• Unchartedwines

Review: 2016 and 2017 Country Heritage Marquette


We have tasted the future of Marquette, and it is from 2016. Where’s it been? In a barrel.


A major knock on Midwestern wine is their ability to age. Sure, hybrids and cold weather varietals have their uses, but how can you make “fine wine” when it all needs to be consumed within a few years? Besides the fact that argument is more than a bit specious, it is quickly falling by the wayside. Climate change, access to better equipment and the implementation of better agricultural practices have allowed many Midwestern and Northern wineries to make red wines able to age for easily five years and we expect longer. So, you can either get in on the action now and call yourself a trendsetter or you can finally come around in a few years.


Which brings us to the topic at hand. Our tasting panel recently sat down with Country Heritage’s 2016 and 2017 Marquette. Marquette has shown great promise in the barrel, and the varietal has been getting a lot of attention lately. It was a great tasting that really allowed us to taste the differences in vintages, and we would love to take part in an even longer vertical tasting of Marquette sometime. The differences were evident, but both were excellent.


The 2017 was barrel aged in American oak with French oak heads for 24 months. Deep purple in the glass. 2017 was a lower yield year due to a late frost, and this wine seemed slightly more concentrated than the 2016. Wonderful woody nose of soil and dried cherries. Starts off with prunes and vanilla, chocolate, giving way to raspberry, tea, fig, and plum with a long finish of raisin, allspice, blueberry, and vanilla. Medium-high acidity, medium body, medium-high tannin. The wine did seem a bit tight, and while perhaps we could have decanted it longer, we actually think this one would benefit from a few more years in the bottle. Would be perfect with a steak.


The 2016 had a much bigger nose than the 2017, and was smoother and subtler. It is clearly now at its peak. Oaked only 17 months, it shows it by being more mellow and fruit forward. Deep purple, with sour cherries, violet, and clove on the nose, followed by blackberries, plum, allspice, and zest up front, licorice, raisin, blueberry, and dried cherries on the mid-palate, and a long, lingering finish of vanilla, tobacco, cherry jam, and plum. Touch more body than the 2017, bit more complexity, slightly lower acidity and moderate tannin. This would be perfect with grilled meat.


These two wines (as well as our recent review of their 2019 La Crescent) not only show the deft hand of the winemaker at Country Heritage, but they show the potential for Marquette. Highly recommended, and indeed two of the best Indiana reds we have tasted. You would do well to start stockpiling more recent Country Heritage Marquette vintages to cellar. And invite us over when you crack them open for that long vertical tasting.


Charted Details:

Wine: 2017 Marquette

From: Country Heritage Winery

From: Indiana

Varietals: 100% Marquette

ABV: 13%

Price: $23

Rating: 93 points


Wine: 2016 Marquette

From: Country Heritage Winery

From: Indiana

Varietals: 100% Marquette

ABV: 13%

Price: $23

Rating: 95 points

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