Chiselled Grape Winery Review
Address: W64 N713 Washigton Ave. Cedarburg,Wisconsin 53012.
Phone Number: 262-377-8777
Tasting Hours: Tues-Wed 1:00-5:00, Thurs 12:00-5:00, Fri-Sat 11:00-9:00, Sun 11:00-6:00
Region: Wisconsin Ledge AVA, Wisconsin
Reviewer: Larschelby Kidd
Review Date: 6/17/2014
Reviewer: Larschelby Kidd
When Chiselled Grape Winery opened in 2011, their location was in a historic school house with one acre of vines planted on the property. That was then, this is now. They’ve moved the location of the winery to a more populated area to give more wine consumers a chance to experience their wines.
During my visit, I had a welcoming and educational visit with the tasting room staff. I arrived early and was one of two guests in the winery. Gone is the beautiful little school house with natural light shining through large windows. It has been replaced with a modern-looking house in downtown Cedarburg. The interior is moderately bright with a two-room, open concept furnished with a bar and cocktail tables.
But today, it’s the wines that we are interested in. The tasting list contains fifteen wines, six whites and nine reds. Sad to say that on my visit, some of the wines were not available. Two of the wines I greatly enjoyed in the past are not produced anymore….the ever changing world of wine.
I began the tasting the traditional way, whites before reds, dry’s before sweets. Chiselled Grape uses both California- and Wisconsin-sourced grapes/juice for the production of its wines. Two of the reds, one port style and the other a dry red, are made from locally-sourced Wisconsin growers. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin wines were out of stock and not available to sample.
With only one white, the Festival White Cuvee 2012, to sample, my experience began. The wine is a blend of Viognier, Chardonnay and Saivignon Blanc. If you are a Viognier fan, you will enjoy this clean, refreshing wine with its peach, apricot, and citrus flavors. The Sauvignon Blanc provides the backbone in an otherwise fruity wine. Crisp acidity is the name of the game in this table style white. The other white selections were out of stock. I was however surprised to discover that the two other white wines, a Gewürztraminer and a Bordeaux Blend, as well as the Syrah, were retail wines not produced by the winery. Oh well, onward.
The 2012 Cuvee Red, a blend of Cabernet, Syrah and Tannat, made for a quaffable table red to please the crowd. The Cabernet Franc was was true to taste with a soft fruit character tasting of plums, cherry, subtle mint, and soft oak.
The 2008 Nebbiolo was earthy, with subtle spice and red berries flavors and, again, a soft touch of oak. The Nebbiolo would go well with a multitude of lite appetizers or could be enjoyed on its own. Now, for the standout wine, DRUMROLL PLEASE
The 2006 Merlot Reserve. Those that drink wine with me know that I am a Merlot Fanatic. I enjoy the many versatile styles of wine that can be produced by this noble grape. That being said, I place a merlot into three categories of styles. 1. Soft, fruit forward little to no barrel time 2. Medium bodied with good structure, interesting, but not overly complex. 3. BOLD! To me a big merlot should not move away from its fruit character but the balance of tannins and oak aging should both complement and enhance its enjoyment. It will not be a Cabernet but should be running a close second in style.
I place this Merlot Reserve in the number 2 category. I must say that this wine has aged really well. I can’t tell you what it tasted like in its earlier years, but today it is like silk on the palate. The fruit, spice, oak, tannins, finish all give a wonderful journey of time evolved in the bottle. My only concern is that I feel it has reached its peak. Grab yours while you can. This winery is fairly new and shows promise as it attempts to establish itself in the Wisconsin wine industry. I look forward to following their progress.