Applegate Valley, Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon, Oregon
750ml bottle (375ml bottles are also available for purchase in the Wild Wines tasting room)
Dandelion wine was popular way back in the day, when people had less money and didn’t mind spending hours and hours harvesting dandelion flowers. My, how things have changed. Happily, folks like Wild Wines owner and winemaker Carla David are maintaining these old traditions!
It’s not very common these days so I’d be surprised if you’ve tasted it! I had heard of dandelion wine but never run across it until a few years ago. Now I’ve been able to taste amateur winemakers’ versions when judging the Oregon State Fair Amateur Wine Competition over the years but this was my first opportunity to try one made by a professional.
The key to making palatable dandelion wine is to remove the yellow petals from the green flower base. Those green bits called the calyx, make the wine bitter! Carla knows this well and uses only the flower petals in her wine. She harvests the dandelions in April, when the flowers are young and tender, then adding organic sugar and wine yeast and fermenting until the wine is dry.
Bouquet and Palate:
Treat it like white wine and drink it chilled. This wine is quite subtle and delicate in both aroma and mouthfeel. It has a distinct dandelion flavor, along with citrus notes of Meyer lemons and lime zest. I found lovely floral smells of meadow flowers and honeysuckle in this dry, bright dandelion wine. A unique softness developed into a mead-like wine with a long, clean finish.
Food pairing suggestions:
Since this dandelion wine is so delicate, I would avoid any foods that are heavy or very flavorful. I suggest pairing it with a summer cucumber gazpacho, lettuce wraps with a light, creamy dressing, a goat cheese flan, or a cheese plate.
Carla makes quite a few different non-grape wines so I encourage you to check out her online offerings or visit the Wild Wine tasting room in Oregon’s Applegate Valley.
Michele Francisco, a founder and regular contributor to Winerabble, a blog primarily about Pacific Northwest wines, is living the dream in Portland, Oregon. Her passion leads some to believe she's got wine running through her veins. Contact Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org & be sure to visit her online portfolio at www.michelefrancisco.com.