Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Jasper Winery Innovates With Infused Wine Options

Bourbon, vanilla, and coffee flavors swirl in new wine offering.

Wine Has A Growing Hold On Iowa

A quick search of our website will show that this is the first article about wine from Iowa. That’s not really a surprise, but even though Iowa wine flies below the radar, the state wine industry appears to be on the upswing. From only 30 acres of wine grapes in 2000, two decades later there are 100 wineries and more than 1,200 acres of vineyards.

Keep up with the latest. Follow us on Instagram!

We were approached by winemaker Mason Groben, a winemaker from Jasper Winery in Iowa, to try some truly different wine. He graduated in 2003 from UC Davis and returned to assist with the family winery. Mason’s involvement sparked success, including write-ups in the New York Times and Wine Spectator. Ensuing growth caused them to relocate to Des Moines and a larger facility.

The winery produces some 100% Iowa wines featuring cold-hardy grapes like Seyval Blanc, Chancellor, and Marquette. They also produce fun wines like Bed Head Red and All-Night White.

Innovating In The Barrel

Mason has experience at wineries in Sonoma, New York, New Zealand and Australia. He also has worked in the craft beer industry and likes to develop innovative wine products. Did I mention innovation? That was the reason he contacted us recently.

Never Miss A Beat – Follow Vino-Sphere On Facebook

Jasper has released a line of bourbon barrel-aged wines that are also infused with some interesting flavors. We recently popped open their Red Blend vanilla and coffee-infused wines.

Sipping these wines requires a reset of your tastebuds. Instead of expecting a Cabernet Sauvignon with some toasty notes, these wines move into the category of a beverage to sip as an after-dinner wine or even (dare I say it?) on the rocks. The 500 ml bottles are short and stout with cork stoppers, giving the appearance of spirits or craft beverages.

Bourbon Barrel Bold

Both wines are aged for four months in Elijah Craig bourbon barrels. Kudos to Jasper for picking a respected bourbon as part of the project. Both wines have a robust caramel flavor as a result. The wines also tip the scales at 15.8% ABV, again lending to the feeling of a craft beverage rather than simply a red wine.

The secondary flavors are where the two bottles diverge. The vanilla wine is infused with organic vanilla while the coffee wine is infused with cold brew coffee. Regular barrel aging in American oak can impart vanilla notes, especially new barrels. Bourbon barrel aging takes it to a whole new level. The vanilla in the Jasper bourbon barrel-aged wine is much more pronounced and is on equal footing with the berry notes of the red wine.

For us, the Jasper coffee moves a step further towards the craft beverage realm. The coffee flavor is powerful, almost like coffee beans. To appreciate the flavors fully, slow down and sip. Our neighbor Marjorie shared the wine and loved it.

The infused Red Blend wines retail for $15. We would suggest them for a unique treat, maybe even paired with a tasting of chocolates. The wines are on the heavier side, so we wouldn’t suggest them for a hot afternoon, but perhaps for a chilly evening or unwinding after dinner.

Full disclosure: These wines were received as marketing samples.

No comments: