Troublemaker Red Wine Fits a Rabble-Rousing Weekend

The rolling hills of western Iowa are blanketed with perfectly rowed corn plants, all dried down and waiting to be harvested.  Tucked into the hills is the charming community of Ida Grove, where the annual “Wine & Bier Contest” is held.  We traveled there for this 38th annual meeting, where we were privileged to act as judges, Jeff for the commercial and amateur beer contest, and myself for the amateur wine contest.


The contest comes complete with a cast of quirky characters.  Some wear lederhosen and dirndl skirts–I am not kidding.  Some are local doctors and bankers; others are winemakers or home brewers.  Many local people come just to taste the winning beverages and food–did I mention there is a potluck dinner??  Again, no kidding.

It all takes place at the Ida Grove Country Club, which sports heavy dark wood interior, reminiscent of an old castle.  In fact one of the community founders was fond of castles and built several castle-like structures throughout town.  They still stand today.

When the competition has ended and the bottles have been sampled, the locals pack up their leftovers, winners gather their trophies, and all find their way home.

Our merry band of miscreants ended up at Haus Ernst, a beautiful B&B owned by hosts Ellen and Duane Ernst.  Yes, he is wearing lederhosen; yes, we might all be leaning just a tad, and my wine choice was Troublemaker.  It just made sense.

Troublemaker Red Wine is a Paso Robles blend of 55% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, along with bits of Petite Syrah and Zinfandel.  Winemaker Austin Hope uses a multi-vintage approach to create a complex, yet ready-to-drink wine.

The wine presents a dark garnet color holding aromas of black cherry, smoky oak and earthy herbs.  The palate is full of sweet black cherry and vanilla with licorice and a big hit of spice. The spice really hangs on.  Even given the soft, sweet red fruits, this wine is intense and insists on a bit of time in the glass or decanter to soften and settle down, as would any troublemaker.

Our visits to Haus Ernst always end with a quick stop at the Ernst Iowa Pigseum where a barn is filled with all kinds of pig paraphernalia.  Pig statues, pig cutting boards, pig tee shirts, pig books, pig dishes, pigs that fly, pigs that dance…well, I could go on.  And again, I couldn’t make this up if I tried.  Did I mention the side room filled with beer steins, shot glasses and a bottle of Jaegermeister?

Ah well, let me just say Troublemaker Red wine fit in perfectly with our rabble-rousing weekend in Ida Grove…

About the author: Sue Navratil

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  1. Sue Navratil - Oct 23, 2013 Reply

    I like the wine bottle sitting among the growlers of beer!

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