Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ruby Nouveau Tasting

On Saturday afternoon, Karen and I attended a wine tasting at Wollersheim Winery for the release of the 2007 Ruby Nouveau, the first wine of the new harvest. It's a "dry red with enticing fresh flavors and a zesty finish." In addition to Ruby Nouveau, several other wines were offered for sampling, along with the winery's infamous Coq au Ruby (ruby chicken) and assorted Wisconsin cheese. We also took a special tour, which explained the making of Ruby Nouveau.

This was the first time I had been to Wollersheim Winery, which is located in Prarie Du Sac, a 15-20 minute drive from Madison. The winery and surrounding property are just beautiful, a setting that consists of a scenic hillside overlooking the Wisconsin River.

My favorite part of the tour was hearing about the history of the winery and the lasting love affair that ensued between the French intern and the owner's daughter. The property was first selected for vineyards in the 1840's. A winery was operated at the site until the turn of the century. It wasn't until 1972 that the property was again established as a working vineyard. At that time, Robert and JoAnn Wollersheim purchased the nearly abandoned property with the intention of restoring it to a working family winery. Robert, who at the time left his job as an engineer, had always enjoyed wine but was certainly no expert on its production, and thus hired many helping hands.

One of those interns was current winemaker Philippe Coquard, who was originally from the Beaujolais region of France. After finishing wine college in France in the mid-1980's, he took part in an American exchange program that unexpectedly sent him to Wisconsin. Shortly after arriving at Wollersheim Winery, Coquard fell in love with one of Robert Wollersheim's daughters, Julie. They were married two years later, thus resulting in a most perfect union. Lucky girl. Her father opens a winery, and then she falls in love with the French intern. Why don't these sort of things ever happen to me?

1 comment:

coq au kelsey said...

really- that's way too romantic to be possible.
aw, shucks. i want a vineyard too.. and maybe i can teach chris a french accent. oui!