Wisconsin wineries often get a bad rap, which is too bad because some are pretty darn good. Among my favorites is Staller Estate Winery in Delavan, owned by a 30-something couple. They’ve transformed a former dairy barn and machine shed into a modern tasting room and winemaking facility. Their first vintage came out in 2007, and the tasting room opened in the spring of 2008. So far, Wendy and Joe Staller have earned 50 awards for their wines, which are all made using grapes grown in Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and New York State. Last fall they began to harvest grapes from a two-acre plot behind the winery (wine grapes need a 3 to 5-year maturation period), resulting in bottles of Port and more to come after some varietals are picked this fall.
While any time is a good time to visit, I recommend the monthly Wine & Dine series. The next one is July 12 at noon. Pay $40 for a four-course meal (prepared by the Black Sheep of Whitewater) paired with the winery’s wines. Sign up by calling 608-883-2100. If you are on the fence, check out the menu – and you’ll be drooling in no time.
WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK
Kasana Café is tucked away – literally, as it’s on the ground floor of a Broadway storefront – in the Third Ward and definitely worth seeking out. Many of the ingredients used to craft dishes are organically grown. On Wednesday night, the café caters to wine drinkers with a Rodizio de Pizza special: $19.50 gets you a glass of wine, a pizza topped with gourmet ingredients, either organic vegetables or an organic greens salad, and either passion-fruit mousse or Maracuja mousse. But wait, that’s not all: Wrap up the meal with Quentao (hot wine with spices).
WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK
It’s not often that Mo’s: A Place for Steaks hosts a wine dinner, but it really should because the wine list is spectacular. On June 27, the focus is on Duckhorn Vineyards, however, with the restaurant’s chef de cuisine Josh Stefanko whipping up a four-course menu especially paired with this St. Helena, Calif., winery’s wines. Judi Britt, from Duckhorn, will be on hand to walk you through the pairings. Cost is $125. Call 414-272-0720 to reserve a seat at the table. The event starts at 6 p.m.
WINE OF THE WEEK
After a long day of afternoon gardening, I uncorked a bottle of 2012 Sofia Francis Ford Coppola Winery Chardonnay (Monterey, California, $19) to pair with salmon burgers and asparagus risotto. Peaches and pears wind into a finish that features green-apple notes for a snappy ending. (franciscoppolawinery.com)