The particular taste of a wine is a function of the variety of grape, the soil and growing conditions and the way it’s harvested and fermented. Nebraska is not California, France or Italy, and varieties of grapes that do well there, don’t do as well here — and vice versa. Just because you may be unfamiliar with a particular variety of grape is no reason not to give it a try. You may be just a glass away from your next favorite wine.
Edelweiss – It is the most widely grown grape in Nebraska. It makes the number one selling Nebraska wine and was developed by Elmer Swenson. The flavor profile is semisweet to sweet — sweetness to start then a burst of tartness to finish. Pair Edelweiss with pome fruit or salads. It is refreshing as a summer drink.
LaCrosse – The flavor profile is dry to semisweet. It has aromas of pear, apricot, slight Muscat, citrus and floral. It is good with seafood, chicken, pasta dishes and light salads.
Brianna – A relatively new grape from Minnesota, the flavor profile is semisweet to sweet, with tropical fruit flavors like pineapple. It pairs well with salads, fruits, lemon tart or cheesecake and lighter cheeses. It is a nice companion to Chinese or Thai cuisine.
Frontenac – This is a diverse grape that is widely grown in Nebraska. It is made into a variety of styles of wine, from Rose’ to Port. It will produce a deep colored wine with cherry, blackberry, black currant and plum notes. It pairs well with hearty foods such as duck, pheasant, lamb, beef and pasta dishes made with tomato and eggplant. The dessert or Port-style Frontenac produces cherry or blackberry flavors with prunes and pairs well with chocolate.
Chambourcin – This grape produces one of the best full-body wines currently in Nebraska. A mature wine can give a nice soft finish with cherry notes. It does well when aged in American oak and is excellent with grilled meats or Italian dishes.
DeChaunac – This produces a medium- to full-body wine. It is a Beaujolais-style wine when aged in oak and shows hints of fruit with low to mild tannin content, also hints of an earthy bouquet. It can be enjoyed alone or paired with roasted lamb or pork.
Marechal Foch – This is a red grape with a dry to semisweet profile. While the styles range from blush to full body, it is most popular as a blush. It pairs well with fish, seafood and salads.