50 in 50 #7: North Dakota — Pointe of View Winery


By Lenn Thompson
LENNDEVOURS

I’m a straight shooter, so I’m willing to admit that I know next to nothing about North Dakota. The mere mention of the state only brings one thing to mind: the movie Fargo, which I didn’t particularly enjoy, don’t ya know.

But, when I started this 50 in 50 project, I was forced to learn more about it — at least in terms of wineries.

Lucky for me that I didn’t start this project before April 17, 2002 — when Pointe of View Winery was granted the very first license for a bonded winery in North Dakota. That may not seem significant, but it marked the first time that there was a bonded winery in each of the 50 American states. So, without Pointe of View, there wouldn’t be a 50 in 50 project!

Pointe of View Winery is a small, two-family operation run by Jeff and Diana Peterson, and Ken and Cindy Eggleston. They’ve been winemaking hobbyists since 1987, and now they enjoy sharing their craft with other wine enthusiasts. All of their wines are made with honey, flowers, rhubarb and/or non-grape fruit, including apples, juneberries and chokecherries.

I got to taste three of their wines and I’ll admit it — I was surprised at what I tasted.

I started with their Rhubarb Wine ($13), which is their best seller. It’s a pale straw yellow and lined the inside of my glass with tiny bubbles, despite being a still wine. As one would expect, the nose is dominated by stewed rhubarb aromas with an odd combination of pencil eraser and cardboard apparent as well. Sweet, but also slightly tart (this is rhubarb after all), the flavors are about the same — all within light body. This isn’t something I’d drink very often, but it has its charm.

I’ve tasted a few meads before, but never a dry rendition, so their Dry Honey Wine ($12) was something new for me. Slightly cloudy, the wine is a light, creamy looking pale honey color. Honey dominates the nose, but 10 months of aging in American oak also gives it a light Christmas spice character that is pretty cool. Medium-to-full body and non-existant acidity make it a little flabby on the palate, but the honey and spice flavors are surprisingly tasty.

Last, and my favorite of the three, is Pointe of View’s Chokecherry Table Wine. Now I have no idea what a chokecherry is, but the wine is a fresh, juicy, medium brick red. It smells and tastes a bit like McDonald’s cherry pie filling without the sweetness. And, six months of age in American oak brings a toasty, musty flavor that brings a little complexity to the table. I drank this at cellar temperature at first (I chilled the other two) and it wasn’t nearly as good as when I chilled it. So, chill it and chug it (not really, but this is a wine to have fun with and not ponder).

No, none of these wines are going to turn up on any wine list at a restaurant near you, but that’s not the point. These two couples have broken new ground in North Dakota. I mean, it has to feel great to be the first winery in an entire state.

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Reader Comments

I am in total awe of your ability to find a winery in North Dakota. Coming from just north of the border, I’ve spent my fair share of time driving through North Dakota and I would never have guessed that the state held a winery.

It’s possible to grow grapes this far north (including ND), but I wouldn’t look for fine wines from this part of the world any time soon. There are hybrid wine grapes (Minnesota-bred varietals I think) being grown in a microclimates in the Red River Valley just north of the Canada/US border, but I wouldn’t expect too much from them.

Good post, and for what it’s worth, chokecherries make darn good jam.