Superior Estates Winery Review
Address: 200 W. 15th St Superior,Nebraska 68978.
Phone Number: 402-879-3001
Tasting Hours: Wed-Sun 1:00-5:00
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 5/28/2014
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Superior, Nebraska, is an awfully long way from South Africa, and yet Dominic Burke, winemaker for Superior Estates and a certified oenologist made the journey from his home country years ago, in order to share his knowledge and passion for winemaking, and to craft the absolutely excellent wines that you can try if you venture to visit Superior, the small town just over the border from neighboring Kansas. Located not far from Red Cloud, Nebraska, home to author Willa Cather, Superior Estates Winery is a gem upon the harsh and bitter prairies of Cathers skillfully rendered prose, and it is here that we spent most of the afternoon, touring the facility, enjoying the wine, and easily forgetting in this Napa-esque environment that we were, in fact, still in rural Nebraska.
Thought of by the owners as not just a place to make wine, but a destination for visitors, the design of the Superior Estates facility is grand and impressive. Cathedral ceilings and wood beams create a large open space with floor to ceiling windows on both sides of the tasting room. High top tables featuring a centerpiece that is also a puzzle, are spread throughout the room, and a seating area with leather couches is arranged for conversation at one end. The facility also boasts a gorgeous reception hall that can seat 200, with windows that overlook the vineyard.
The wines at Superior Estates are excellent, and Dominic is particularly adept at making high quality dry whites from the varieties commonly found in Nebraska. Favoring Cayuga and Vignoles over the more popular Edelweiss, the Dryline White, a blend that is made up of 65% Cayuga grapes, 20% Vignoles and 15% Traminette, is extremely crisp, with nice citrus and a totally dry finish it reminded us of a Pinot Gris, while the Dry Vignoles was a playful, light, white wine, respectably dry in spite of being made out of a grape more commonly used to make syrupy sweet whites and dessert wines. For the red wine drinker, the Vintners Reserve is an elegant, soft blend of St. Vincent and Frontenac grapes, and is dry enough to please most dry red drinkers. But never fear; the wines at Superior Estates also cater to the more traditional sweet palates of the Great Plains, as evidenced by the Sweet Vignoles, as well as the dessert-style Cayuga White Gold and the red, fruity Twist and Shout sangria-style wine.
The most impressive wines, however, may be the most recent vintage. 1972 Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Rodgers recently contracted Superior Estates to produce his own personal label of wines, and the result is something worthy of a Heisman pose. We tried the Symphony a blend that is as fruity as it is dry, extremely well-balanced, and the perfect complement to a Nebraska grass-fed sirloin steak. The wines cost precisely $20.72 per bottle 20 being the number The Jet wore at NU, and 72 being the year he won the Heisman. Though slightly more than the cost of other bottles at the winery, we can attest to the fact that they are well worth the slight additional cost.
Although Superior Estates is a bit of a jaunt from both major metro areas in Nebraska (three hours from Omaha, just over two hours from Lincoln), it is worth the trip. You will be greeted by a friendly staff or even Dominic himself to guide you through your tasting. The already impressive property is currently undergoing a renovation outside to add a water feature near the patio that will only serve to make Superior Estates into even more of a relaxing oasis and destination. While there are many great Nebraska wineries, Superior Estates stands out among not only Midwestern wineries, but those found in world-renowned locations across the United States, and we strongly recommend a visit.