Posts Tagged White
Place of origin: Tale Feathers Vineyard, Old Mission Peninsula AVA, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Purchased for $18
Miscellaneous label info: Tale Feathers is “1.8 acres of sandy loam soils facing due west in the heart of Old Mission Peninsula.” Harvested 10/17/11, 7.8 tons, 23.3 Brix sugar at harvest, TA: 7g/1, Residual Sugar: 3g/1. So there.
Appearance: Pale gold with long broad legs.
Nose: Grapey and semi-sweet. Hardwood smoke, hard apple cider, pear.
On the palate: Full bodied and, again, semi-sweet. Golden Delicious apples, Bartlett pear, plum.
Finish: Medium dry. A touch of cedar and a little peach linger in the mouth.
Parting words: I’ve reviewed wines from Left Foot Charley before, so I’ll spare you a rehash of where this winery is and what they do. Like the other LFC wines I’ve had, this is a very good wine with great varietal and terroir-driven character. It has all the characteristics of fine Pinot Gris from Alsace or elsewhere, but it also has a light, bright (but not tart) character its French cousins often lack. It also lacks the voluptuous mouthfeel of Alsatian whites, but it’s plenty sexy as it is.
This wine does well with the usual white wine fare like poultry and seafood, but has enough depth and complexity to hold one’s attention on its own. It could probably have been fine with another six months to a year in the bottle too, but it’s best not to push things too much with a Gris. The price is reasonable for a vintage varietal that more than delivers on its promises. Left Foot Charley’s 2011 Pinot Gris is recommended.
Maker: Joseph Carr, Healdsburg, California, USA
Place of Origin: Sonoma County, California, USA
Appearance: Light straw with
Nose: Apricot, pear, mandarin orange, pineapple.
On the palate: Medium dry and mild. Unripe pear, not much else other than a little sweetness and an herbal touch as the wine warms up.
Finish: Sweet, fruity and mild. a little sweetness lingers in the cheeks for a while and then slowly fades.
Parting words: When I saw the Josh Cellars display at a local grocery store, I thought “Well, it looks like it will be pretty dull, but I have to buy some and post notes, right?” Right.
Sauvignon Blanc is a grape I have grown to appreciate after having some really tasty New Zealand ones. I’ve had some good California SBs too, but most of them have been very dull. This one falls into the dull category. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, and it has a very nice nose, but it falls flat on the palate and it has no finish to speak of. It works best well-chilled with poultry or mild seafood.
The price is not good, but if you can find it for closer to $10 it might be worth a try. Otherwise, grab a Joel Gott or one of the cheaper brands from NZ. Josh Sauvignon Blanc is mildly recommend.
Origin: Michigan, USA
Appearance: Medium gold.
Nose: Lychee, pineapple, tangerine, pear.
On the palate: Full-bodied and mouth-puckeringly tart when fresh from the bottle. Lemon, sour candy. As it has time to open up at room temperature it calms down quite a bit. The citrus is still there and still strong, but a pleasant herbal note asserts itself. Underneath all this is a beautiful firmness that presages good things to come.
Finish: Fairly sweet but still very tart. Fades fairly quickly and leaves a slightly sticky residue on the lips.
Parting words: I think this is another lesson wine for me. It was close to undrinkable on first pour, but I don’t think that’s due to any inherent flaw in the wine. I may be all wet here, but I think it needs much more time in the bottle to settle down. As it is, it’s unbalanced.
There is plenty of good stuff going on. The fruit in the nose is wonderful and the mouth feel is great, but this wine is not ready for primetime. This is the first time I have encountered a Michigan wine like this from a major quality producer (one of my favorites actually). Far from being disappointed I was encouraged that Michigan producers are making wines for which multi-year bottle aging isn’t just possible but recommended. That’s an encouraging sign.
Anyhow, rather than give a mild recommendation to this, I will give it an I for incomplete. Good thing I have another bottle cellared.
Maker: Tariquet, Eauze, Midi-Pyrénées, France (Grassa family)
Grapes: Ugni Blanc & Colombard
Place of origin: Côtes de Gascone
Appearance: Golden straw.
Nose: Crisp and lightly fruity. Peach, pear, tangerine.
On the palate: A bit more citrus, but still crispy. Peach, Clementine, lemon thyme drying to flintiness. As it opens up, more grapefruit comes to the fore.
Finish: Drying. The fruit is still there but loses out to minerals in the end. Leaves a slight bitterness on the tongue.
Parting words: I love wines (and beers and whiskeys and other stuff) that defy my expectations. You see, I had decided that I didn’t like French whites from the western part of the country. I had some dull white Bordeaux and so I wrote off the entire area. But being an adventurous soul, I saw this wine recommended as a “crisp summer white” by a local wine-monger who has never failed to find me good values in French wine in the past. So I bought a bottle.
I’m glad I did. It certainly delivers on the crispness and it would be hard to ask for a better wine of this type at $10 or less. Might buy a couple more of these before the summer is out! Domaine de Pouy is highly recommended.
Note: Made using white wine leftovers (skins, pulp, seeds, stems).
Appearance: Clear with big thick legs.
Nose: Fruity and pungent, but not unpleasant. Like a fruity perfume. Ripe pear, table grapes, a hint of fresh cut cedar and lemon grass.
On the palate: Mild but full bodied. Sweet and mildly grapey.
Finish: delicately fruity and woody with more of that cut cedar aroma rolling around the mouth.
Parting words: For those who may not know, grappa is a brandy distilled from a fermentation of the left over byproducts of the wine making process collectively called pomace or marc. Grappa is the Italian word for such a beverage. Other versions of the same thing include marc (French), orujo (Spanish) and tescovină (Romanian). The name grappa is restricted by the European Union to beverages of this type made in Italy, but has no such protection here in the U.S., hence this American grappa.
I haven’t had much grappa (or marc or the like) so the mental sample to which I am comparing this spirit is small. That said, this is very, very good. It’s not nearly as rough and raw tasting as the other grappas I have tasted and has a very pleasant nose that really shines in a Glencairn or Riedel Single Malt glass (I don’t own a grappa glass). It’s delicious chilled or at room temperature before or after a meal or on a hot afternoon.
Black Star Farms makes a wide variety of eaux-de-vie and brandies including a “red grappa” which is not actually red but made from red wine leftovers. It is also quite good, but the white has a very appealing perfumed nose, no doubt a reflection of the Riesling, Pinot Gris and other aromatic white wine grape varieties that lent their unused bits to the this spirit.
Spirit of the Vineyard Michigan White Grappa is highly recommended.
For further reading: http://sipologyblog.com/2011/07/08/a-visit-to-black-star-farms/
Place of origin: Old Mission Peninsula AVA, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Appearance: Pale straw.
Nose: Lychee, white peach, pear, whiff of dried flowers.
On the palate: Medium bodied and slightly tart. Queen Ann cherries, white mulberries, rose water.
Finish: Fairly dry with a hint of tartness. Pear, plum and Golden Delicious apple.
Parting words: Is orchardy a word? Because if it is, it applies to this wine. I don’t usually buy into claims that terroir makes much of a difference beyond soil composition and climate, but this BHV’s Medium Dry Riesling is very much in the spirit of Northern Michigan. Cherries and other stone fruit are abundant with a bit of apple and pear thrown in there as well. Starts to get overly tart after being opened for a day or more, but this one is so tasty it should not be a problem to finish a bottle within 24 hours. The dryness makes it quite food friendly and it would go very well with mild flavored fish (the label recommends Walleye) and chicken. Bowers Harbor Medium Dry Riesling is highly recommended.
Maker: Alamos, Tunuyán, Argentina
Place of origin: Mendoza, Argentina
Appearance: Brassy gold.
Nose: oak, lemon zest, thyme.
On the palate: Medium bodied and medium sweet. Brown butter, clementine, white pepper.
Finish: A little tart but fades into pretty heavy oak. Not pleasant, but not unbearable.
Parting words: This wine was the result of another grocery store shelf dig. I hadn’t had a chard for a while and I was looking for one with some good age on it from somewhere that wasn’t California or Burgundy and this wine fit the bill.
It’s not bad really. It’s overoaked in the standard New World style, but not by much. I can see this wine going well with fairly standard seafood or roast chicken dishes. On its own, it’s a good enough for a weeknight or a casual chat with friends. The price is a little high for this sort of thing ($13) but it’s not outrageous either. My only criticism is the finish. Maybe a little less oak would have taken some of the bitterness out of the finish. Anyway, Alamos 2008 Chardonnay is recommended.
Maker: Black Star Farms, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Place of Origin: Montaña Rusa, Montague Estate & Capella vineyards, Old Mission AVA, Michigan, USA
Style: Medium Dry
Appearance: Pale straw with not much in the way of legs.
Nose: Lemon thyme, orange zest, ripe peach, mango nectar.
On the palate: Full bodied for a Riesling. Slightly racy but with just enough minerality. Fresh apricots, peach cobbler, hint of limestone.
Finish: Mildly sweet and citric. A little background minerality and then a soft fade.
Parting words: Long time readers of this blog have come to expect gushing reviews of Four Roses special releases and wines from Black Star Farms. This review will not depart from pre-established patterns in any way. This is a delightful wine. The 2011 vintage in northwestern Michigan continues to impress. This wine is like that rare friend who is intellectual but not pedantic and a lot of fun at parties but never embarrassing to be around.
My only regret is that I drank it too soon. I probably should have waited for until next summer but it’s damn good night now. 2011 Arcturos Riesling is highly recommended.
Grape: Pinot Gris/Pinto Grigio
Place of origin: Montague, Capella and Montaña Rusa vineyards, Old Mission AVA, Michigan, USA
Appearance: Golden straw.
Nose: Peach, pear, Golden Delicious apples, paper white narcissus.
On the palate: Crisp and medium dry. More Golden Delicious, stone, apricot, smoke.
Finish: Fairly dry. White grapefruit, smoke, a lingering background sweetness.
Parting words: I’m a big fan of Alsatian Pinot Gris, and I’ve had some good Michigan ones too, so I was eager to get into this bottle. It did not disappoint. It has a great balance of varietal character with some citrus notes, but they are well in check by smoke and minerality. This is firmly in the Alsatian, not Italian, style of making wine with this grape. It’s very food friendly (buttery fish or light vegetarian fare work best) and is affordable for a wine of this quality. The 2011 Arcturos Pinot Gris is recommended.
Grapes: Vignoles, Riesling, Chardonnay, Traminette
Region: Michigan, USA
Style: White table wine
Appearance: Light gold with not much in the way of legs.
Nose: Apricot, Meyer lemon.
On the palate: full bodied and crisp. pear, tangerine, peach.
Finish: Light and sweet. Lemonheads, red grapefruit. Fairly short.
Parting words: According to the LFC website, the grapes that go into Murmur change from vintage to vintage. The 2010 vintage was intended as an homage to the easier-drinking vintages of Vouvray. It does very well in that regard. LFC has done a very good job of blending hybrids with the Riesling and Chard to create that effect.
Murmur is fruity and a bit tart, but with enough body and aroma to keep things interesting. They recommend this wine be consumed young and in the summer time. I didn’t exactly follow that recommendation, but I can tell you that it tastes pretty good at 2+ y/o in the middle of winter. It works fine with a meal but might work better as a before dinner wine or with a cheese course. Murmur 2010 is recommended.