Although we recently featured another Ten Spoon wine, those grapes were from Washington’s Yakima Valley. This month the owners of Ten Spoon asked if we would like to use a wine made from Montana grapes. This is the first time we were able to try true organic Montana wine and we were very pleased from after our tasting.
Over 20 years ago, Connie Poten and Andy Sponseller worked with friends, family and volunteers to turn a rocky patch of 4.5 acres into the lovely Missoula, Montana vineyard and winery it is today. Ten Spoon crafts award-winning, sulfite-free wines, many of which are made with estate grown grapes. Despite Montana’s short growing season, the long daylight hours of the north allow them to successfully cultivate primarily French-American varietals: Frontenac, St. Pepin, LaCrosse, Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, St. Croix and Swenson Red. Ten Spoon is also dedicated to preserving the environment and supporting small farms. The land was originally purchased to save it from development. Since then, the rocky slope has been transformed into a healthy open space for wildlife and the vineyard irrigation system is solar-powered. The fruit and grapes not grown on-site are all purchased from family farms in Montana, Oregon and California. And right along Ten Spoon’s driveway, there’s a small lavender farm called Rocky Mountain Lavender, which they actively promote on their website.
The majority of French-American hybrid grapes for this red blend grow in Ten Spoon’s own vineyard. The Clark Fork Vineyard and Saddle House Vineyard, both Missoula Valley vineyards, provide additional organic grapes. Varieties include Maréchal Foch, Frontenac, Leon Millot and St. Croix. The sum of the parts have produced a lighter bodied blend with distinct flavors and aromas of, red and black fruits, and flowers, with a subtle undercurrent of licorice. It is velvety in texture and shows no hard edges. Its smoothness finishes with some slight spiciness that is both pleasant and long. A perfect quaffer by itself or serve alongside some garlicky sausages or salty cheeses.