The third stop on the Wine Trail this past Saturday was definitely my favorite, Park Farm Winery and Vineyard in Bankston. It was the most difficult to find, nestled in the Iowa countryside, but the beautiful French style Chateau (pictured above) is like an oasis in the middle of the desert. A beautiful tasting room, complete with comfy furniture and a large fireplace, leads out onto a deck from which you can look down over the vineyard and out across the valley to the hills beyond. To add to the magical ambiance, we were invited on a tour of the wine making facilities where Lucas, the winemaker, talked about how the winery and vineyard had grown over the past several years. If ambiance contributes to your desire to buy on your way through the retail store, then call me a sucker as I left happily carting 3 bottles of wine and a new CD. The wines at Park Farm are more to my taste, plenty of deep, dry reds AND surprisingly, I even purchased a bottle of white, a rare occurance for me. We will be returning to Park Farm one of these days, probably with a picnic lunch in tow, for an afternoon and a bottle or two of wine!
Leaving Park Farm and starting on our way to our final destination, Tabor Home Vineyard and Winery, in Baldwin, proved to be a bit of a challenge. Knowing we would be arriving at Tabor Home just past the advertised ending hour of the trail (5:00), we gave Tabor a call and asked if they would wait for us as we had a group of 9 willing to buy a couple cases of wine. They were happy to accommodate and were great help when we had to call back a second time asking them to help us find our way to their location after choosing "the scenic" route.
Tabor Home is the oldest, most established, and most accomplished winery on the tour...probably in all of Iowa for that matter. Their entry here will be short, not because they don't deserve equal time, just because it was the end of the day, I was exhausted, and we rushed a bit since we were already running on borrowed time. The spread at Tabor included the basic food and wine parings as the other locations, but we also got a treat...a private (because our group of 9 was the last there) barrel tasting. The two wines we sampled were both dark reds, much to my liking, and will be great additions to Tabors already tasty offerings. I of course was able to find one bottle (I could have found a couple, but I was already going over my self imposed 4 bottle limit) to bring home with me.
After loading the last of the group back in the van, we headed back to CR where part of the group would spend the night, departing on day 2 of the Wine Trail the next morning, while the rest of us would come home to Grinnell. The drive back to CR was fun even though we were all starting to wind down. We had lots of laughs from the day to carry us to the end. We returned to our initial meeting location, sorted out our wines, and went our separate ways. A day well spent!
As promised, a final listing of my purchases:
Winneshiek Wildberry Winery's American Canoe Creek Chambourcin - an off-dry red
Park Farm Winery's Mississippi Red - a red table wine
Park Farm Winery's Iowa Fume LaCrosse - a dry white
Park Farm Winery's Vintner's Reserve American Marechal Foch (2005) - a dry red
Tabor Home Winery's Iowa St. Croix - a dry red
And let's not forget, that ambiance CD from Park Farm...yes, I'm a sucker!
I'm already looking forward to our next wine outing. Good food, good friend, good wine. What more could a girl ask for.
peace and cheers!