2015 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Great Northwest

I’ve got the fever!   This well run wine competition, under the direction of Chairmen Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue (owners of the Great Northwest Wine news and information company), is quite unique and compelling.  Judges are asked to nominate 100 wines to be blind judged; all of which must come from grapes grown in the great northwest; including Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Idaho.  Here are a few personal favorite noteworthy wines among those that my panel judged at the 2015 competition held at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel this month:

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Old Vines Auxerrois; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:   A stunning interpretation of this delightful grape (more widely grown in Alsace).  Displaying worthy varietal typicity, its white peach, pear, grapefruit and lemony flavors intertwine in harmony on the palate.  This beauty is mouth filling and well balanced, with good acidity accompanying the fruit through the enduring aftertaste.  SRP: $13 www.gehringerwines.ca

Sparkman Cellars 2012 Rainmaker Cabernet Sauvignon; Yakima Valley, Washington:  Aromas of tobacco leaf and black fruits get the juices flowing, and prepare you for more delight.  This Cabernet Sauvignon is appealing in its depth and power.  Broadly expanding on the palate are layers of cassis, blackberry, Italian spices and smoky oak nuances.  The acidity zips through the dense fruit, and the tannins are smooth and reined in; extraordinary.  SRP:  $62 www.sparkmancellars.com

Tenet Wines 2013 The Pundit Syrah; Columbia Valley, Washington:  The floral component, wildly expressive and pleasing, implores you to dive into the glass.  Once the wine glides past your lips, the juicy mouthful of purple plums, orange-tinged boysenberries and dark chocolate syrup unfolds, and toasty oak spice is well situated in the background.  Smartly balanced and simply delightfully.   SRP:  $25 www.tenetwines.com

Maryhill Winery 2014 Chardonnay; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Alluring on the nose, this snappy Chard opens with pretty fragrances of citrus blossom and tropical fruit wafting from the glass.  On the palate it is pure and refreshing, with flavors of crisp apple, candied pineapple wedges, stone fruit and subtle spiced oak notes; finishes bright and clean.  SRP: $15 www.maryhillwinery.com

Seven Hills Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon; Columbia Valley, Washington:  The hue is luminous and the aromatic delivers perfectly ripened fruit, a sprinkle of sweet oak and vanilla spice to the nose. Tasty black currant, red cherry, pipe tobacco notes and brown spices wrap around firm tannins.  This wine is nicely weighted as it swells to a finish that is polished and persistent.   SRP:  $30 www.sevenhillswinery.com

Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Estate Vineyard Syrah; Walla Walla Valley, Washington:  The enticing aromatic bursts forth with herbs and black fruit.  The palate reveals underbrush, black plums, black cherry, mocha, fresh ground multi-colored peppercorns and a suggestion of sautéed green bell pepper.  Black licorice accents come forth on the satisfying finish; a well-crafted, cellar worthy Syrah.   SRP:  $40 www.wallawallavintners.com

Reininger Winery 2011 Mr. Owl’s Red; Walla Walla Valley, Washington:  This blend of 55% Sangiovese, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 4% Syrah with an earthy edge is agile and compelling.  Softly fruited with black cherry, and raspberry fitting hand and glove with anise, orange peel and a suggestion of angostura bitters.  It is focused and clean, and the racy acidity fits its spry personality to a T.   SRP:  $34 www.reiningerwinery.com

Columbia Crest Winery 2013 Grand Estates Syrah; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Hints of Crayola crayons and dark fruit on the nose meld into jammy black and red berries on entry.  Delectably rich and creamy in texture, the flavors of black cherry, blackberry, toffee and herbal notes linger through the pleasing aftertaste.  Easy to quaff, and a terrific value, too!  SRP:  $12 www.columbiacrest.com

Coyote Canyon Winery 2013 Albarino; Horse Heaven Hills, Washington:  Spicy and edgy from the endearing aromatic, to the mouthful of spiced peach/pear compote, lemon-lime and crystallized pineapple, to the rocking acidity that never misses a beat.  The components are well orchestrated and the wine flows elegantly as it makes it way to the celebratory finish line.  SRP: $22 www.coyotecanyonwinery.com

Anam Cara Cellars 2012 Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir; Chehalem Mountains, Oregon:  Alluring floral and damp earth scents wow the nose.  In the mouth it’s ethereal and silky smooth, with notes of fresh chopped herbs, dusty cherry, black raspberry, anise and hints of toasted oak.   Smartly composed, it is lively and graceful with a long lasting, memorable finish.  SRP:  $33 www.anamcaracellars.com

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Dry Riesling; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Earthiness, hints of herbs and fragrant dusting powder greet the nose.  Orchard fruit, wet stone, citrus notes and dried apricot flavors swirl in the mouth, with racy acidity providing a wonderful backbone.  Vintage after vintage this value priced wine shines with vibrancy.  SRP:  $10  www.ste-michelle.com

Airfield Estates Winery 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese; Yakima Valley, Washington:   This vivacious dry Rosé offers up spiced cranberry sauce, juicy cherry, orange zest, and mineral notes on the nose and through the juicy, fruit filled palate.  Balanced and bright with good acidity, it shimmers all the way through.    SRP:  $15 (Sold out; don’t miss the 2015 vintage upon release). www.airfieldwines.com

Karma Vineyards 2011 Méthode Champenoise Pink; Columbia Valley, Washington:  This expressive, full bodied sparkling wine leads the way with aromas of reds fruits and fresh flowers.  Magnificent on the palate with its stream of tiny bubbles and gorgeous acidity supporting flavors of fresh cherries and strawberries, watermelon candy and toasty biscuit notes; a divine bubbly.   SRP:  $39.99 www.goodkarmawines.com

Palencia Wine Company 2014 Sauvignon Blanc; Columbia Valley, Washington:   Enticing herbal aromas invite you into the glass and keep you stimulated as juicy white grapefruit, sweet fleshed peaches, crisp pears, and lime zest take center stage on the vibrant palate.  The wine gains dimension with a touch of dried herbs as it marches toward a brilliant finale.  SRP:  $18 www.palenciawine.com

Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Yellow Bird Vineyard Merlot; Walla Walla Valley, Washington:  Warm blueberry tart scents upfront join red berries, chocolate kisses, blueberries, spice box and subtle oak notes exploding onto the palate.  The well-defined firm tannins and accompanying finely placed acidity provide the perfect framework for this absolutely charming Merlot.  SRP:  $38  www.wallawallavintners.com

Sperling Vineyards 2012 Old Vines Riesling; Okanagan Valley; British Columbia, Canada:  Here is a fresh, meticulously balanced Riesling that really stimulates the senses.  Stone fruit, quince jam, minerality and citrus accents entwine and flow with ease across the palate.  Bright and satisfying with an aftertaste that lingers on and on.  SRP:  $32 www.sperlingvineyards.com

Mercer Estates 2012 Merlot; Columbia Valley, Washington:  This irresistible Merlot struts out with a confident air and never retreats.  Appealing cherry, savory spice, blueberry and fresh leather aromas and flavors are enhanced by a velvety smooth texture and refined tannins.  Polished and elegant through the long, heavenly finish.  SRP:  $24 www.mercerwine.com

Rocky Pond Winery 2013 Clos Cheval Vineyard Riesling; Lake Chelan, Columbia Valley, Washington:  Here is a sleek and balanced wine with a petrol aroma that clearly shouts out Riesling.  Peach skin, sweet nectarine, fresh squeezed lime juice and slate accents that flow onto the palate are pure and vivacious, leaving a lasting impression.  SRP:  $18 www.rockypondwinery.com

At the conclusion of the competition, Eric and Andy announced names of the judges who captured the most Gold and Double Gold awards from his or her list of 100 wine nominations.   It was a very pleasant surprise to hear that I had captured first place honors!  Check out details regarding all the award winning wines at www.greatnorthwestwine.com where you’ll find results from the 2015 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, as well as results from the 2013 and 2014 competitions.  The fall season is here in all its glory, and now is the time to stock up on all YOUR favorites!

Gems in My Glass . . . September 2015

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Sonoma, Tasting Notes (1 Comment)

2015 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition

Judging the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition this month was invigorating, stimulating and clearly reinforced the bountiful goodness, or better said, greatness, of Sonoma County wines.  The highlighted wines below were among the Double Gold Award winners from my panel.  A Double Gold (GG) award goes to wines receiving a Gold vote from each of the judges on the panel.  Many GG and Gold medals were awarded.  You can view the full medal tally by visiting www.harvestfair.org (click on the Drink tab, and then Award Winning Wines).

J Vineyards & Winery Cuvee 20 Brut NV; Russian River Valley, California:  Alluring aromas and a dynamic tiny bead will have you hovering over the glass as if in a dream before the wine meets your lips.  Crafted of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this precise and vivacious sparkling wine showcases creamy pears, spiced lemon bars, crisp apples and crème brûlée melding harmoniously through the persistent finish; let the celebration begin! SRP:  $28   www.jwines.com

Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards 2006 Extra Brut Reserve Cuvée; Carneros, California:  Wow; floral and yeasty aromas join well delineated layers of freshly baked bread, apple pie, brown spices and a zesty splash of lemon zest dancing on the palate.  This wine teems with purity, complexity and fine balance.  An exhilarating stream of tiny bubbles lingers from the first sip to the memorable last one.  SRP:  $47 www.gloriaferrer.com

Balletto Vineyards 2014 Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California:  Scents of a delicate rose bouquet fill the senses with this elegant dry Rosé.  Delighting the palate are pretty flavors of strawberries and Rainer cherries, citrus blossom and a touch of herbs.  Perfectly balanced and crisp, with brisk acids keeping the wine remarkably bright and refreshing.  SRP:  $18   www.ballettovineyards.com

St. Anne’s Crossing Winery 2014 Zinfandel Rosé; Dry Creek Valley, California:  Here is a brilliantly expressive, unabashed dry Rosé that completely engages the senses.  Layers of red raspberries, succulent red plums and savory spice accents fill the mouth.  Well balanced with lively acidity, this savvy wine is every bit as juicy and full flavored as one could desire from America’s sweetheart grape.  SRP:  $18   www.stannescrossing.com

Kelley & Young Wines 2014 Robert Young Vineyards Nuit de Young; Alexander Valley, California:  This very sophisticated dry Rosé boasts elements of fresh cherries, blueberries, cranberries, a tinge of graphite and tea spice on the nose and through the flavorful palate.  Crafted of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it is complex, well structured and beautifully food friendly.  The texture is smooth, the balance spot on, and the engaging finish leaves you wanting more!  SRP:  $32 www.kellyyoungwines.com

Kobler Estate Winery 2014 Bacigalupi Vineyards Chardonnay; Russian River Valley, California:  An intensely aromatic Chard opening with tree fruits and hints of vanilla exciting the senses.  Spilling onto the palate are delectable flavors of spiced apple and pear compote, warm buttered toast and vanilla bean accents.  Full bodied and well composed with a lasting aftertaste.   SRP:   $46 www.koblerestatewinery.com

Pezzi King Vineyards 2013 Reserve Chardonnay; Russian River Valley, California:  This well balanced Chardonnay broadcasts perfumed floral aromas.  It fills the mouth with flavors of delectable creamy lemon custard, caramelized bananas, a touch of oak and citrus blossom accents.  Nicely structured with a smooth texture, it remains lively through the long finish.  SRP:  $36 www.pezziking.com

Kunde Family Winery 2014 Reserve Chardonnay; Sonoma Valley, California:    Full bodied and confident, this dazzling Chardonnay draws you in with aromas of fresh picked apples and a kiss of citrus.  Creamy and well crafted, it is brimming with pear, apple and key lime pie flavors that interlace with brown spice and underlying cedar notes.  The captivating finish is bright and extended.   SRP:  $45   www.kunde.com

Gustafson Family Vineyards 2011 Heritage Tree Vineyard Zinfandel; Dry Creek Valley, California:  Aromas of licorice and ripe berries engage the senses with this mouthwatering Zinfandel.  On the palate are well defined layers of wild berries, chocolate covered cherries, vanillin, anise and cloves that entwine in harmony.  There is a purity about this wine that shines, and it offers good lift throughout.  SRP:  $32 www.gfvineyard.com

DeLoach Vineyards 2013 OFS Zinfandel; Russian River Valley, California:   Here’s an enticingly aromatic, firmly structured Zin that tantalizes the senses.  Rich and lip-smackingly delicious, it is chock full of juicy boysenberries, warm, cinnamon-scented blackberry pie, savory spice and oak nuances.   Lush, dense and smartly balanced with a persistent aftertaste.   SRP:  ~$35 www.deloachvineyards.com

Matrix Winery 2013 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California:  This generously fruited wine opens with aromas of a mixed floral bouquet and wild berries.  It’s plush, velvety and full of black cherry, spiced marionberry pie, toffee and boysenberry jam at the core.  Underbrush, tinges of herbs and oak spice weave deliciously on the palate.  A full bodied, well balanced and mouth filling Pinot Noir.  SRP:  $52 www.matrixwinery.com

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards 2012 Vine Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California:  Deeply hued and complex, this aromatic Pinot Noir is lush and juicy.  Sweet black cherry and black raspberry fruit meld with earthiness and exotic spices, and hints of toasty oak provide a complementary underlying note.  Well placed acidity keeps it bright, and the finish is focused and satisfying.    SRP:  ~$46  www.sonomacutrer.com

MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Winemaker’s Block Pinot Noir; Russian River Valley, California:  In this glass a classy Pinot Noir awaits.  Provocative forest floor aromas set the stage for the burst of flavors exciting the palate.  Black cherry, raspberry, exotic tea spices, licorice and subtle oak spices integrate like a finely woven fabric.  Silky refined tannins and lively acidity keep the wine in precise balance. SRP:  $60 www.macmurrayestatevineyards.com

Congrats to each and every Sonoma County producer who earned medals from this year’s competition.  I encourage all to take advantage of tasting these well made award winning wines before they sell out!

 

Gems in My Glass . . . August 2015

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Mid-America

Hybrid, native American, fruit wines and more at the 2015 Mid-American Wine Competition

The 2015 Mid-American Wine Competition in Des Moines, Iowa once again opened the eyes and minds of judges as to the merits of wines crafted from native American grapes, hybrid grapes and other fruits.  If you have not delved into wines of this ilk, it is high time you did!  And that’s not all; Gold medals were also awarded to wines produced in mid America from vinifera vines.  The competition is open to commercial wineries of Arkansas, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Those that spoke gratifyingly to my palate included:

Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery 2013 Geisenheim; American AVA, produced in Iowa:  This highly aromatic wine, crafted from the spunky white hybrid grape Geisenheim (a cross of Riesling and Chancellor), unveils a satisfying dose of sweetness.  Lovely floral scents lead to tangerine, apple and stone fruit laced with fresh squeezed Meyer lemon and a sprinkling of herbs elegantly caressing the palate.  A texturally smooth, smartly balanced wine.  SRP:  $16 www.calicoskieswine.com

Easley Winery 2014 Traminette; American AVA, produced in Indiana:   Traminette (a cross of Gewurztraminer and French American hybrid Joannes Seyve 23.416) can be gloriously expressive on the nose, like this one with honeysuckle and spice that mesmerize you before the wine graces your lips.  Guava, pineapple and orange zest entwine with spice components titillating the palate, and the wine continues to captivate through the lifted finish.  Bright, breezy and simply delectable.    SRP: ~$15   www.easleywinery.com

Soldier Creek Winery 2014 Brianna; Iowa:  Imagine collecting a basketful of fragrant flowers, setting out a tray of tasty bites and sipping wine in the backyard on a sun-speckled summer afternoon.  Refreshing and pure with loads of juicy tropical fruit at the core, this sweet Brianna (a cold climate hybrid grape) with a lively personality and delicate floral notes is a wise choice for your picture perfect afternoon; yummy.  SRP:  $20 www.soldiercreekwinery.com

Wollersheim Winery NV Prairie Blush; Wisconsin:  Reminiscent of a French dry rosé, this semi-dry blush crafted from 100% Marechal Foch grapes boasts a brilliant, electrifying rose-colored hue.   Flavors of strawberry pie, raspberry sorbet and hints of pink grapefruit fill the mouth.  Pure and refreshing with lively acidity; a lovely pairing for a relaxing Sunday brunch.  SRP:  $10 www.wollersheim.com

Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery NV Valvin Muscat; Kansas:  Holy-Field Winery has captured the essence of this fragrant grape. Showing off exotic aromas and flavors of a fresh floral bouquet, summer peaches and creamy Bartlett pears, it is mouthwateringly delicious.   Satin smooth with lively acidity and nicely sweet without being cloying, it makes for a divine summer sipper lazing out by the pool.  SRP:  ~$10 www.holyfieldwinery.com

Ardon Creek Vineyard & Winery NV “Commission Man Red” Noiret; Iowa:  I often tout this spunky grape variety which has long been a favorite of mine, and here is a terrific, well-knit example.  Classic multi-colored peppercorn aromas tell you plenty up front.  That dramatic spice component and subtle oak nuances meld with fresh blackberries, plums and raspberries at the core, building on the palate to a wildly flavorful finale.  SRP:  $12.99 www.ardoncreek.com

Apple Barn Orchard and Winery NV Strawberry Jewel; Wisconsin:  Summertime in a glass!  Engaging flavors of ripe, sweet strawberries (from their homegrown patch) with highlights of juicy tangerine and a squeeze of lemon juice refresh the palate.  Pair this gem with a fresh mixed fruit salad atop tender butter lettuce for a tasty mid-day treat. SRP:  $13.95 www.applebarnorchardandwinery.com

Oliver Winery and Vineyards NV “Soft Red”; Indiana:  This semi-sweet, juicy wine, made from the native American Concord grape, is well named.  It is lush, round, and soft on the palate with a bucket load of flavor.  Grapey and satisfying with pretty fruit at the core, it simply shines with purity and balance.   SRP:  $7.50 www.oliverwinery.com

L. Mawby “Tradition” NV Cuvee Brut; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Yeasty aromas greet the nose and pave the way for a most enchanting Methode Champenoise sparkling wine produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.  Crisp Anjou pear, fresh lemon-lime and sautéed apples flecked with cinnamon dance with spirited acidity on the palate.  The impressive tiny bead of bubbles entertains the eye and the tongue through the persistent finish.  SRP: $21 www.lmawby.com

Cedar Ridge Vineyards NV LaCrosse; Iowa:   Pretty floral notes peak your interest as this snappy LaCrosse (a light skinned hybrid grape) assuredly shows its stuff.  Flavors of creamy pears, green apple skin, a touch of herbs, nectarines and hints of vanilla taffy are ever so fresh in the mouth, and the balance is spot on.   SRP:  $13.99   www.crwine.com

Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery 2013 Frontenac; Iowa:  Here is a cool climate Frontenac that offers up black currant, black cherry and dried cranberries on the nose and through the spice driven, oak-nuanced palate.  Texturally round and lush mid palate, it displays an easy to quaff quality about it all the way through the final sip; very nicely made.  SRP:  $18.95 www.calicoskies.com

If your wine tasting portfolio hasn’t expanded beyond vinifera varieties (such as Cab, Chard, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Riesling, among others), why not reach out and give hybrid, native American varieties and fruit wines a spin?  You’ll most likely be intrigued, expand your wine knowledge, and don’t be surprised if you find a few new favorites!

Gems in My Glass . . . July 2015

Australia, Gems in MY Glass . . .

Stars Aligned in the Barossa Valley, Australia – Part 3

Yalumba Family Vineyards has been in the Smith family for five generations; their first vines were planted over 165 years ago in 1849.  Yalumba means “all the land around”, and an enchanting land it is.  History shows colorfully at the property upon which sits a stately historic home, the warm and inviting tasting room, and the fully equipped winemaking facility.  Kevin Glastonbury, winemaker at Yalumba for the past 15+ years, provided us with an extensive tour and tasting.  We enjoyed sampling wines from multiple vintages, which offered an opportunity to gain insight from various harvests and a glimpse of their ageworthiness.  My favorites include:

Yalumba 2013 Roussanne; Eden Valley, Australia:  White flowers on the nose make way for a juicy fruit-packed mouthful of stone fruit, fresh apples, lemon-lime juice, shades of herbs and a pretty sweep of minerality.  Energetic and streamlined with bright acidity carrying the succulent fruit to a vibrant, clean aftertaste.  SRP:  $24

Yalumba 2013 Viognier; Eden Valley, Australia:  Aromas of stone fruit really get the juices flowing.  This phenolic driven Viognier easily wins you over, as fresh apricot and ripe peach notes spill onto the palate.  Round and mouth coating with a smooth texture and pretty balance, the wine finishes with a pop of peach schnapps.  SRP:  $24

Yalumba 2008 “The Tri-Centenary” Grenache; Barossa Valley, Australia:  Here is a deeply fruited, cohesive wine from the engaging bouquet to the palate pleasing flavors.  Raspberries, strawberries and red cherries link delightfully with savory spice accents.  Hints of vanilla and caramel join in on the back of the palate, and the nicely integrated oak peaks through on the satisfying aftertaste.   SRP:  $60

Yalumba 2009 Steeple Vineyard Shiraz; Barossa Valley, Australia:  From a well-developed vineyard dating back to 1919 comes this lush Shiraz.  Savory aromas join blackberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate shavings, spice and a touch of fresh mint cascading onto the palate.  The rich fruit is offset by lively acidity.  This Shiraz is completely engaging as it picks up steam and finishes with pizazz.  SRP:  $60

Yalumba 2010 Paradox Shiraz; Barossa Valley, Australia:  Tightly wound, decant this beauty for full enjoyment.    Patience is rewarded, as aeration reveals a wonderfully complex wine.  Concentrated black plum and cassis at the core interlace with underbrush, fresh earth elements, and sweet oak spice framed by firmly structured tannins.  Remarkable purity through the persistent finish.  SRP:  $43

Yalumba 2011 Cabernet/Shiraz FDR (Fine Dry Red); Barossa Valley, Australia:  Intense yet pleasing and approachable now, this wine is oh so easy to quaff.  Layers of cassis, spiced black plum compote, wild berries and herb-dusted meat weave in harmony as the backbone of tannins and vibrant acids provide splendid framework.  This vintage may have been a challenge, but you’d not deduce that after tasting this savory, well put together wine.   SRP:  $43

Yalumba 2012 “The Signature” Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz; Barossa Valley, Australia:  In the glass you’ll find a classic example of just how well Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz can play together, wow.  Precise and elegant, the alluring aromas just begin the irresistible attraction.  Multilayered and captivating, black cherries, cassis, black plums, eucalyptus, black peppercorns and crushed herbs unwind with exceptional depth and complexity on the palate.  The finish explodes with brilliance.  $60

Yalumba 2009 “The Octavius” Old Vine Shiraz; Barossa Valley, Australia:  Here is a powerhouse of a wine that speaks confidently of its terroir.  Expressive up front with winning aromas of dark fruit and a persuasive entry, the wine builds provocatively on the palate.  A multifaceted, intensely built Shiraz with black plum and boysenberry at the core harmonizing with accents of spice encrusted roasted meat, eucalyptus, well integrate oak and a hint of mint lingering through the long finish. I would have no qualms about cellaring this Shiraz for a decade or more.  SRP:  $100

Yalumba is another Barossa property I highly recommend for a visit; there is plenty to explore here.  Until then, check out their website at www.yalumba.com.  The beauty and history of the Barossa Valley with all its charm, delicious sips and bites, and engaging personalities is guaranteed to please; certainly a region to add to your bucket list!

Gems in My Glass . . . April 2015

Gems in MY Glass . . .

Gems in My Glass . . . April 2015

Twomey 2013 Sauvignon Blanc; Napa/Sonoma, California:  A beautiful aromatic expression and the jazzy entry brimming with fruit sets the stage for this well balanced, energetic wine.  Mineral notes entwine with crisp apple, fresh squeezed sweet Meyer lemon and hints of fresh cut grass.  The light touch of oak stays nicely in the background and the finish shines with brightness.  SRP:  $26 www.twomey.com

Twomey 2012 Monument Tree Vineyard Pinot Noir; Anderson Valley, California:  Scents of fresh harvested mushrooms and a bowlful of cherries shout out Pinot Noir on the nose.  Layers of red cherries, raspberries, the essence of forest floor, and subtle oak converge on the palate with bracing acidity supporting the juicy fruit.  This complex wine is focused and precise with a firm structure, elegant tannins and a texture as smooth as satin.  The divine aftertaste lingers forever; simply gorgeous.  SRP:  $68 www.twomey.com

Te Motu 2013 The Strip; Waiheke Island, New Zealand:  The deep hue and irresistible aromas draw you into the glass with this engaging blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.  Floral notes steer the way to pure raspberry and wild blueberry fruit highlighted by tobacco spice and a pinch of herbs.  Intensely structured and balanced with silky tannins carrying the wine seamlessly through the vibrant finish.  SRP:  $45 www.temotu.co.nz

Te Motu 2005 red blend; Onetangi Valley, Waiheke Island, New Zealand:  Aromas of mixed cherries and berries, and leathery notes rise from the glass.  This brilliantly developed blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cab Franc is rich and dense in the mouth with flavors of black cherries, blueberries, cassis, dried cranberries, and earthy nuances melding in harmony.  The tannins are refined, and tinges of spiced oak add further dimension as the wine progresses to the memorable finish.  SRP:  $125 www.temotu.co.nz

Te Moto 2012 Kokoro; Waiheke Island, New Zealand:  This red blend composed of 43% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec and 7% Syrah shows off aromas and flavors of red currant, tart huckleberry and tasty cranberry chutney with a thread of earthiness throughout.  It is rustic and full bodied with good balance, and the finish contributes a delightful dash of spice.  SRP:  $75 www.temotu.co.nz

Stonyridge Vineyard 2012 Larose; Waiheke Island, New Zealand:  From the north facing slopes of this low yielding vineyard comes Larose, an exquisite, powerful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere.  This intensely structured wine opens with a heady, floral aroma.  The entry broadcasts flavors of blackberry and savory spice.  The wine broadens on the palate with plum compote, cinnamon, nutmeg, shades of tobacco and well integrated oak skillfully wrapped around a solid backbone of tannins.  Tightly wound now, this wine promises to thrive for decades.  SRP:  $290 www.stonyridge.co.nz

Craggy Range 2013 Te Muna Road Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc; Martinborough, New Zealand:  Whiffs of fresh flowers and tropical fruits on the nose lead to a delectable mouthful of lime zest accented nectarine and passion fruit interlacing with brisk acidity.  The neutral oak aging adds an understated element without taking away from the vibrant fruit.  Clean and refreshing with a bright, buoyant finish.  SRP:  $23.95 www.craggyrange.com

Craggy Range 2012 Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir; Martinborough, New Zealand:  This well balanced Pinot Noir offers up an enticing aroma that quickly captures your attention. Tobacco and dried cherry nuances join savory spice, hints of sandalwood and warm cherry cobbler flavors mesmerizing the palate.  The texture is silky and the spot on level of acidity lifts the wine steadfastly from entry through the extended finish.  SRP:  $42.95 www.craggyrange.com

Craggy Range 2011 Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Syrah; Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:  Scents of white pepper and dark fruit lead to a concentrated palate deliciously full of blackberry, black plum, fresh ground pepper spice, cured meats, and black licorice.  Rich in texture with a pretty backbone of tannins, this Syrah is approachable now, and should continue stimulating the palate as it further evolves with age.  SRP:  $31.95 www.craggyrange.com

Craggy Range 2011 Sophia, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:  Another beauty from Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, this impressive blend is composed of 60% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.   Concentrated blueberry, plum and boysenberry fruit join hands with tobacco spice, hints of graphite and beautifully integrated oak.  Complex and precisely balanced with firmly structured tannins, I envision decades of aging potential with this gem.  SRP:  $72.95 www.craggyrange.com

Vidal Estate 2014 Riesling; Marlborough, New Zealand:  Vivid aromas of white peach and steely minerality pop from the glass at first whiff.  Melding on the palate are bright flavors of gooseberry, passion fruit, juicy peaches and a squeeze of lime.  Crisp and refreshing with bracing acidity from the first sip through the dazzling finish.  SRP:  $16 www.vidal.co.nz

Vidal Estate 2014 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc; Marlborough, New Zealand:  Citrus laced tropical fruits wow the nose with Vidal’s striking Reserve SB.  Luscious layers of guava, lemon curd and passion fruit interlace with lime zest, fresh chopped herbs and a persistent thread of minerality, enlivening the palate.  This vibrant wine is complex and pure with meticulous balance, and climaxes with a lingering aftertaste.   SRP:  $20 www.vidal.co.nz

Vidal Estate 2012 Reserve Series Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon; Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:  This blend of 50% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Malbec is a smoothly textured, easy to quaff wine.   The enticing aromas and flavors of blueberry compote, wild berries, red currant and savory spice interlace with gentle oak nuances, and the wine finishes upbeat and clean.  SRP:  $20 www.vidal.co.nz

Vidal Estate 2010 Legacy Syrah; Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:  Perfumed aromas of violets reel you into this remarkable Syrah.  It is complex, pure and impressively balanced with layers of roasted meat, multicolored peppercorn spice, black plums, boysenberries and just the right touch of oak, all framed by refined tannins.  An elegant, deftly crafted wine that is approachable now, and promises excellent age worthiness, as well.  SRP:  ~$75 www.clearviewestate.co.nz

Clearview Estate Winery 2013 Reserve Chardonnay; Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:  Spiced oak and stone fruit aromas lift from the glass with this intense Chardonnay.  Juicy nectarines, peach skin, spicy baked apples and butterscotch candy coat the mouth in a decadent fashion, while a good level of acidity cuts adroitly through the richness.  Fermented in (primarily new) French oak, this wine finishes with yummy caramel apple notes.  SRP:  $36 www.clearviewestate.co.nz

Clearview Estate Winery 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc; Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:  The senses are altogether engaged with this focused Cab Franc.  The inviting herbaceous, meaty aroma paves the way to harmonizing flavors of a rosemary/sage rubbed roast, dark berries and succulent purple plums enhanced by graphite and cigar box accents. Well balanced and palate pleasing with hints of campfire smoke peaking through on the persistent finish.  SRP:  $45 www.clearviewestate.co.nz

Clearview Estate Winery 2012 Enigma Merlot; Te Awanga, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:   This blend of 61% Merlot, 31% Malbec and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in new and seasoned French and American barriques exemplifies a perfect marriage of fruit and earthy components.  Blue and red fruits with fresh herb and eucalyptus highlights leave you wanting more.  It is velvety smooth, fully flavored and firmly structured while at the same time elegant as it floats across the palate to the long-lasting, spicy aftertaste.   SRP:  $55 www.clearviewestate.co.nz

Gems in My Glass . . . January 2015

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Tasting Notes

In this piece I am sharing gems enjoyed while sailing the first leg of Crystal Serenity’s 2015 World Cruise.  The night before sailing out of Miami, a fabulous Celebration Dinner was served.  The first course was a delicious stone and king crab appetizer, followed by butternut squash ravioli, a main course of either sea bass or filet mignon, and a decadent chocolate cake for dessert.   Here are my impressions of the wine pairings:

The 2011 Wedell Cellars Sierra Madre Vineyard Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, California was presented with both the crab and the butternut squash ravioli courses.  This creamy textured Chardonnay displays ripe Golden Delicious apple and juicy Bartlett pear, a sprinkling of spice and a healthy dollop of oak that, for my palate, over powered the delicate crab dish. This wine paired better with the plush and flavorful ravioli, where the weight of the dish and the weight of the wine were well matched.

The red wine, a Duckhorn Vineyards 2012 Napa Valley Merlot, naturally paired better for those who selected the filet mignon main course.  Here is a full bodied wine promising plenty.  Tightly wound in its youth, aeration brought out deep dark blackberry and blueberry fruit, fresh tobacco, cedar and underlying spiced oak notes coating the mouth.  Well-crafted with good density and balance, firmly structured tannins, and a persistent finish; this is a cellarworthy wine.

The last wine to be poured was a lovely Domaine Carneros NV Brut Rose.  A sparkling wine reminiscent of an elegant French Champagne, this gem is absolutely delicious on its own merits.  Inviting red berry and yeast scents captivate the nose and the entry is bright and vivacious.   Biscuity notes with delicious citrus-infused strawberry and raspberry fruit and quince paste cascade onto the palate.  It displays skillful balance and a dynamic bead that persists through the long, lifted finish.  The pairing with the very sweet chocolate cake drizzled with coffee syrup was far from ideal.  This elegant sparkling wine would have paired far better with the stone & king crab appetizer.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed imbibing this impressive sparkling wine, which on its own is a perfectly satisfying dessert.

Additional wines poured in January on board the Crystal Serenity:

Goblesburger 2013 Gruner Veltliner; Kamptal, Austria:  Aromas of tree fruit and spice rise from the glass. A melding of green apple, peach, celery and white pepper notes simply delight the senses.  The pretty fruit is joined by a subtle thread of minerality weaving through the palate to the fresh, clean finish.

Matsuhisa Private Selection 2013 Chardonnay; Russian River Valley, California.  A steely, minerally, resplendent wine with crisp pear and citrus flavors and razor sharp acidity; delectable.   Produced specifically for Nobu restaurants including the Crystal Serenity’s Silk Road Restaurant; sorry to say this remarkable, precisely balanced Chardonnay may not be available in the retail market.  Visit Nobu to give it a try; you can’t go wrong there, with Nobu’s exquisitely prepared cuisine.

Roederer Estate NV Brut crafted in Anderson Valley, California was featured in most cocktail lounges on board ship (and available upon request in all venues).   I find this engaging sparkling wine with its tiny bead and deft balance to be a perfectly delightful bubbly, year after year.  Floral and fresh toast aromas tickle the senses.  Crisp apple, creamy pear, orange peel and a touch of spice fill the mouth, and the lively acidity balances the juicy fruit through the lifted finish.

Vina Robles 2012 Huerhuero Vineyard Red4; Paso Robles, California: Here is a succulent blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Mourvedre.  Juicy red and black berry fruit are showcased on the nose and entry.   Black cherries, raspberries and blackberries dominate the flavor profile with accents of spice, milk chocolate and vanilla bean chiming in as the wine continues to unfold through the palate.  The tannins are supple, the texture lush, and the finish is satisfying.

Dr. Loosen 2013 Satyricus Riesling:  From Germany’s Mosel region here is a vibrant, expressive and streamlined Riesling.  It is chock full of white peach and lemon lime flavors with highlights of herbs and spice.  Love the brightness here, with a good level of acidity and unpretentious wet stone notes lingering through the gleaming finish.

Gems in My Glass . . . December 2014

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Ohio, Tasting Notes

Grand River Valley AVA in Ohio producing first class wines?  Absolutely!

The Grand River Valley AVA in Northeastern Ohio is a sub-appellation of the Lake Erie AVA.   Similar to the Mosel, Bordeaux, and AVA’s in Northern California such as Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley, the Grand River Valley appellation benefits from the thermal effects of nearby water, in this case Lake Erie. If you imagine Ohio producing wines primarily from hybrid and Native American grapes, you’re in for a surprise.  Plenty of vinifera is planted throughout this appellation.  Todd Steiner (fellow wine judge, state Enologist to the Ohio commercial wine industry, and Enology Program Manager at Ohio State University) recently provided an enlightening tour around the Grand River Valley AVA.  I was impressed with the vineyards, winemakers, and wines they are crafting.

St. Joseph Vineyards is owned by Art and Doreen Pietrzyk.  Art is the winemaker, and confirms that this AVA typically enjoys a long growing season with warm days and cool nights; perfect for Pinot Noir and other vinifera grapes.    Art and Doreen have several acres planted to Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Shiraz.  Art, who hails from the world of engineering, has done an excellent job exploring and figuring out what grape varieties are best suited for the diverse microclimate of this region. Check out their website at www.stjosephvineyard.com for further info.  Among my favorite St. Joseph Vineyards wines tasted are:

2013 Sauvignon Blanc: Expressive floral aromas awaken the senses with this lively Sauvignon Blanc aged in new French oak.  It is full bodied and well balanced with bright citrus and a touch of herbs joining crisp apple and melon notes filling the palate deliciously.   The suggestion of oak remains subtle in the background, allowing the fruit to shine.  SRP:  $20

2012 Pinot Noir: Aromas of fresh berries and a hint of earth awaken the senses with this titillating Pinot Noir.  Flooding the palate are flavors of black raspberries, pomegranate and dried cherries with exotic tea spice highlights.  This pure, precisely balanced wine boasts refined tannins and finishes with elegance.  SRP:  $40

2012 Sangiovese: Here is a well structured, jazzy wine that offers up juicy red cherry fruit at the core.  Accents of cinnamon stick, a light touch of oak, and dried cranberries add further dimension.  The tannins are well honed and the level of racy acidity pulls the package together beautifully.  SRP:  $30

2012 Shiraz: Deep, dark fruit and a trace of gaminess on the nose are mirrored on the palate, along with layers of juicy blueberries, ripe wild berries, cured meat and black pepper deliciously coating the mouth.   There is a lushness to this wine giving it a superb mouthfeel, and the juicy fruit is framed by firm tannins leading to a smooth, lengthy finish.   SRP:  $30

 

Ferrante Vineyards and Ristorante:    Ferrante’s current production is around 60,000 cases of wine from their estate grapes.  A family run winery, when visiting Ferrante you may meet up with Winemaker Nick Ferrante, his brother Anthony who looks after the vineyards, and sisters Carmela and Mary Jo among other family members, each who exude a vibe of both passion and joy for their business.  Nick also shared some of the challenges they have faced over the years, including a fire 20 years ago that leveled most of the vines (which they replanted), to the polar vortex that devastated the 2014 vintage.   Mother Nature can be harsh at times, but as Nick said we must put these challenges behind us and continue moving forward.  Based on the outstanding tank and barrel samples I tasted, they appear to have done so quite nicely, with their talents and creativity employed.  Their released wines were also compelling, my favorites of Ferrante wines tasted include those noted below.  Visit their website at www.ferrantewinery.com.

2012 Reserve Chardonnay:  Mouthwatering apple pie aromas waft from the glass and are echoed on the palate with accompanying notes of butterscotch, poached pear and nutmeg spice.  The creamy mouth feel is rich and velvety, offset by vibrant acidity that holds through the lingering finish.  Similar impressions on the equally lovely 2013 vintage Chard.  SRP:  $24

2013 Gruner Veltliner:  True to its variety, this Gruner packs a spirited punch with a melding of passion fruit, citrus notes, garden fresh lettuces, a dash of white pepper and a pleasant touch of herbs.  Clean and refreshing from the tasty start to the upbeat finish.  SRP  $14

2013 Signature Series Golden Bunches Dry Riesling:  A bowlful of fresh sliced white peaches greets the nose and has you begging for summertime; delectable!  River rock minerality is showcased through a palate full of juicy stone fruit, vividly accented by lime zest and splendid acidity.  The tinge of sweetness is well placed, too.  SRP:  $15

2013 Gewurztraminer:  Gorgeous floral and spicy aromas vie for your attention as you hover over the glass before the first sip.  Passion fruit and clementine flavors mingle with the lovely spice notes that dance on the palate.  This Gewurz is well balanced, snappy and pure throughout.  SRP:  $15

2013 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine:  Wow, intense scents of honeysuckle and pineapple get the juices flowing.  On the palate a lovely glycerol texture carries bright flavors of tangerine, sugar-dusted pineapple and honey drizzled roasted nuts, mouthwateringly delicious.  SRP:  $30

 

Debonne Vineyards:  winemaker Edward Trebets shares that the winery was originally founded by Anton Debevc, who purchased a fruit farm in Madison, Ohio in 1916.  In the 1960’s Anton’s son Tony Sr. expanded the vineyards.  In 1971, Tony Sr. and his son Tony began their journey as commercial winemakers.  Debonne Vineyards was launched as a winery in 1972 with the construction of a winemaking facility and enchanting Chalet.  With ~175 acres of Vinifera, French American Hybrid and Native American grapevines planted, their current production is around 80,000 cases. Visit their Website at www.debonne.com to learn more.  Among my favorites tasted at Debonne are:

2012 Chairman’s White:  This bright white wine crafted from Niagara is a tribute to Tony Debevc Sr.  This wine showcases the Niagara grape brilliantly with fresh peach and floral aromas joining candied grape flavors and a hint of citrus through the palate.  Well balanced and easy to quaff.   SRP:  $8.49

NV Moscato-Riesling:  If your palate leans to sweeter wines, try this tasty elixir.  Fruity, floral Moscato is blended with vibrant, apricot and peach scented Riesling with orange candy undertones.  The result is a richly flavored, smoothly textured sweet table wine.   SRP:  $9.99

2013 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine: This luscious ice wine showcases juicy stone fruit at the core, with notes of clover honey, apricot preserves and candied mango accents.  Rich and pure with a gorgeous texture and a pretty touch of peach schnapps that lingers on the lip smacking finish.  SRP:  $29.99

 

South River Vineyard:  To many visitors, South River Vineyard is known as the church winery, as it is housed in a century old church building.  Owner Gene Siegal was intrigued by an abandoned church he observed during a drive to Kent, and after inquiring about it, he eventually moved it piece by piece to his current site in Geneva.  It has been in operating as a winery since 2002.  Gene welcomed us to a terrific tasting of his Karma and Cab Franc wines.  Learn more about South River Vineyard at the winery’s website; www.southrivervineyard.com.  You may also want to visit Gene’s Red Eagle Distillery, another fascinating property.

My favorite South River Vineyard wines tasted include:

2013 Semillon:  A beguiling herbal aroma sets the scene for a silky entry.  The fresh palate abounds with tropical fruit, fresh apricots, lemon curd and highlights of crushed herbs.  This is a gracefully structured Semillon with racy acidity and good length.  SRP:  $17

Karma 2010:  This plush blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 25% Cab Franc and 8% Syrah is rich and smoothly textured.  Unveiled on the palate are layers of tasty blackberries, blueberries and boysenberries accentuated by savory spice.  Pure and nicely balanced through the pleasing finish.  SRP:  $17

South River Vineyard’s second rendition of Karma 2010 is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Syrah.  Here, cherry and blueberry fruit take center stage, with exotic spices and hints of cola weaving throughout.  The acidity is lively and remains elevated from the first sip to the last drop.  SRP:  $17

2010 Cabernet Franc:  This generously fruited Cab Franc flaunts dense black cherries, wild berries and roasted green pepper notes from the expressive aromas through the bright, berry packed palate.  It is richly textured and well balanced with a finish that reveals a subtle accent of toasty oak.  SRP:  $17

 

NV Cask 1014:  The cask project in the Grand River Valley appellation began in 2010 with five participating vintners, using a solera type blending method to create a red blend from estate grapes.  Each year one third of the wine is taken out of the barrel for bottling and replaced with the new vintage.  I had the opportunity to taste three of the cask 1014 wines during my visit:

St. Joseph Vineyards Cask 1014:  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc boasts juicy raspberries and blackberries with a hint of roasted green pepper and soft, silky tannins.  A precisely balanced and polished blend.

Ferrante Winery’s Cask 1014:  Crafted of Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Shiraz, this blend is full bodied and intense with good depth of spice accented red and black fruit flavors and firm tannins; a fine expression of cool climate red wine.

Debonne Vineyard’s Cask 1014, composed of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, here is a wine that delivers juicy wild berries and a touch of spice; it is smoothly textured and nicely balanced, very easy to quaff.

I hope to taste the other two Cask 1014 wines, crafted by Laurello Vineyards and Grand River Cellars Winery, very soon.

 

The January 2014 polar vortex (frigid air) that descended upon Ohio with subzero temperatures decimated the 2014 vintage in wine regions including the Grand River Valley AVA.  I encourage you to get out there and show support for the state of Ohio’s wine industry.  The vintners will fully appreciate it, and you’ll enjoy tasting for yourself some of the well-crafted wines coming from talented producers there!

Gems in My Glass . . . November 2014

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Great Northwest, Tasting Notes

The recent 2014 The Great Northwest Wine Invitational Wine Competition unveiled numerous Gold and Double Gold Medal winning gems.  High points of judging blind include uncovering beautifully crafted wines that may have previously been outside of one’s radar, and also discovering some great values.  Here are a few favorites that my panel of judges scored G or GG at this year’s competition:

Chateau St. Michelle NV Brut Rose; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Enticing fruity aromatics with hints of freshly baked bread are fully engaging.  Flavors of fresh strawberries, cherries, a touch of earth and citrus accents swirl on the palate.  Beautiful acidity and a lively bead persist through the finish.  SRP:  $13 www.ste-michelle.com

Chateau St. Michelle 2011 Cold Creek Merlot; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Lovely floral scents make way for delectable dark berry, cherry and tobacco spice building intensely on the palate and finishing long.  This dense, pure and marvelously structured Merlot shows both elegance and impressive depth.  SRP:  $30 www.ste-michelle.com

Seven Falls Cellars 2012 Chardonnay; Wahluke Slope, Washington:  Aged in American and French oak barrels, buttered toast and oak notes fill the nose with this plush Chardonnay.  Flavors of creamy pears and spiced apple pie notes entwine with the toasty oak saturating the palate.   Finishes clean with a nice lift.  SRP:  $15 www.sevenfallscellars.com

Ambassador Vineyard 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; Red Mountain, Washington:  The captivating aromas are wildly expressive, luring you into the glass. This Cab is complex and richly flavored with cassis, dark berry, tobacco spice and hints of cedar interlacing deliciously on the palate and persisting on the lengthy finish.  SRP:  $35 www.ambassadorwinery.com

Northwest Cellars 2011 Madrigal; Columbia Valley, Washington:  This blend of 62% Mourvedre, 24% Grenache, and 14% Syrah showcases fresh black and red raspberries on the nose. The berries persist through the delicious palate, joining flavors of cranberry chutney and freshly cracked black pepper spice.  The texture is silky smooth and the acids are energetic, nicely offsetting the juicy fruit.  SRP:  $24 www.northwestcellars.com

Funnel Family Cellar 2008 Lia; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Aromas of fragrant violets lift from the glass with this blend of 42% Mourvedre, 32% Grenache 18% Counoise, and 8% Syrah.  The entry is resplendent with bright fruit and dynamic acidity.   Flavors of olallieberries, blackberries and spice-accented wild berries continue to unfold deliciously in the mouth.  The tannins are refined and the finish is long-lasting.  SRP:  $36 www.bunnellfamilycellar.com

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Dry Riesling; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Aromas of a fresh bouquet of white flowers fill the nose with this vivacious Dry Riesling.  Pure and refreshing from entry through the bright finish with flavors of peaches and nectarines taking center stage, laced with minerally highlights and a trace of fresh cut herbs.  SRP ~$10 www.ste-michelle.com

Walter Dacon Wines 2009 C’est Syrah Beaux; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Aromas of ripe berries and a hint of bacon fat open the door to a dense, fruit packed Syrah with powerful tannins.  Rich and intensely built with black cherries, blackberries and savory spice broadening fully on the palate through the bold finish.  SRP:  $38 www.walterdaconwines.com

Abacela Vineyards and Winery 2010 Estate Syrah; Umpqua Valley, Southern Oregon:  This elegant Syrah showcases aromas and flavors of sizzling bacon, ripe red cherries, raspberries and plums entwined with meaty notes and fresh ground multi-colored peppercorns.  It is perfectly balanced with exceptional purity and a finish lasting well beyond the last sip.  SRP:  $32 www.abacela.com

Colene Clemens Vineyards 2012 Margo Pinot Noir; Chehalem Mountains, Oregon:  Forest floor and dried cranberry aromas are reminiscent of a fine red Burgundy.  Ethereal and irresistible on the palate with layers of red raspberry, cherry, licorice and coriander spice filling the mouth.  This elegant quaff is well-defined and the finish is striking. SRP:  $36 www.coleneclemens.com

Colene Clemens Vineyards 2011 Margo Pinot Noir; Chehalem Mountains, Oregon:  Here’s woodsy, dramatic Pinot Noir showcasing red cherry, strawberry and cranberry chutney elements highlighted with hints of smoke, allspice and subtle underlying oak.  A fine vein of acidity streams across the palate through pleasing aftertaste.  SRP:  $27.20 www.coleneclemens.com

Abacela 2012 Garnacha; Umpqua Valley, Southern Oregon:  Gorgeous floral aromas draw you in, and the juicy red spice-accented raspberries, blueberries and huckleberries bursting out on the palate will keep you fully enchanted.  The texture is velvety smooth, the balance is steadfast, and the tannins are refined.  SRP:  $29 www.abacela.com

Two Vintners 2012 Stone Tree Vineyards Zinfandel; Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington:   This high-toned Zinfandel screams out jammy fruit on the nose.   Juicy purple plums and ripe blackberries are lush and pure on the palate, melding with a generous dusting of black pepper spice, and the lively acidity keeps the wine vivacious.  SRP:  $28 www.twovintners.com

To view all the results of this well executed competition, visit www.greatnorthwestwine.com.  To further engage with this highly acclaimed wine region, plan a fall or winter adventure, and experience the scents and tastes of the Great Northwest for yourself; there is plenty to discover here!

 

Gems in My Glass . . . October 2014

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Michigan, Tasting Notes

Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula, Part 2

Part 2 focuses on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, which holds an abundance of charm and talent throughout the AVA.  The following are among the gems that I was impressed with during my recent visit:

Bel Lago Vineyards & Winery; www.bellago.com

2012 Pinot Gris Reserve; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Welcoming ripe tropical fruits and leesy notes will fully awaken your senses with this intensely fragrant Pinot Gris.  Layers of delicious tropical guava, sun drenched pineapple and vibrant citrus wrapped around a solid backbone of acidity unfold on the palate.  A skillfully crafted Pinot Gris that is impeccably balanced and finishes long.  SRP:  $22

2012 Pinot Grigio; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Sur lie aging gives this tasty wine depth and sophistication, and the marvelous aromatics show off vivid florality.  It is bright and balanced on the palate, where flavors of fresh kiwi, green apple notes and a flaky crusted mandarin orange tart entwine.  This Pinot Grigio impresses with significant complexity through the extended finish.  SRP:  $17

2012 Auxerrois; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  This dry white wine (crafted from a grape widely grown in France, and planted by Bel Lago in Michigan back in the 1980’s) is lively and focused, from the citrusy aromas to the juicy fruit at the core.  Melon, pineapple and apple drench the palate with lemon zest and flecks of herbs and spice chiming in, and the mouth feel is exquisite.  SRP:  $19

2010/2011 Gewürztraminer; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Here’s a sexy, spicy Gewürztraminer for you.  Rising from the glass are gorgeous aromatics of rose petals, spice and honeysuckle.  Coating the mouth are sweet grapefruit, lychee nut, and ginger spice with colorful orange and lemon accents.  The hint of sweetness is well placed, and the vibrant acidity flows smartly through the juicy fruit.  SRP:  $18

2011 Chardonnay; Lake Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  You’ll swoon at first whiff of this intensely structured Chardonnay, aged in 100% French oak.  The enticing butterscotch aroma leads to flavors of baked apples, honeydew melon, pie spice and vanilla bean highlights that richly coat the palate.  The oak presentation is subtle and well integrated, and you’ll find a striking counterpoint of acidity, remarkable depth, and purity from start to heavenly finish   SRP:  $22

2012 Moreno Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  I tasted this stunning gem from the barrel and was thoroughly engaged and inspired.   Enticing aromatics lead to a flavorful wine showcasing dark cherries, warm earth, raspberry, tobacco spice and a pretty touch of oak.  I expect this complex Pinot Noir to age well with its density of fruit, finely tuned acidity, and firmly structured tannins.  SRP:  ~$42

2010 Reserve Pinot Noir; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Tempting scents of dried cherries and spice lift from the glass.  Building provocatively on the palate are mouthwatering layers of cherries, forest floor nuances, hints of anise and cranberry/raspberry compote with a squeeze of orange.   Complex and precisely balanced with nicely integrated tannins, this wine finishes with good length and verve.  SRP:  $35

2007 Bel Lago Pinot Noir; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Expressive aromas of wild mushrooms and red berries wow the senses.  It is equally seductive on the palate with fresh strawberries, cranberries, cherry pie notes, sautéed mushrooms and sweet oak spices interlacing sublimely.  This Pinot Noir is deep and complex with a lovely texture and fine grained tannins.  It has aged magnificently thus far, and promises additional years ahead.   SRP:  ~$35

2005 Bel Lago Pinot Noir; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Love the woodsy aroma that captures your full attention with this exquisite wine, which has aged elegantly.  Ethereal on the palate with flavors of wild mushrooms, hints of tobacco, dried cherry and savory spices that mesh in fine synchronization.  Deftly integrated oak is displayed from first sip through the finish; one that is long lasting and memorable.  SRP:  ~$35

 Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery; www.fortyfivenorth.com

2013 “45” White; Michigan:  This medium sweet blend of Vidal Blanc Cayuga White, La Crescent and Riesling delivers an appealing walk in the garden floral bouquet to the nose.  Coating the mouth are palate pleasing sun-kissed fruits.  Fresh pineapple, ripe melon and juicy peaches team up with a clear-cut level of acidity.  If you lean toward sweetness in your wine, this one will surely hit the spot.  SRP:  $16

2013 Unoaked Chardonnay; Michigan:  This bright Chardonnay captures the fruity essence of the Chardonnay grape.  Two lots were fermented separately and left on the lees for four months, adding good depth and complexity.  At the core are delicious citrus flecked apples and pears with hints of fresh herbs and spice peeking through. It is crisp and streamlined through the uplifted finish.  SRP:  $19

2012 Cabernet Franc; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Floral aromas captivate the nose with this lively, well-crafted wine.  It is deep and satisfying as it flows onto the tongue with sweet blackberries, tart wild berries and spiced blueberry compote flavors linking with violets and attractive oak notes.  A subtle suggestion of roasted green bell peppers shows through from mid to back palate, and the aftertaste lingers delightfully.   SRP:  $38

L. Mawby Winery; www.lmawby.com

L. Mawby Talismon NV Brut; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  The distinctively expressive nose will knock your socks off. This whole cluster pressed field blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Vignoles is alluring with its yeasty, leesy characteristics up front.  Dancing on the palate are flavors of freshly baked pie crust, sautéed apple slices, almond butter, lemon curd and a splash of lemon-lime.  Creamy in texture, complex and properly balanced, this buoyant bubbly finishes with a vibrant lift.  SRP:  $37

Sandpainting NV Extra Brut; Michigan:  Yeasty scents and floral notes waft enticingly from the glass.  Here is an inviting sparkling wine that displays a lively stream of tiny bubbles.  Crafted of 50% Pinot Noir, 27% Chardonnay and 23% Vignoles, this wine made in the Methode Champenoise traditional method is aptly named.  It is beautiful with racy acidity balancing the rich layers of flaky croissants, dried apricots, tinges of roasted nuts and quince paste that weave artistically on the palate; charming and energetic.  SRP:  $29

L. Mawby 2005 Mille Brut; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  This enrapturing Methode Champenoise sparkling wine brags a beautiful tiny bead that lives on forever.  Fashioned from 100% Chardonnay fruit, this jewel, kept on the yeast for seven years, is deep and complex.  Intoxicating aromas of brioche and hints of honey wow the senses.  It is rich and creamy in the mouth with layers of freshly baked bread, warm apple crisp, spicy poached pears, a twist of lemon peel, and butterscotch notes that unravel amidst invigorating acidity; a triumphant bubbly.  SRP:  $50

Shady Lane Cellars; www.shadylanecellars.com

2012 Gewürztraminer; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  This well composed Gewürz with just a touch of sweetness opens with an alluring floral nose.   The expressive, jazzy palate is brimming with varietally correct layers of guava, orange blossom, lychee and fresh tangerine with a generous thread of spice. Well balanced and lively with an aftertaste that lingers gracefully.  SRP:  $20.95

2011 Blue Franc; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Here is a juicy, spicy red wine that is nicely balanced and pure throughout.  Red and black cherry and berry fruits entice the nose and expand fully on the palate with cedar notes and alluring spicy elements remaining focused and persistent.  The aging in 100% French oak (25% new) is well integrated and adds a toasty note to the pleasing finish.  SRP:  $28.95

2011 Franc ‘n’ Franc; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Making quite a statement with its darkly fruited, intriguing aromas, this wine is a blend of 57% Blaufränkisch, 36% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot.  It has a serious side with its depth and solid structure, and shows off an elegant side with its balance and smooth texture.    Black currants, blueberries, tobacco spice and wild berries meld with a fine level of acidity and flow smoothly into the enduring finish.  SRP:  $19.95

Brengman Brothers Crain Hill Vineyards; www.brengmanbrothers.com

2012 Artist Series Unoaked Chardonnay; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Aged in the growing in popularity concrete egg-shaped tank, this beautifully textured Burgundian style Chardonnay opens with wildly expressive Chablis-like minerality on the nose.   Crisp apple, citrus fruit, pineapple and notes of herbs and minerals converge on the palate in harmony.   A complex, well-structured wine with zesty acidity and a finish that is long and memorable.  SRP:  $32.95

2012 Artist Series Barrel Aged Chardonnay; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Provocative aromas of roasted nuts and orchard fruit engage the senses with this compelling Chard, aged in French oak.  Interlacing flavors of butter-accented baked pears, spiced apple cobbler, Meyer lemon and hints of clover honey take center stage, merging with toasty oak elements and minerality that add further dimension.  Intense in structure with an exact balance, this wine is pretty in its youth, and should age handsomely for years.  SRP:  $39.95

2012 Dry Riesling Reserve; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Fragrances of wet stone, minerals and stone fruit (just what sings Riesling to me) jump out of the glass.  The flavor profile is vivid and intense with white peaches and hints of dried apricots joining stony minerality, lime zest and a touch of herbs flourishing on the palate.   Lean and crisp with bracing acidity, the wine finishes on a bright note with plenty of length.  SRP:  $21.95

2010 Med-Sweet Riesling Reserve; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Here’s an appealing sweet Riesling that perks up the senses with notes of cinnamon stick on the nose.  It is streamlined from start to finish with minerally, ripe stone fruit, hints of white flowers and a touch of herbs unfolding delectably in the mouth.  Well balanced and pure through the lively finish.   SRP:  $24.95

2013 Gary’s Reserve Gewürztraminer; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  This mouthwatering, highly aromatic Gewürz dances on the palate with spicy, mineral laded lychee and apricot flavors intermingling with pretty citrus notes.  The texture is silky and the wine remains snappy as racy acidity cuts through the sweet citrus-backed fruit.  A kick of gingerbread is highlighted on the lip-smacking finish.   SRP:    $24.95

Nathaniel Rose Wine  2010 Syrah/Viognier, Domaine Berrien, Abigail Vineyard; Lake Michigan Shore, Michigan:  Here is a full bodied Syrah co-fermented with Viognier in the classic Cote Rotie fashion. This is a well defined, complex wine.   Floral characteristics engage the nose and lead to a spicy mouthful of black fruit, hints of roasted meat, herbs and spice.  Deep, dark and delicious with full on tannins suggesting ageworthiness.  SRP:  $50

Nathaniel Rose Wine  2012 Left Bank; Domaine Berrien, Abigail Vineyard; Lake Michigan Shore, Michigan:  This extraordinary blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 3% Cab Franc proudly boasts an intense, black fruit, spicy aroma converging with flavors of plum, blackberry, fresh tobacco, cassis and espresso bean.  Tightly wound and complex, it was aged in neutral French oak; the subtle oak nuances are appreciated.  Powerful in its intensity and structure with a precise balance and firm tannins, this wine is impressive in its youth.  You’ll be handsomely rewarded by practicing patience, too; a cellarworthy wine.   SRP:  $250

2013 Cabernet Franc Icewine, Wooden Fish Vineyard; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Here is a delectable dessert wine with an outgoing personality.  Enticing aromatics lead to layers of dense, juicy raspberries, olallieberries, savory rhubarb pie components, a trace of roasted nuts and a drizzle of honey captivating the palate.   This gem is fully flavored and well balanced with hints of toast and caramel on the richly satisfying finish; a perfect nightcap.  SRP:  $75

Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula wine regions offer a wealth of beauty, charm, passionate personalities and noteworthy wines.  You too should take the time to explore these wineries, and additional producers who are also crafting beautiful wines in these regions (wineries that I did not have the opportunity to visit this time.  For example, Chateau Fontaine comes to mind).   I will continue following these AVA’s to keep my eye and my palate on future developments and vintages respectively, as they continue to raise the bar and further position themselves as significant players in the world of wine.

 

Gems in My Glass . . . September 2013

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Michigan

Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula, Part 1

The Michigan wine country is one that always leaves me with pleasant memories and wonderment.  With each visit, I find this growing region continues to elevate the quality level, unveil new producers, and present remarkably crafted wines, and this year is no exception.    My recent trip encompassed visits to properties in the beautifully scenic, hopping with activity Old Mission Peninsula and Lake Leelanau Peninsula AVA’s.  Among my favorites were:

Chateau Grand Traverse Winery and Vineyards; www.cgtwines.com:

2012 “Laika” Grüner Veltliner; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  This tantalizing Grüner, aged 100% in stainless steel, is lean and minerally with melon and spice notes on the nose and entry.  Joining in mid palate are flavors of chopped herbs, citrus fruits and white pepper accents framed by vibrant acidity.  Nicely weighted and balanced through the bright finish.  SRP:  $17

2012 Ship of Fools; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  Engaging and well balanced, this blend of 70% Pinot Blanc, 25% Pinot Gris and 5% Pinot Noir broadcasts a beautifully expressive tropical aroma.   Layers of guava, ripe melon, dragon fruit and lemon verbena flourish on the palate.  A lush, round texture carries the fruit and acidity brilliantly through the quenching finish.  SRP:  ~$15

2013 Whole Cluster Select Riesling; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  Lovely minerality greets the nose with this medium dry Riesling.   Vivid flavors of white peach, green apple, fennel, allspice and mineral notes unravel onto the palate with style.  I love the purity and liveliness of this Riesling, and the hint of sweetness is well placed.  SRP:  $15

2013 Lot 49 Riesling “Cuvee Molly Devine”;  Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:   This fragrant single vineyard block bottling of Alsace Clone #49 Riesling showcases citrus accented apricots, peach skin, wet stone nuances, a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a splash of tangerine melding together in harmony from first sip.  Sleek with lively acidity and leesy notes underlining the core of bright fruit, and the finish is long lasting. SRP:  $21

2011 Gamay Noir Reserve; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  Dense, dark fruit aromas with a hint of oak drive you into the glass, where you’ll revel in the rich texture and dense blackberries, cherries, ripe plums and a hint of strawberry jam melding with a generous twist of fresh cracked peppercorns dancing on the palate.  Immensely satisfying with just the right level of toasty oak, this complex, well structured wine finishes with an aftertaste that carries on and on.  SRP:  $20

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery; www.brysestate.com:

2013 Naked Chardonnay; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  This pure, fresh Chardonnay comes from a blend of clones 809, 96, 76.  Heady scents of citrus blossom and honeysuckle engage the nose, and flavors of succulent, fresh papaya and pineapple spears spill out upon entry.   Mid palate it is vibrant and juicy with crisp pears and a splash of citrus and herbs mingling with the lush, tropical fruit.  Thoroughly refreshing through the buoyant finish.  SRP:  $24

2013 Pinot Blanc; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  This impressive Pinot Blanc proudly announces its presence with a gorgeous floral nose.  It is equally compelling in the mouth with layers of Asian pears, passion fruit and fresh pineapple bursting forth with accents of lemon lime, stony minerality and tisane herbal tea.  The wine is rich and tactile with impeccable balance; a magnificently crafted wine.  SRP:  $25

2012 Pinot Noir; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:   Here’s a wildly expressive Pinot Noir that hits the jackpot with its subtle oak, red cherries and exotic spice aromas lifting from the glass.  Crafted from vines planted to Dijon clones, the wine continues to unfold on the palate with warm earth, pomegranate and citrusy notes adding further dimension.  Love the restraint in alcohol at 12.9%, too.  Elegant and pure through the uplifted finish.  SRP:  $32

2011 Cabernet Franc; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  This intensely flavored Cab Franc is deeply fruited with raspberry, candied berry, plum, cherry and orange zest flavors caressing the palate, making way for cinnamon stick, eucalyptus and earthy highlights to peek through.  The aging in 20% new, 50% second and 30% neutral barrels keeps the oak nicely in the background, and the tannins are firm yet velvety smooth.  SRP:  $50

Bowers Harbor Vineyards, www.bowersharbor.com:

2009 Cuvee Evan Blanc de Blanc: From their Old Mission Peninsula estate Block 1 comes this sassy sparkling wine, chalk full of yeasty aromas.    A spirited, tiny bead tickles the tongue and the wine explodes with vibrancy upon entry.  Flavors of crisp pear, brioche and a touch of butterscotch wrapped around a nice backbone of acidity swirl on the palate with spice notes joining in on the glittering finish.   SRP:  $30

2012 “2986” Langley; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:   Aged 18 months in French Oak barrels, this deep blend of 69% Cab Franc, 30% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon intertwines subtle oak with black plum, cassis, blackberry, a touch of roasted bell peppers and savory spice.  It is tightly wound with firm tannins supporting the generous flavor profile.  Decant if you pop the cork now.  If you have the time and patience, this wine is also one to hold; you’ll reap rewards in cellaring.  SRP:  $75

 Black Star Farms Winery; www.blackstarfarms.com:

2013 Arcturos Dry Riesling; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  Here is an exquisite Riesling that tempts the senses with stony mineral and fresh sun-ripened peach aromatics.   Bright and precisely balanced, it opens with high notes that set the stage for focused minerality framing juicy, citrus backed stone fruit and lemon verbena accents.  The finish offers a touch of lime zest and persists with plenty of verve.  SRP: $15

2013 Arcturos Pinot Blanc; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  Enticing tropical fruit aromas waft from the glass with this smooth as silk Pinot Blanc. Bracing acidity is a beautiful counter balance to the juicy pineapple, guava and apple fruit flavors with bright lemon zest highlights richly unfolding on the palate.   A stylish wine that shows depth and purity from start to lip-smacking finish.  SRP:  $18

2013 Arcturos Pinot Noir Rosé; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:   Scents of a garden-fresh bouquet and juicy strawberry shortcake start the mouth watering.  The delectable melding of red cherries, strawberries and raspberries with a splash of citrus simply delights the taste buds.  The fresh fruit enveloped in lively acidity flows in a steady stream on its way to a vivacious, uplifted finish; a chic dry rose.  SRP:   $13.50

2011 Arcturos Pinot Noir; 60% Grand Traverse County, 40% Leelanau County, Michigan:  This mesmerizing Pinot Noir awakens the senses with aromas of violets and cherry cordial.  Nicely structured and distinctive with layers of a spiced cherry compote, anise seed and hints of beet root elegantly displayed on the palate.  The essence of toasty oak spice from 10% new French oak aging is subtle and well integrated.  SRP:  $25

2007 A Capella Pinot Noir; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  Forest floor aromas capture your attention and keep you further enraptured with each sip.   Deep and complex with flavors of black cherry, licorice drops, pipe spice and a sprinkling of fresh dill unraveling heavenly in the mouth.   The fine balance and firm backbone of tannins suggests this Burgundian style Pinot Noir will continue to show well for years.  SRP:  ~$27.50

2004 Arcturos Pinot Noir; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  I’m a huge fan of truffles in any form, and this divinely aromatic Pinot Noir really oozes black truffles on the nose!   Dark cherry and raspberry fruit thrive with the tantalizing earthy, truffle notes and hints of sage, and the management of underlying oak is well executed.  At ten years of age, this wine is drinking fabulously; smartly crafted.   SRP:  ~$25

Left Foot Charley Urban Winery; www.leftfootcharley.com:

2013 Sauvignon Blanc; Leelanau County, Michigan:  I really appreciate the grassy style of this energetic Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s well balanced and fully flavored with gooseberry, kiwi, and quince paste engaging the nose and decorating the palate with aplomb.   Fresh and vibrant with an attractive highlight of fresh chopped herbs on the sassy finish.  SRP:  $20

2013 Old Orchard Vineyard Kerner; Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan:  Here’s a fascinating wine made from this under the radar grape, a cross of Riesling and Trollinger (more widely grown in Germany).  The entry is delicate and easy, with pretty perfumed citrus blossom notes.  The wine gains momentum on the palate with tasty lemon curd, nectarine, apple skin and tropical notes weaving with a touch of herbs, and it finishes with a kick of lemon-lime; provocative.   SRP:  $20

2012 Seventh Hill Farm Riesling; Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan:  Intense aromas of sautéed pears, peaches and gobs of minerality arouse the olfactory receptors.  This Riesling is powerful and pure, with the citrus infused tree fruits entwined with steely mineral notes reaching every nook and cranny in the mouth.  The pleasurable aftertaste continues with plenty of spirit and good length, too.  SRP:  $23

Watch this space for additional impressive Michigan wine recommendations in Part 2 of Michigans Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula”; soon to follow.

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