I spend a lot of time fly fishing on the small streams of Southwest Wisconsin. One of the streams I fish regularly runs within 100 yards of Spurgeon Vineyrads' Tasting Room. For all of the times I've fished the stream, I've never been inside the winery, so on my last trip into the area I made a point of stopping into the tasting room for to check it out.
The tasting room is unassuming. The decorating is sparse, but clean. If I had to guess by the layout of the room, I would say that the winery makes as much money on t-shirts and corkscrews as they do on wine. This is the only Wisconsin winery I've been to, but after visiting others in Illinois and Indiana I would say it is a typical Midwestern winery.
The wines were tending on the sweet, and yes that's the residual sugar sweet, side. I don't typically enjoy this style of wine, so I didn't spend much time tasting them. There were a few dry wines including a Chambourcin and a Chardonnay. Most of the wines were forgettable, but there was one standout. The Foce was interesting, complex, and frankly a surprise from this tiny little winery.
I had never tasted, or even heard of, Foce before I tried it in the tasting room, so I did a little reading on it, and the most comprehensive information I found on it was here. Appellation America says Foce is a cold weather grape that is apparently very prevalent in northern wine regions in North America.
I'm tasting the wine as I write this, and I'm finding it different from many of the wines made from grapes in the traditional growing regions. The nose immediately exhibits smoky, earthen aromas. There are no overbearing fruit characteristics that I can detect. The mouthfeel is creamy, almost oily. If I had to guess I would say maybe this wine is in need of some acidity for balance. There is virtually no fruit showing through the wine (thats not a bad thing). I taste woody, earthy flavors, along with some roasted flavors like chocolate or coffee. Overall I think I like this wine, and for the $7.95 I paid for it, it is a decent wine.
I think I will seek out a couple more examples of Foch in the future. This is an interesting grape, with potential for some quality complex wines. In the future, I will continue to visit Spurgeon to see if their efforts with this wine improve. I would say that if you happen to be near Highland, WI with some time to kill you should stop in to Spurgeon.