Frontenac Blanc is a new introduction from the University of Minnesota. It is a white grape natural mutation of Frontenac and grows exactly like it. Very cold hardy to -36F. The vine is of moderate vigor, slightly upright growth habit with arching canes and very hardy to -36F (zone 3). The clusters are medium sized, and loose. Berry splitting and bunch rot is rare even in wet years. Frontenac Blanc is susceptible to black rot, Botrytis bunch rot, and powdery mildew. It is also slightly susceptible to downy mildew and Phomopsis cane and leaf spot. Frontenac Blanc makes a white wine with black or sweet cherry notes.
Frontenac reflects the best characteristics of its parents, V. riparia 89 and the French hybrid Landot 4511. This vine has borne a full crop after temperatures as low as -33 degrees F when properly cared for. It is very disease resistant, with near-immunity to downy mildew. Frontenac is a consistently heavy producer, with small, black barriers in medium to large clusters.
Frontenac’s deep garnet color complements its distinctive cherry aroma and inviting palate of blackberry, black currant, and plum. This versatile grape can be made into a variety of wine styles, including rose, red, and port.
Petite Pearl was bred in 1996 using MN 1094 and ES 4-7-26 as parents. Petite Pearl is highly disease resistant to powdery mildew, downey mildew, black rot, and bunch rot.
Petite Pearl ripens late season in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area. A local vineyards harvest numbers on September 30, 2008 were TA .7 pH 3.47 Brix 22.8. This excellent ripening was observed after the fifth coolest summer on record in the Minneapolis, MN area. September 30, 2009 harvest numbers were TA .64 pH 3.41 Brix 24.6 after another cool season.
Low acid levels make Petite Pearl™ ideal for northern red winemaking and a valuable blending component. The wine has a dark garnet color. It shows complexity in aroma and flavor that can be easily shaped by yeast selection and blending. Moderate levels of French oak are suggested. The wine tastes of ripe fruit and has soft mid-mouth tannins. This elegant wine will only improve as additional skilled winemakers discover its great potential.
Marquette is a cousin of Frontenac and a grandson of Pinot noir. It originated from a cross of MN 1904, a complex hybrid of V. riparia, V. vinifera, and other Vitis species, with Ravat 262. Viticulturally, Marquette is outstanding. Resistance to downy mildew, powdery mildew and black rot has been very good. Its open, orderly growth habit makes vine canopy management efficient.
Marquett’s high sugar and moderate acidity make it very manageable in the winery. Finished wines are complex, with attractive ruby color, pronounced tannis, and resirable notes of cherry, berry, black pepper, and spices on both nose and palate. As a red wine, Marquette represents a new standard in cold hardy viticulture and enology.