsicles:

Roasted Strawberry Red Wine Popsicles are a deliciously refreshing treat combining the fruity flavor of the roasted strawberries with sweet red wine and balsamic vinegar. [via Pastry Affair]

* Try with a Missouri Corcord or one of these award-winning wines.

Red Wine Fudgesicles will not only sate your desire for something cold, but your sweet tooth will also be pleased. Dark chocolate and dry red wine make such a great pair, even frozen. [via A Beautiful Mess]

* Try with a Missouri Chambourcin or one of these award-winning wines.

  • White Wine Popsicles

White Sangria Ice Pops take an already popular summer beverage and freeze it. Yes, please. Count us in. You can customize this one easily to include your favorite fruits. [via Daisy’s World]

* Try with a Missouri Vignoles or one of these award-winning wines.

  • Sparkling Wine Popsicles

Nectarine (or Peach) Bellini Popsicles take this classic brunch favorite to a whole new level. [via e is for eat]

French 75 Popsicles are a classy way to cool down on a hot summer day, and with fresh lemon juice it’s sure to be refreshing. [via Reclaiming Provincial]

* Try with a Missouri sparkling wine.

Try one of these delicious frozen concoctions or make up your own. Remember when you’re measuring out the ingredients that a good rule of thumb is 3 to 1 on the mixer (juice, fruit, etc.) to wine ratio if you want your popsicles to freeze.

Missouri wine pairs well with popsicles!

Build Your Best Sangria

Sangria is delicious and refreshing, but most importantly, its flavor combinations are limitless! The primary components of sangria are: wine, fruit, liquor, juice or mixer (soda, lemonade, etc), and a sweetener of some kind. Use this guide to build the sangria recipe that is perfect for you. Cheers! 

Build Your Best Sangria

Fried Chicken and Sparkling Wine: The Golden Couple


July 6th was National Fried Chicken Day, and that inspired us to write this post. We agree that this dish, the epitome of comfort food, deserves its own day, or perhaps even its own week or month. Fried chicken with its crispy, savory goodness is even better when you pair it with… sparkling wine.

Bubbly is good for a lot more than just wedding toasts, and it beautifully compliments fried chicken. If you really stop and think about it, it makes sense. Why, you ask? The bright acidity and lively citrus flavors found in dry sparkling wines help cut through the salty flavors and greasiness of fried chicken, while the tiny bubbles cleanse your palate and settle your stomach (which is sure to be full when there’s delicious fried chicken on your plate).

So, the next time you have a craving for old-fashioned, down-home fried chicken, try this classic recipe and pair it with a glass of award-winning, dry Missouri sparkling wine. You’re in for a real treat!

Missouri (sparkling) wine pairs well with fried chicken!

Raise Your Glass: Tips for Giving Great Toasts

Giving a toast, like any public speaking, can be scary and nerve-wracking. Whether you‘re the best man/maid of honor at a wedding raising a glass to the newlyweds, or at a work function toasting your co-workers on a job well done, here are a few tips that can help you get through it without breaking too much of a sweat.

Firstly and probably most importantly… a toast is not about you. The fundamental purpose of a toast is to say something nice about someone else, to honor and celebrate them. So, avoid focusing too much on you and your relationship with the toastee, and take the opportunity to make your friend, coworker or loved one look good. If you see that telltale look of admiration toward the subject of your toast when you’re finished… success!

Secondly and still very important… keep it short and sweet. This a dual tip. Try not to ramble on. A good way to avoid being long winded is to write down your thoughts ahead of time. A good toast, much like a good story has a beginning, middle, and end. That’s the keep it short part of the tip. Don’t forget to keep it sweet too, meaning stay positive. It’s not the time for criticism, constructive or otherwise. Focus on the good and keep the mood light.

Thirdly, remember that funny and embarrassing aren’t always the same thing. Jokes are great. They can break the ice and loosen any tension in the crowd, however, try not to make any that are directly at the expense of others in the room, especially the guest(s) of honor. Often the issue isn’t that the story or joke isn’t funny, but rather the lack of context for the audience. If you find yourself thinking “you had to be there”, maybe leave that part out.

Lastly, practice may not make perfect, but it sure will help! Write your toast out and rehearse it in front of a mirror or maybe a friend or two. This will help you feel more confident and comfortable when it’s time to raise that glass for real.

Traditionally speaking, sparkling wine is the first choice for a toasting beverage. Missouri wineries are making some delicious, award-winning sparkling wines, but many rules were meant to be broken. So, if you’re not a fan of bubbles, don’t fret. Raise a glass of whatever feels right.

Missouri wines pair well with great toasts!

Wine and Cheese

Missouri Wine and Beer: The perfect pair for Father’s Day

Some people like wine, some people like beer, and others like them both. Several Missouri wineries are also breweries. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Some of the equipment is the same and it’s a great way to offer consumers options. 

So, this Father’s Day, head out to Missouri wine country for a relaxing trip where you can enjoy handcrafted wine and beer. Or get a sampler of delicious local beverages for dad to sample at home. 

Charleville Vineyard Winery and Microbrewery – Ste. Genenvieve
Charleville is all about offering distinctive, hand-crafted wines and microbrewed beers in a relaxed atmosphere. They proudly offer an assortment of beer styles from their core year round beers (such as: Half Wit Wheat, Hoptimistic IPA, Tornado Alley Amber Ale, and Oatmeal Stout) to an extensive selection of seasonal beers (Box of Chocolate, Strawberry Blonde, Maibock… to name just a few) and limited release beers.

Crown Valley Winery, Brewery & Distillery – Ste. Genenvieve 
Visiting “Crown Country” offers a plethora of tasting options. They make a wide range of wines, including sparkling, while their brewmaster, Jeremy Gilbert, produces beer made in a state-of-the-art 15-barrel microbrewery. Some of their offerings include, Strawberry Cider, Farmhouse Lager, Wooden Nickel IPA, Gunslinger Double IPA, Big Bison Ale, and seasonal such as Peach Wheat and Blackberry Cider. They also have a distillate brand known for its line of “Missouri Moonshine”. Their Fizzy Izzy root beer has its own fan club as well. 

Bias Winery and Gruhlke’s Microbrewery – Berger
As the story goes… Gruhlke is a gnome who moved from Germany to the hill at Bias Vineyards & Winery in 1998. Gnomes, as you may know, live underground with their buried treasures. Gruhlke’s treasure is secret formulas for great microbrewed beer. Gruhlke has agreed to share his secret formulas and assist with the beer brewing in exchange for naming the microbrewery after him. They offer a variety of beers on tap, some of which include, Missouri Wheat, Naughty Ale, Black Lager, Chubby Stout, and Nate’s Tripel.

Windy Wine Co. and Blackbelt Brewing Co. – Osborn 
When Kraig Keesaman opened Windy Wine Co. he planted the idea of his brother, Kasey, having a brewery onsite. Last year, the dream became a reality when Blackbelt Brewing Co. was introduced. They offer a milk stout called Ninja Breakfast, a light rye ale called Rye-Kwon-Do, an India Pale Ale called Hop-Kido, an apple ale called Grapple, Brew-cha Libre, an agave-infused pale ale, and a Belgian golden called Crow Killer. 

Cave Vineyard – Ste. Genenvieve
Cave Vineyard is a family affair through and through. That extends from the winery operations to the beer brewed on site and sold on-draft in the tasting room. The son-in-laws (also affectionately referred to as the SIL’s) brew a variety of beer to be served on site only. You’re always in for a new and different treat from the classics to unique seasonal offerings when you visit the Cave. 

Beyond wineries making, serving and distributing their own beers, there are other partnerships between brewers and winemakers. Public House Brewery is building a brand new facility to expand its operation in conjunction with St. James Winery, and Broadway Brewery leases space from Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport. To take it a step further, many of the 125+ wineries in the state partner with local, craft brewers to offer beer in their tasting rooms. 

Missouri wine pairs well with Missouri beer. Drink local! 

Pairing Sauces with Missouri Wine

What’s Your MO White?

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