Grape Sense: Making the best of fruit wines 

click to enlarge Blueberries at Huber Winery
  • Blueberries at Huber Winery

Michigan has long been known for its apples, cherries, blueberries and more. Indiana has raspberries, blackberries, and peaches, and more. Winemakers have been turning those fruits to wines for decades. But what do you do for dinner if your wine rack only has fruit wine choices?

Just use a dose of logic, like pairing a cranberry wine with poultry - or a raspberry wine with just about anything chocolate. The sweetness level of the wine will set the bar for sweet, semi-sweet, or a robust dark chocolate dessert.

Generally, wine drinkers will think of a sweeter Riesling or Gewürztraminer for spicy Asian food. Why not try a peach wine with a spicy pairing? You might be surprised how well it complements big strong flavors. You can always fall back to grape wines and pair a semi-sweet, Midwestern Traminette. Huber Winery, with Indiana's biggest vineyard and acres more of fruit and vegetables, makes Peach, Strawberry, Apple, and Blackberry wines.

"We partner one of our semi-sweet sparkling wines with a peach and a graham cracker as an appetizer," said Dana Huber, Huber Winery. "But obviously people just enjoy them as a perfect glass of wine independent as dessert in a glass. Certainly brownies or cheesecake can be a great match as far as sweet wines."

"We've had some customers marinate steaks in our blackberry wine which it gives it a really nice tenderness and a little sweetness on it," she says. "The sweet wines are definitely something home cooks can use in their recipes."

French Lick Winery produces an award-winning cherry wine that's great with desserts. "One of the things with the cherry we recommend is to try it with goat cheese," said French Lick's Kim Doty. "It sounds weird, but it's really a great match."

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