Crimson Sunset Vineyard and Winery in Cascade, Iowa is clearly in the early stages of establishing their business. The building itself has some work to be finished in the interior, including trim around the windows and countertops in the kitchen, but the wine itself is solid. All wines are made from estate grown certified organic grapes with no water or cane sugar added.
Sample prices are high for this area, but I imagine that there is more overhead cost at the beginning of establishing a winery and with producing organic products. It costs $1.87 for one sample, $4.68 for three samples, $6.55 for all the reds, $7.48 for all the whites and $13.09 to sample all of their wines. Since I was visiting with my cousin, we decided that I would sample the reds and she would sample the whites so that we would be able to try all of the offerings.
They initially planted fifty varieties of grapes on their land to see which varietals would produce well in Iowa weather and their soil. They then determined the best twelve and narrowed down the options to plant readily on their acreage.
There was not a wine we tried that we did not like. The white wines offered were Brianna, Lacrosse, White Velvet, LaCrescent, Prairie Star, Swensen White and Frontenac Gris. The reds offered were Sabrevois, Rhombus, Marquette and Frontenac.
The wines that stood out to me were White Velvet, which was described as a blend of experiemental cultivars from their research vineyard. It had an attractive spicy floral aroma and flavor that finishes smooth and velvety. My affinity for dry reds was apparent because the Marquette was my favorite wine, but for the $35 price point, I wasn’t interested in purchasing a bottle to enjoy at home.
For more information about Crimson Sunset Winery, including some interesting family history, check out the recent article published in The Cedar Rapids Gazette.