First in the cold climate wine tasting experiment is Voyageur from Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings. ABV describes it as "...a big, opulent and rich red wine that uses a blend of Alexis Bailly grapes -- old world French grapes and new varieties developed by the University of Minnesota."
The grapes used in Voyageur are Leon Millot and Marechal Foch (part of ABV's original plantings - the vines came from France), and Frontenac, one of the new world grapes developed at the University of Minnesota.
ABV says it is "deeply colored with rich flavor, bold and opulent fruit flavors of black berries, smoky vanilla aromas." True. The color is very pleasant, the flavor is driven by the fruit and finishes dry. I wasn't able to ID the aroma as smoky vanilla with our first tasting, but revisiting a taste after reading the notes, I can see how they arrive at that description.
There was something about this that was completely unfamiliar to me. Not that I'm an expert by any stretch, but certainly have had enough wine in my life to recognize a thing or two. This one was definately different, but it made me curious to try more. Of course there are million things that affect the taste. I've got to get more familiar with what those things are locally.
We drank this with spaghetti in a rich sauce and wild rice meatballs. ABV recommends "hearty pastas, grilled meats, wild game." It worked with our meal, but it made me want to try it with wild game. This one is a good candidate for more research.