Growing up in Iowa, the Black Hills in South Dakota were, for us, a reasonably priced, reasonably close vacation spot, so we went there countless times, camping, site-seeing and snowmobiling. One very memorable trip included heading up to the hills with some family friends. While there, we spent most of the time trailing behind my father, who vacations a lot like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation, beholding important landmarks, beautiful scenery and historic places for several seconds before consulting his watch and declaring it time to go. We managed convince him to take one of those ski-lift type things to see Mount Rushmore, a mode of transportation that both strapped him in for a period of time and allowed us to take in the sites without running past them. I remember it well because we made the travelers behind us choke on laughter as we gave my dad a hard time about his Clark-Griswold tendencies from the chairs of the ski lift in the treetops.
Another memorable trip was much later, alone with my mother four or five years ago. We both needed a getaway, and my mom has always been very fond of the Black Hills, having lived near them with my dad very early on in their marriage. On this particular trip, both of us being well over the age of 21 and having seen Mount Rushmore on several occasions, we decided to do something different, so we visited a little quaint winery called Prairie Berry nestled in the tree-covered hills. Prairie Berry Winery was my first winery experience, before Napa Valley, before local wine-tastings here in Omaha, before I even really drank wine regularly -- and I loved it. Maybe because I was there with my mom for a much-needed getaway, maybe because the cozy little winery had great food and surprisingly good wine.
Probably a little of both.
I came home with four or five bottles of various wines from this South Dakota winery and really enjoyed them. A pear wine called Gold Digger was a particular favorite, but the Red Ass Rhubarb was also a tart and sweet treat. Unfortunately, I can’t find the wines around here. Fortunately, my sister and her family moved up to Nowhere, South Dakota several years ago, so every time we go up to visit, I make sure to grab a bottle or two at the grocery store that carries local wines. I really enjoy sampling local wines from Nebraska and the greater region. It’s a good reminder that not all wines have to come from California or New Zealand or Italy.
I couldn’t find Gold Digger because it is apparently sold out right now, but I did find another pear wine, this one with the sweet notes of pineapple, and it was a really pleasant little wine. Plus, it was called Pokerface, and as a Lady Gaga fan, I sort of had to buy it. It smelled very sweet and fruity, like a fresh fruit salad, when I opened the bottle. The golden wine was sweet and buttery at first but finished with a nice tart zing.
The wine isn’t super complex, but it was a solid Prairie Berry offering. I like Gold Digger better, I think, but Pokerface was tasty. Plus, it’s always a good reminder of the trip with my mom and the discovery of another Black Hills treasure.