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Wine Girls Route du Vin Wine Diva Weekend

Wine Girls Route du Vin Wine Diva Weekend

by C & B

Last weekend the iLuvWine Girls hit the road…the Route du Vin in the Sainte Genevieve County to be exact.

 

C: B. and I were invited to participate in the “Wine Diva Weekend.” Though I insisted that this event had been created just for us (just look at the name!) we found out that it is actually an annual event held the third weekend of each November.

 

B: Like C said, this is an actual event so it’s nice to know someone else recognizes our awesomeness and created a whole event named after us! That’s how it happened, right? No? Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, this is a fun-filled weekend available at a great price. For $25 you get a souvenir wine glass and wine tote (you’ve got to have something to remember the weekend) that is also your ticket to the wine and food pairings along the route. This year, there were six wineries featured and of course, the goal is to make it to all of the stops so you can have your card stamped to enter into a grand prize drawing. It was a beautiful fall Saturday, so C and I hopped in the car and took off to “wine” through Ste. Genevieve County.

 

C: Our first stop was Sainte Genevieve Winery in the heart of historic Ste. Gen. The winery is one of the oldest in the region (established in 1983) and is family owned and operated. It is also easy to find their wines throughout Southeast Missouri as they are widely distributed and available in stores like Schnucks. We managed to pull up in front of the winery at the same time as our old friends Tom and Suzanne from Vines-2-Wines Excursions. They had a bus full of Divas who were ready to sip and sample just like B and I. We knew it was bound to be a fun day in the company of this crew! (I may have gotten to know a few of them a little too well thanks to a bathroom door that doesn’t lock…ummmmm…take a friend if you gotta go. LOL!)

 

B: As C mentioned, sip and sample we did. Sainte Genevieve Winery is known for their fruit wines so if that’s what you go for, make this your next stop. This time of year, I do like their Christmas Plum to use in a spiked cider.

 

C: Like many people in the area, Ste. Gen’s wines were some of the first “Southeast Missouri” wines I ever tasted. Their sweet fruit wines make them a favorite of many drinkers who like their wines to have a sweet, jammy taste. Their Blackberry wine has long been a favorite of my mother. Because I was expecting a sweeter wine, I was (pleasantly) surprised by the tartness of the cranberry wine we sampled during the tour. After the initial shock to my tongue, I really enjoyed the rich cranberry flavor which paired fantastically with the pumpkin cranberry bread served to the Wine Divas.

 

B: I agree with C. The cranberry wine was definitely tart but paired with the bread it really brought out the flavors in both. I also picked up some great blue glass bottles to use somewhere in my apartment. Twelve bottles. Trust me, I will think of something to do with them! Anyway, we couldn’t linger too long. We had several more stops to make so we bid our friends farewell and hit the road again.

 

C: I’m cracking up at the mental image of B sitting in her apartment surrounded by her beautiful blue glass wine bottles. …suuuurrree you bought those bottles empty…you lush. LOL.

Meanwhile back on the wine trail…as we headed out of Ste. Genevieve toward the Cave winery (our next stop) I was reminded of just how beautiful the drive is. The weather was perfect for our adventure and both B. and I agreed that it was a great day to be the iLuvWine girls!

 

B: Exactly! You know, there really isn’t anything better than hitting the wine trail on a lovely, sunny Saturday afternoon. We rolled in to Cave Winery and immediately headed towards their Biscotti Bar. There were numerous assortments of biscotti available but the Divas pairing was the Chardonel Off Dry and Pumpkin Biscotti. Admittedly, I am not a fan of pumpkin anything. Give me sweet potato pie any day! But I really did enjoy the biscotti especially after the suggestion that we dunk it into the wine. I know that may be uncouth to a true aficionado but try it just one time. You’ll be amazed!! We tried a couple of other options (I recommend the goat cheese and herb. I could’ve have eaten every single one on the bar.) and also tasted a few other wines. The Chardonel Off Dry was so refreshing I had to have a bottle to take home. After our sampling, we wistfully looked at the cave but hopped in the car instead to head to the next stop.

 

C: I’m with B on the quality of both the wines and the baked goods at Cave. Each time I visit I am impressed with the constantly increasing quality of their wines. They could easily rely on the novelty of having a winery above a natural cave but they continue to strive for improvement in their facility and their wine quality. In fact, I may have filled up my wine bag…if you buy six bottles is it a six-pack?

Though  both B and I agreed that we could have happily planted ourselves at Cave for the afternoon, we had places to go and wines to taste! Our next stop was Chaumette to sample their Assemblage wine paired with a crispy chicken croquette with roasted red pepper coulis and creamy orzo pasta…admit it…you would have rushed on to try that deliciousness too!

 

B: I have to say, Chaumette is one of my absolute favorite wineries in Southeast Missouri. The wines are amazing (try the Huguenot Red…it’s really sweet but so good…), have lunch in the Grapevine Grill and check out the amazing grounds that include a chapel, 26 villas and a spa. I have every intention of spending an entire weekend wine-ing and spa-ing very soon. There’s just something about Chaumette that makes everything great. And if you get the chance, have a conversation with the owner, Hank. You’ll learn so much about wines and what truly goes into making Chaumette a unique experience.

 

C: If you haven’t visited Chaumette you are missing out. Really! The relaxed French countryside vibe and the outstanding food make it a MUST for any wine tourist. B. and I both agree that you should plan your trip itinerary around a meal at Chaumette. You won’t be disappointed. Speaking of disappointed, some of our fellow wine divas found out the hard way about Chaumette’s popularity. The lines for tastings were out the door and those without meal reservations were looking at wait times of over an hour (for large groups.) Several shuttles (including those Vines-2-Wines girls) pulled up just as B and I arrived and the staff was a bit overwhelmed by the crush. I’m sharing this to prepare you to plan ahead. If you want to visit Chaumette for lunch or dinner, play it safe and make reservations. Pack your very own wine goody bag and prepare to relax and ride out the crush of people if you happen to arrive at a busy time. The Chaumette experience will be worth the wait. We promise!

 

B: Chaumette has long been a favorite of mine and I was stoked to spend a little extra time there to enjoy the atmosphere. We headed just down the road to Charleville Winery where we decided to veer off the path just a bit and sample the seasonal beer first. C was on a mission for a beer they offered last year but we tried a new seasonal option instead. The Whiskey Scented Santa was ah-ma-zing!! Unfortunately, they only serve it on tap and C and I couldn’t figure out how to strap a keg to the Honda so we’ll just have to make another trip to have a round. We headed down to the cabin to taste their Dry Chardonel which was paired with a savory Corn and Green Chili Pudding. The pudding was a pleasant surprise being warm, sweet and spicy. We had a wonderful conversation with a group of ladies we’d seen several times throughout the day. They’re friends from all over the state (a few from out of state) who’ve gotten together for the Wine Divas Weekend since its inception. They seemed like they were having a blast and really had great things to say to C and me.

 

C: Admittedly, B. is not much of a beer girl but I couldn’t wait to get to Charleville to try their newly-tapped seasonal beers. You heard me…beers at a winery! Yes, Charleville has award-winning wines but in my book, the beers (and the scenery) take center-stage at Charleville. Even ole’ beer skeptic B. found something to rave over in the tasting room. (I’m not saying I told you so but…lol.) Seriously, she better be glad I wasn’t driving or we would have come home with a keg of Santa’s cheer. It doesn’t get any better than a smooth, dark porter aged in bourbon barrels. Yummy!

A beautifully refurbished 1860’s log cabin adjacent to the tasting room serves as a two-room Bed & Breakfast for guests on weekends. As B mentioned, it is also where we had a chance to gather around the rustic dinner table and chat with some of our fellow wine divas. Since 2006 this group has been coming together each November to soak up the Wine Diva experience. They gave us some invaluable tips and a bit of constructive feedback on the event. The tips included plan to get an early start if you want to visit all the stops on the tour and don’t expect the same experience each year as the wines, foods and number of divas on the trail can vary each year. No matter what the trail might have in store, I suspect these ladies would find a way to have fun!

 

B: As dusk was upon us, we decided to head back home. My deep-seated fear of winding roads, the dark and deer season gave us no choice. We unfortunately didn’t have time to make it to the final two wineries but I think that was poor planning on our part. We know better for next year. We are definitely going to make it to those we missed soon and we’ll blog on our visit.

 

C:  For more information on the Route Du Vin, check out their website. If you want to recreate our Wine Diva Weekend experience at home try one of these recipes:

Charleville’s Corn Pudding (pair with Off-Dry Chardonel)

 

INGREDIENTS:
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1/4 pound butter, softened
1 (8.5 ounce) package corn bread mix
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put butter in 2 quart casserole dish, place in oven until melted.
2. Remove casserole dish and add creamed corn, kernel corn, corn muffin mix and sour cream. Mix well, bake uncovered approximately 30 minutes.

If you would rather watch your recipes, check out this clip from feaststl.com where Chaumette’s Chef Adam shares his “ahmaaazing”  recipe for Coq Au Vin click here!

 

NOW Go Drink Some WINE!!!

 

The Wine Girls enjoy visiting some of the area's wineries and sharing their experiences with you! More of their adventures can be found here.

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