Time for fall, time for Marquette - Minnesota Uncorked™

Time for fall, time for Marquette

Finally. I have been counting the days and watching the calendar and waiting, waiting, waiting for the weather to cool down enough to make the switch to cooler weather reds – not necessarily great big reds, but reds with a little more weight and fruit than the acidic whites and roses of summer.

Finally, it seems that the weather got here last week and its time for the falling leaves, braised meats and vegetables, and red wine. Time for Marquette.

Originally I thought that Marquette would be best used as a blending wine – meaning that it could be used mostly to stretch other wines that had more intrigue, but the innovative winemakers have found ways to treat Marquette and make some delightfully interesting wines.

This past summer, I served as a judge for the 2019 International Cold Climate Wine Competition (ICCWC). Marquette wines were popular and among the winners at the ICCWC, including Best of Show Red awarded to Vintage Escapes Winery for their 2018 Marquette a Double Gold to Schram Vineyards for their 2017 Marquette. While different treatment in terms of fruitiness and oak these (as well as others) were fine examples of dry Marquettes.

I found that most of the Marquettes that I have tried and judged to be a little softer than the other cold climate such as Frontenac, with the Marquette having more plentiful fruit.

Developing a seasoning to compliment Marquette

I assembled a series of tasting panels including a number of trusted palates to identify a spice mix that would compliment Marquette. We tried numerous combinations of herbs and spices, and have included our favorite to pair with Marquette below.

Spice Mix
2 parts each of: cocoa and ginger
one part each of: onion powder, garlic powder and mint

This would make an easy combination to add to anything from rub for different meats to adding to cheese balls. Even leaving out the onion and garlic and adding to sweet dishes.

We even did a pairing that was roasted almonds covered in those spices, and Marquette  prepared as a dry red wine matched the flavor very well.

Not many Marquettes that find their way to port – though I suspect that the cocoa, ginger and mint would match well to a Marquette-based port wine, too. Or, perhaps with creme brulee with a dusting of cocoa to the top, crunchy sugar, and a mint sprig.

The primary concern is to match the body style of the wine to the main part of the meal. And, using the spice combination mentioned – or parts thereof on different parts of the meal, to help bring all of the flavors together — I love when the same seasoning works on multiple parts of a meal.

Below are a few ideas for pairing with Marquette.


Braised beef roast 

  • Roll a beef roast in the spice mixture above, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sear well on all sides
  • Deglaze the pan with a couple splashes of Marquette (or beef stock or even water to loosen the charred bits on the pan bottom – make sure you leave it in the pan!)
  • Add a pint of beef or other stock, a chopped onion, a few sliced carrots and a stalk of celery, chopped. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the roast back in.
  • Place the pan in a 230 degree oven for at least two hours (or as long as 7 hours – the house will smell good!)
  • Check it periodically and if the liquid has disappeared, add a bit more.


Roasted Butternut Squash (works well with root vegetables, too) 

  • Clean and peel the squash and cut into 1×3 inch chunks
  • Toss with olive (or other) oil
  • Sprinkle with any combination of the spices listed above for Marquette (we use ginger, onion, oregano and mint but any or all will match the Marquette)
  • Roast in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes then turn oven down to 350 and roast until soft – if making with the beef roast above, simply roast the squash for 20 minutes at 425 fist (it wont mess up the roast) then turn the oven back down for the roast and put the squash back in with the roast for the last 40 minutes of roasting time.


Or if you prefer, you can always just pari your Marquette with a glass!

Happy Pairing,
Chad Stoltenberg
Locust Lane Vineyards

About The Author

Chad Stoltenberg

Chad holds credentials through Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET 2, distinction) and the International Wine and Spirits Guild where his credentials also include wine and food pairing, Certified Wine Judge (CWJ) and Certified Wine Educator (CWE). Locust Lane Vineyards is at Chad’s family farm in Southwest Minnesota and is co-owned with his wife Sheri Stone. Their grapes are used for Locust Lane’s production of verjus and balsamic vinegar. Many of the pairing and recipes are developed specifically for cold climate grapes, specializing in the specific flavors that work with our special cold climate grapes and the finest wines from around the world.
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