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Whispering Bluffs Winery

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Potosi, WI

 

Cruisin Rating: B+

Booze Rating: C-

 

Today we are taking you to another scenic little town along the Mississippi River! This town is another favorite of ours not only for the fantastic fish fry, but because of just how unique it is. There’s tons of character from a town with a population around six hundred and each time we go there we discover something new as well as find enjoyment in retreading old ground. I’m talking of course about Potosi.


Potosi sits a mere hundred yards off the Mississippi river in what appears to be a deep ravine. The town is a single street with houses and shops either side who’s yards end in steep, muddy bluffs. And when I say they end in bluffs, I’m not saying a gradual slope. The yards literally ascend at an 80 degree angle at the very least. It’s wild to see and hearkens to some of the moonshine towns of Tennessee. It never ceases to amaze just how different the Driftless Region is from the other parts of this great state we live in.


The first trip we took to Potosi was in the dead of winter during the year of COVID. It was a ghost town, leaving us alone to enjoy the brewery in eerie silence. This time, in late June, my grandparents came as guest tasters and the little town was abuzz with activity. While I cannot extol the deliciousness of the Fish Fry at the Potosi Brewery enough, that will wait for the brewery post. This entry takes us a whopping twenty steps away from the brewery across the street to the humble Whispering Bluffs Winery.




Whispering bluffs is a charming little winery whose space is centered around a plush couch that serves as a seating area. Although it does look like the space would be cramped from the outside, never judge a book by it’s cover. The interior houses a grand piano, a case full of handmade chocolates, wine racks filled with product and a wine bar. Behind that bar stood our host, Pete Bomba. A young man in his mid twenties, Pete was ecstatic to hear about our blog and share his knowledge of wine with us. The great-nephew of the founder of Whispering Bluffs, Pete is being groomed to one day take over the business. It was plain how enthusiastic he was about the wines they produce and honestly, even had the wine been the worst on earth, Pete’s cheerfulness would have kept anyone’s spirits high.


This hometown feel is something that, coming from a moderate town, (though still ten times the size of Potosi) I can definitely appreciate whole-heartedly. For my grandparents first wine tasting (in conjunction with this blog), I could not have asked for a more wonderful host. While the space itself wasn’t amazing, the host more than makes up for it.


You know how I could tell Pete was a stand-up guy? He asked that, regardless of what I thought of the wine, he wanted to read this blog. He told us he didn’t care if it was the worst review I’d ever written. He’d still read it and take something from it. If that’s not the attitude of someone determined to be successful in the wine business, then I truly don’t know what is.


Without further ado. Actually, there will be some further ado, but I’ll save it for last. Anyway, on to the wine!


For a mere $5.00 you get to enjoy five samples of wine. A fair price for sure, especially for someone reviewing since it lets you do several tastings without eating up a big chunk of cash. I found this price to be both approachable and reasonable.


I think off the bat I owe our readers a slight caveat. I know you are all used to seeing the ABV listed with whatever we try. However, I could not see that listed on the bottle. A quick fun fact, the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau (TTB) requires that ABV be present on a wine label. So, although I did not see it, and I did not see it listed on the website, I am sure it’s there. You’ll have to forgive this post's distinct lack of that information. What I can tell you is featured on the label is some lovely artwork, the originals of which are painted by the founder of Whispering Bluffs and feature some of the local birds of the area.



Bottle of a wine we sampled


Marechal Foch - a popular hardy red grape that can withstand the Wisconsin Cold, Marechal Foch is one that I quite enjoy. This wine was ruby-scarlet in color, with jammy notes of raspberry, a slightly plummy nose with a touch of spice. High acidity and low tannins made this an easy-drinking wine.


Kingfisher - This wine was 3 months old. I found it to be too young to truly bring out the complexities of the grapes. There was some tart red fruit on the nose if you looked hard but mostly you got a nose full of ethanol. It’s a shame since I had been looking forward to a blend of Marquette, Marechal Fosh, Noiret, Petite Pearl, and St. Croix grapes as I continue my search for a Wisconsin red to serve with Filet au Poivre. The search continues.


Tufted Titmouse (Rose) - A blend of Edelweiss and Brianna grapes this would have been a purely Wisconsin cultivar Rose without the addition of Merlot. This wine had a burst of watermelon on the nose and light hints of red fruit on the palate. I was taken aback by the high acidity in this wine, where I was expecting something neutral this Rose ended up being closer to a Riesling in it’s high acidity.


Meadowlark - I was given the chance to taste two vintages of this same wine. Both wines feature Brianna Grapes, a cultivar first produced right here in Wisconsin by Elmer Swenson out in Osceola, WI. That’s right, how much more Wisconsin can you get?


2021 Blend - This one, to me, had a hoppy scent, mixed with some hazy summer floral notes. I detected notes of honey and maple syrup. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, it was almost like a funky beer smelling it and it may have influenced my tasting. For me, there was something about his vintage that seemed off by the normal bright tropical fruits that the Brianna grape produces.


2020 Blend - This wine to me had the correct aroma of apricot and pineapple, nice and bright. Tasting this gave notes of maple sugar again along with orange and a little bit of that bitter orange rind.


I would not say either of these were at the top of my list of wines featuring Brianna as both seemed too sweet when I was expecting semi-sweet. I think this needs some work, but if I had to suggest one, I would say go with the 2020 blend.


Golden Goldfinch - Billed as a semi-sweet Rhine style wine I found heavy stone fruit on the nose with some citrus overtones. This wine was definitely on point with what they were going for, clean and crisp. I could see this one making it to our table.


Small cluster of grapes growin on a grape vine outside of the winery
Tiny Grapes growing outside of the winery

Overall, I’d say one of these wines might make it to our table. I really had high hopes for the Wisconsin-only based wines and I definitely give them credit for that. It’s simply awesome to see that. I was not a fan of grape varietals brought in from New York which is a shame. If I wanted those wines I’d go to New York. I’m really going to advocate for Wisconsin Wines with Wisconsin Cultivars or Wisconsin Fruit or a mixture of both. All Wisconsin is what this blog is all about.


That being said, let me digress further. There is something spiritual about sitting down by the Mississippi river, bluffs towering over you, calm waters, a bubbling creek, good libations, and an excellent dinner with family waiting for you. There’s nothing else quite like it on earth. If you want to see a snapshot of what it means to be Wisconsin, visit Potosi.


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


To learn more about Whispering Bluffs Winery please visit their website at: whisperingbluffswinery.com

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