A wine-lover's weekend

No matter how many times I watch the movie "Sideways," I will never fully understand all of the complexities of wine. But that doesn't mean I can't still enjoy a nice glass of Chardonnay from time to time.

Starting Sunday, I can add Winter Iceto my list, a new limited edition dessert-style wine by Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls.

Cannon River has teamed up with the St. Paul Winter Carnival to produce the official wine of the "Coolest Celebration on Earth." The wine is said to pair perfectly with white chocolate and cheesecake, and will be available for sale at the winery and various locations throughout the Twin Cities.

Try a sample at the Winter Carnival Winter Ice Release Partyfrom 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the winery. Cost is $5 for the tasting.

In addition to the wine release party, Cannon River will also host the fourth annual Cheese and Chocolate Weekendfrom 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Area vendors will be on-hand offering samples of locally made cheeses and chocolates for you to pair with your favorite Cannon River wines.


And if that's not enough, be the first to try the fruits of Cannon River's 2010 harvest during their Nouveau wine release partyfrom 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Welcome back to the Nordeast

The tweets have been flying with reports that Grain Belt Nordeastis back in the New Ulm and Metro areas.

Since its release in April by the August Schell Brewing Co., based in New Ulm, Nordeast swept through the state faster than the brewery could make it. Thanks to the installation of some additional tanks, the brew is back.

Grain Belt's Twitter page announced Nordeast's return on Monday.

A little taste of something Big

So last week I promised I'd give you the scoop on Big Eddy, the latest holiday offering from the Leinenkugel Brewing Co.

This Russian imperial stout packs a big punch. It's assertively hoppy, yet nicely balanced with 11 different malts and notes of espresso, mocha and toffee that stand out proudly. It's powerful, rich and contains 9.5 percent alcohol by volume, so enjoy in moderation.


It's only available in limited amounts for a limited time. Most places I've checked are running low, so I'd recommend not waiting to get your hands on some.

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