The Delights of St. James Winery, Missouri

Wine is usually made out of grapes. The operative term here is usually. Since the grape is a fruit, it stands to reason that any fruit can be turned into wine, and it is so.

We are so imbued with the grape as the major source of wine that we often neglect some pretty good wines made from other fruits. Here in Missouri, the St. James Winery makes fruit wines that are not only interesting but also very good.

To begin with, these wines are not grape wines that have been infused with natural or artificial fruit flavors. They are wines that have been made from fresh fruit. There is absolutely no external flavoring used in these wines.

There are often other flavors associated with a pure fruit wine. These flavors are derived from chemical changes in the fruit caused by the fermentation process and can be detected in the aftertaste.

St. James fruit wines are about the nicest sipping wines you can get. They are sweet and full of the flavor of the fruit indicated on the label. The joy of these wines, however, is not limited simply to drinking. Try some of these wines over ice cream or as a sauce in creative cooking or over deserts, cakes or pies. They are terrific and can really stimulate conversation.

– St. James Winery Blackberry Wine ($8.99). Made from fresh ripe blackberries, this wine seems to explode in the mouth with fruit flavor. While the flavor is mostly of blackberries, there are also the flavors of peaches and nectarines with a hint of dried figs. This is a fabulous wine with which to anoint your favorite ice cream or simply pour it over a slab of sponge cake: Magnificent.

– St. James Winery Strawberry Wine ($8.99). Strawberry wine has been a favorite for centuries. There is, as one might expect, plenty of rich, ripe strawberry flavor in this wine, along with suggestions of almonds and violets. This wine, like most of the St. James fruit wines, lingers on the palate long after the wine and lingers in the mind long after that.

– St. James Winery Peach Wine ($8.99). Peaches, peaches and more peaches; what more can we say. This wine features the flavor of the biggest, ripest peaches you have ever tasted. Here is a wine you can be creative with. Use it in sauces, as a marinade or as a syrup. It is a powerhouse of flavor and its uses are limited only by your imagination.

– St. James Winery Cherry Wine ($8.99). OK, here we get a bit ornery. We’ve tasted cherry wine made in every part of the world. Many were simply watered-down alcohol with an artificial flavor; they were very cherry and very artificial. There were also those that were made from fermented cherries and then fortified with cherry juice; also very obvious. Finally, there were the wines that were made by fermenting cherries; they were dry, flavorless and very, very uninteresting. The St. James Winery Cherry Wine puts all of the others to shame.

The fruit is slowly fermented to retain the true cherry flavor and also prevent losing the natural fruit acids which enhance the flavor. This feature is all but missing in many of the others that we have tasted. The uses of this wine, besides sipping and enjoying, are extensive. As a sauce base for seafood, it is a wonder. Marinating pork with this wine produces meat with a range of flavors that have to be tasted to be believed.

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