Full-bodied red wine pairs well with hotdish

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wine review by Catherine Buboltz
Photo by Colleen Harrison

In my travels to northern Minnesota I’ve been seeing a multitude of advertisements for Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria. It had piqued my interest and I vowed to visit the vineyard and sample their wines at some point.wine.review

While I have not been able to experience the winery, I did run across the opportunity to purchase one of Carlos Creek Winery’s wines during a recent visit to the northern Minnesota town of Battle Lake.

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I picked up a bottle of Minnesota Nice Hot Dish Red red table wine. The bottle of wine cost $20 and was packaged in a bottle with a cute label consisting of two moose having a picnic in the woods. Its claim to fame is that it pairs well with leftovers and Minnesota’s unofficial state food: hotdish.

In tasting the wine it was a full-bodied, sweet red wine with excellent color. I found out it is one of Carlos Creek Winery’s best-selling and most award-winning wines.

Its bold taste comes from cold climate grapes, bred to withstand extreme Minnesota winters, called valiant grapes. There is also a hint of blackberry to balance the sweetness.

In the early 1900s Ole and Spike, honest-to-goodness uncles of Carlos Creek Winery owner Kim Bredeson, made wines in their bathtub from any produce they could spare. Today, the Carlos Creek Winery Minnesota Nice wines honor the spirit of these early wine-making pioneers while utilizing modern wine-making techniques.

Carlos Creek Winery recently shared a recipe utilizing the Hot Dish Red in a wine version of Jell-O shots called wine bites. Cheers!


Wine bites

1 3/4 cups Hot Dish Red wine

1 1/2 cups limeade

3/4 cup Cointreau

4 packets Knox Gelatine

Zest of lime for garnish


Mix first three ingredients in a small saucepan. Add Knox and let sit three minutes until gel softens. Turn heat to medium and heat for a few minutes until gel is completely dissolved. Pour into a 9-inch square pan that has been lined with plastic wrap. Chill covered overnight.

To unmold, turn gelatin over onto a cutting board, remove plastic and cut into 36 pieces. Top each with lime zest and serve immediately.