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Wild Hills Winery

Muscoda, WI

 

Crusin Rating: A

Booze Rating: D-

 
Outside of Wild Hills

A little over an hour outside of Madison, nestled into the rolling hills of the Dritfless Region lies Wild Hilly Winery, a spot you may know as the former Weggy Winery. The drive out to the winery is almost worth the trip in and of itself. Bubbling streams, grazing cows, and pastoral horizons are just a few of the sights you’ll enjoy on your way out to Muscoda, WI.


We’ve been out there since it became Wild Hills twice, both instances in the summer. On our review trip, the Artist and Doctor came along with us to assist in our review. While it was a balmy 85 degrees, the hills did give off a nice breeze, so it was not unbearable to sit outside. Their outdoor space is fantastic for a winery. There are a dozen picnic tables all scattered on a patio and upper gravel area on the side of the hill as well as a fire pit or two.


Inside tasting room

The staff is bright and friendly as you enter into an old barn that serves as a makeshift tasting room and gift shop. While far from unfinished, the barn serves its purpose. It won’t be winning any beauty awards, but you hardly pay attention to it since almost all of the available seating is outside save for one large farm table. If you’re lucky enough, you may get visited by the large tomcat known simply as “Winery Cat”. He may lazily sneak out of nearby bushes after the hard work of chasing mice to cozy up and make himself at home, fully expecting lavish attention as you sip wine.


Winery Cat
"Winery Cat"

As you sit and sip, it’s hard not to just sit and listen to the buzzing of August insects, feel the breeze, and admire the landscape.



Unfortunately though, the pleasantry ends as you take that first sip. I know, from talking to one or two of our readers, generally they see us as critical of most places but this one was a solid miss for not just Hannah and me, but the Artist and Doctor as well.


Since there were so many of us, we hit almost every wine that was available in four flights of four wines with brief notes on each.


2 flights of wine

Black Currant: Smells of rich dark fruit, tart taste to start with a sweet finish, bold flavors of the currants that linger after finishing


Apple Wine: Macintosh apples on the nose, but tastes of watery apple juice with low acidity which ends up closer to apple skins than the meat of an apple for taste


Rhubarb Wine: This one smells of honeysuckle up front and you get immediately hit with sugars rather than tartness expected from the rhubarb. Perhaps the least tasting rhubarb thing we’ve tried.


Peach Wine: This wine smelled of synthetic peach with a healthy mix of gala apples. It tastes closer to a mead than a peach wine.



The Artist had four:


Oak Ridge Red: A red blend that tasted of red berries, tannins in the middle, but featured a sweet finish. Truly a blend of reds with the characteristics of both, but she did not care for it.


Windsong Rosé: This one had notes of strawberries on the the nose and palate, sweet, with a dry finish


Driftless Sunset: The Artist thought this one was very nice, with multiple fruits including pears and apples that was semi sweet and pleasant on a summer day


Moondance: This White was pretty dry and light on the palate and light on flavor, she found herself looking for flavor other than alcohol, perhaps this one was too young


The Doctor had four as well:


Lemon Drop: This wine had a pleasantly faint lemon nose but it was deceptive as it wound up tasting closer to lysol with high alcohol and plenty of lemon.


Wildflower Red: The Good Doctor did not mind this one as he mentioned it’s jammy sweetness that reminded him of strawberries on toast with high sugar content (he is partial to sweets, after all)


Wild Meadow White: This one didn’t have much other than the smell and taste of pears, which he is not a fan of


Edelweiss: Usually a style that shines in Wisconsin, this white smelled of cane sugar and tasted of apricots, but he missed out on that signature fall and maple-sweetness common to the grape


Hannah’s Four wines:


Marquette: Perhaps our favorite style of red wine, developed by our neighbors in Minnesota, this wine smelled of dark red fruit and had high tannin content, tasting of dark cherries but even here there was still the prevalent taste of alcohol and we had to get past that to search for the fruit


Wild River Red: This red featured high acidity, high tannin content, and tasted just barely of bright red fruit


Solstice: This wine had a very unpleasant smell, almost like a lightstruck beer. It tasted of underripe, hard pears and featured very high acidity


Autumn Crisp: This wine smelled of apples and tasted of granny smiths, it tasted a little off since it was summer but could be comforting on a fall day


Overall, the wines here, were perhaps some of the worst we have tasted. We give due credit for sourcing close to home, which we love. It really is a shame that the wine was so poorly executed. There was just a distinct lack of complexity with the fruit wines and when that happens it gives Wisconsin a reputation for not having great wines and having poorly executed fruit wines. We firmly believe Wisconsin can hold its own against California and the Fingerlakes region, but this is not the way to do it. The wines may just be young, or they may be heavy handed, but this is a poor showing.


2 glasses of wine with the bottle
Cheers!

If you are in the area, the outside is beautiful, but we can’t fully recommend a trip when the wine will be a letdown.


See you at the next Crusin stop.


To learn more about Wild Hills Winery please visit their website at: wildhillswinery.com or on Facebook: @WildHillsWinery or on Instagram: @WildHillsWinery



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