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A Grape by Any Other Name

A little tasting and exploration is sure to open both minds and palates of Iowa wine drinkers. Abbe Hendricks, sommelier and wine buyer at Des Moines’ Gateway Market, offers cold-climate grape alternatives to more familiar wine varieties (below).

Read “Mettle to Medal” (story by J. Wilson) in the March/April 2013 issue of The Iowan to learn how Iowa wine producers are using education and science to compete for awards and consumers.  


If you like. . .

Try. . .

Chardonnay  >

La Crosse or Seyval Blanc

“These varietals contain citrus notes as well as minerality reminiscent of Burgundy. It is often oaked and undergoes malolactic fermentation.”

Pinot Grigio  >

La Crescent

“This is a crisper, drier white that Iowa does — sometimes more comparable to Sauvignon Blanc if it’s harvested earlier but closer to Pinot Grigio because it’s light and fruity but not sugary sweet.”

Riesling  >


“This is one of the naturally sweeter varietals that grow in Iowa, and it is traditionally done in a sweet style. It has the common fruit markers of Riesling (tree fruit, honey, and white flowers).”

Pinot Noir  >

Marechal Foch

“In my experience, this varietal is lighter bodied and lighter in color with little oak influence. It is more delicate and fruity but with an earthiness that reminds me of Old World Pinot Noir.”

Cabernet Sauvignon  >

St. Croix

“Definitely a heavier red for Iowa and one that is typically aged in oak barrels, which add layers of complexity, just as oak does to Cab. Hearty and dry and actually a sweeter style of red but not noticeably so because of the oak influence.”


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