This past weekend we had the pleasure of camping with friends at Lake Carlyle. We spent the days going for a run, swimming, kayaking and the nights I introduced my friends to Midwest wine.

Friday we started with a new outdoor-friendly pouch of Friendship school white from St. James Winery. We loved that the pouch cooled quickly in our cooler in about 20 minutes and the easy pour spout. For dinner we made a portobello mushroom caprese salad. You can see the full review plus recipe here.


We were excited that our campsite was right on the water. Saturday we carried our kayaks down to the water for what we thought was a quick kayak trip to the beach. Instead it turned into a 4 hour tour. We were starving when we got back and grilled up sirloin steak with sweet potatoes and grilled corn. I was so hungry I forgot to take photos.

Onto the wine on Saturday! We started with one of my recent favorites: Alto Vineyards Chambourcin. This Chambourcin is a dry red that is bursting with fruity flavors of cherry and plum with a really long smooth finish. Read the full review of Alto Vineyard’s Chambourcin here.


A little behind the scenes look on how we did the tasting. We used Wine Spectator’s Wine Tasting kit and a wine wheel of different possible wine adjectives. Plus, you can see the two different glasses these were tasted in: Innate stainless steel cup with lid and a stemless wine glass.


Next up we tried Chaumette Winery’s 2010 Norton Reserve, another of my husband and I’s faves. I handed a cup of this to my husband who was talking by the camp fire and he took one sip and said “this is a really really good Norton.” Back over at the wine tasting table, my new to Midwest wine friends, weren’t as wowed as Mat and I. If you have never had a Norton before and took a sip for the first time, what would your reaction be? Their reaction was: dry, red, blackberry, earthy, and unlike anything they have ever tasted. The end result? They preferred the more fruit forward Chambourcin. The good news? That left more Norton for us 🙂


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