top of page

Narrows Creek Winery

Loganville, Wisconsin

 

Crusin’ Rating: B+

Booze Rating: C

 

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Narrows Creek Winery

This week, The Tipsy Troll and I are checking out a winery while Hannah attends a family event! A little ways south of Reedsburg, WI lies this week’s destination, Narrows Creek Winery in Loganville, WI. This is a winery that previously kept no winter hours and that the initial foray out to review them ended in a frustrating “closed” sign when google listed them as open. We had actually not been looking forward to returning to the location in the event we end up driving another hour both directions only for another closed sign. This trip, I checked more than one source for open hours. When looking at hours of breweries/wineries/distilleries I cannot stress enough to check more than one place for their hours when out doing your own reviewing! More than once we have walked up to a location to review and found they were closed. Not great when we drive long distances to do these reviews.


On a 59 degree and cloudy day, headed out from our previous destination in Rock Springs (coming next week!) just a short 14-minute drive to a homestead winery located amongst some gently rolling hills that are the telltale sign of some Driftless topography. With a large sign by the road, gravel driveway, and pole barn tasting room, Narrows Creek is very much what you would expect of a small country winery. We’ve seen a few homestead wineries that include the owners home and small tasting room - Botham Vineyards and Edwin Brix jump to mind - among others. Parking in what looks to be a newly touched up gravel parking lot, we ended up picking the small building with the logo immediately noticeable to try and enter only to find it locked. For a real moment I was about to call it quits, thinking I had somehow missed the winery being closed - again! Luckily, we spotted what looked like some prom photography happening near the large pole barn and individual pointed us to that large pole barn in order to find the tasting room.



Totally oblivious or perhaps forgetful of the fact the it was the day of the Kentucky Derby, we walked into what looked like a small private party. Neither of us in our Sunday best I, once again, in as many minutes, prepared to be informed that a tasting was out of the question due to a private Derby get together. Those fears were put aside though when several individuals, both employees and guests greeted us warmly and offered us food from their Derby potluck. A kindly woman introduced herself as one of the owners and offered to guide us through a tasting.


Looking around, the pole barn that served as the tasting room was bisected by a free-standing curtain barrier that I would come to learn blocked off some of the production space from the public view. Plastic tables and chairs provided plenty of seating, even though most were empty except for the Derby group. The large garage doors to the pole barn probably make for a welcome breeze and bit of sunshine on a warm day and I spotted a wine slushy machine as well as bingo ball cage and small karaoke machine. It became clear to me that this winery was built to cater to neighbors and friends and my expectations began to soften as time went on. I think that’s an important note. Oftentimes, Hannah and I, rightly so, take the establishments we review seriously, that is to say, we treat them as in competition with the places around Wisconsin that produce the same items. This is an instance though wherein I, not necessarily lowered my standards, but definitely adjusted my viewpoint. The owner told us and made it clear several times that:


“We aren’t out here trying to compete with the Wollersheims of the world, we’re just here because we love to make wine and share it with our friends and neighbors.”

That forthrightness definitely earned my respect, and I definitely adjusted my judgements accordingly. If you’re not familiar - Wollersheim, a large and prosperous winery in Sauk City, WI, is often seen as the premiere Wisconsin winery for several reasons (more to come in a later post). With statewide distribution and an easily recognizable, local name, it wouldn’t be too far off to say they are somewhat of the New Glarus of Wisconsin’s wine scene, albeit on a smaller and arguably more niche scale.


Now, that’s not to say that I am going to lower my standards when reviewing any winery or brewery or any place for that matter, BUT I am definitely going to keep in mind that a winery isn’t looking to really turn out some award-chasing wines, but just some imbibements for the local community to enjoy. The owners have been making wine as a hobby for 40 years and opened the winery to the public in 2017.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Narrows Creek Winery- Outdoor space

Dogs are allowed in the space, in or outdoors and we were visited a handful of times by the winery dog throughout our tasting. Cheese and non-alcoholic beverages are available in a cooler, but beer and cocktails will need to be sought out at a tavern rather than the winery. By far one of the cheapest tastings we’ve done at a mere $5 a person, we were taken down the full list of wines, given a small bag of pretzels and complimentary chocolate. Each wine is described below with assistance from the Tipsy Troll. We were unable to obtain the ABV’s of each wine during our tasting for lack of time and were unable to find them after the fact via Narrows Creek’s socials.


Blueberry Concord - This red smelled generously of dried red berries and was very tart like the skins of fresh blueberries.


Cranberry Raisin - This light red wine smelled similar to Ocean Spray and had a medium-high tannin content with notes of popped cranberries, raspberry and peach.


Summer Citrus - This golden white smelled of lemon and orange and tasted of lemon zest, orange rind, and was fairly bright. Noticeably, the rhubarb in this wine (rather than grapes) was the underlying tasting note backbone. This wine was quite bright overall.


A Good Evening - This light ruby red smelled of sweetened pomegranate syrup and strawberry juice, almost like you made some homemade grenadine syrup and tasted not unlike a light POMM juice.


Peach Chardonnay - This white smelled of fuzzy peach skin and citrus zest with a touch of pear flesh. This white was actually almost totally colorless when held up to the light and could easily be mistaken for water, however your taste buds are going to be hit with plenty of peach notes. This one reminded me of a slightly stronger (in flavor) and flat peach mineral water.


Summer Tea - A pale gold wine featuring black tea, lemons, and grapes - meant to emulate iced tea. I got an herbal, almost vegetal note mixed with some noticeable citric acid mixed in. I got that black tea bitterness and vegetal taste of tea leaves and a finish of straight lemon when tasting this wine. Not quite for me, but I’ve always been more partial to sweet tea to begin with.


Sweet Wickett - This white had a prominent bouquet of sweet pineapple and vanilla. You’d think from that description that I was describing an IPA, but no beer here as even with eyes closed you can definitely tell this is a wine - trust me, we’ve tested it many times. There was plenty of vanilla present when tasting this wine that eventually moved to pineapple and when taken together give the impression of a mango sorbet. I thought to myself how great of a summer slushy this would make and at reasonable price of 14 dollars per bottle picked this wine up so Hannah could make use of the slushee kit she was gifted. This wine was easily my favorite of the bunch.


Strawberry Jam - Another Rhubarb-based wine, this one poured almost bourbon brown in color and smelled of dark strawberry jam with a taste to match with just a little push of that rhubarb sourness at the finish. I have a feeling sweet wine drinkers will be sticking to this one.


Rhubarb Raspberry - With both of those ingredients in a red wine my hopes were up to find a wine with enough tartness to make it to Hannah’s list of preferred wines - as you know she’s always hoping for the tart-est cranberry wine she can find this was the first wine made by the owners and was made as a way to make use of Rhubarb in the garden that just refused to quit growing. With almost entirely rhubarb in the bouquet, this wine had notes of strawberry sweetness rather than raspberry for me when tasting that I chalked up to the Rhubarb messing with my taste buds. This wine was definitely benefited by the chocolate that accompanied our tasting.


Blackberry Merlot - Crushed, slightly under ripe blackberries fill the nose with this red mixed with raspberry and syrupy strawberry, this wine had a deep sweetness to it, not unlike blackberry brandy. Having had unpleasant memories from past birthdays involving Leroux, this wine was a little too close to home for me to enjoy fully. I feel like this one could have benefited from a little more acidity in order to balance out the sweetness.


I really appreciated the owner taking the time to chat with us and walk us through each of the wines, despite the Derby being on and even being patient as we took a little time past their official hours as we wrapped up our notes. She cued us into something that we haven’t run across before, a wine making kit. The owners, for a really reasonable fee, will assist you in making your own wine from a list of kits and you can be as involved or hands-off as you want to be. The production process is hosted right at the winery and at the end of the process you leave with the entirety of the 30-plus bottles you make. Now, I know a bit about making beer and even more about making mead but much of the wine process is a mystery to me, and for just a few hundred bucks if I can make my own wine and have 30 bottles by the end of it? Even if the wine is objectively terrible - how cool is it to bring a group of friends and make your Christmas gifts for the year? How about a wedding party or wedding shower? Really a program worth checking out and you might see a bottle or two of Crusin' For Booze Vintage ‘24 floating around the home bar before too long.


Between that and the all-around good neighbor vibe we received while doing this review I will recommend that if you are coming from Madison to check out Baraboo for a ladies weekend or just looking for a non-stressful summertime (soon to be winter hours as well!) spot to sip on some humble - if a little Wisconsin fruit-forward wines - then look no further. The wine creation program alone probably makes this a must stop if you’re in the Madison area, but it may be a little impractical if you’re coming from farther than that. The one thing I would suggest though is, pack a lunch or picnic if you’re going to visit as we did not see a lot of food options in the surrounding area!



Until next time, keep on cruisin’, don’t stop boozin’!


To learn more about Narrows Creek Winery, please visit their website at: https://www.narrowscreekwinery.com/ or on Facebook: @NarrowsCreekWinery or on Instagram: @NarrowsCreekWinery





67 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page