Commercial cranberry production (enough that Ocean Spray has a local juice plant) is big business in Bandon By-the-Sea, Oregon. We spent a couple of days walking the beaches and enjoying the ‘Old Harbor’ feel of the town. On our way out we stopped in the local Creamery (cheeses and ice cream from local dairy farms) to pick up ‘squeaky cheese’ for my partner in wine. Mosying through the shop, watching the next batch of cheese being started, and nearly stumbling on a display of local cranberry wines we had to decide which of the Sea Mist wines (http://www.seamistwine.com) to take with us; fruit wines need to be tried wherever they are found. Thankfully this place has a small bar to pour tastes and glasses of wine and beer so we could try each of them. Thinking we would opt for the ‘semi-sweet’ Cranberry we started with that (‘off dry’), way sweeter than anticipated. We had the original Cranberry next and found the crisp tartness at the end more acceptable than the sweet finish of the first one. I make my own cranberry sauce because I don’t care for how sweet the canned version is – the original version is more like my fresh cranberry sauce. For comparison we also tried the Cranberry Blueberry Wine – nice flavors but still sweeter over all than we were looking for. No need to taste the Cranberry Raspberry Wine since we felt confident we made our choice. Walking out the door with a double Gold award winner from the 2009 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition was satisfying to say the least! It also won Gold at the 2010 Los Angeles Wine & Spirits Competition.
This wine, 9% ABV, NV, became a birthday celebrating wine (my choice). Those of you that follow my blog know that we have been making fruit wine for the last several years. We strive for balance in a dry wine style rather than just dessert-style wines. Our last year’s currant wine, home-grown and fermented, is a sweet-tart wine good for either dinner or dessert. In comparison, this Original Cranberry Wine is slightly tart – the off dry was almost as sweet with minimal tartness to balance it – but still sweet. I am enjoying it with a dark chocolate cookie (in place of birthday cake) and it is fantastic! The bittersweet chocolate brings out the tartness in the wine beautifully. In fact, I might have to try this pairing with our currant wine to see how it is.