Posts Tagged White
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.
Maker: Black Star Farms, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Place of origin: Capella Vineyards, Old Mission AVA, Traverse City, Michigan
Style: Unoaked Chardonnay
Appearance: Pale gold
Nose: apricot, pear, tangerine.
On the palate: Medium bodied and medium sweet. Slightly tart but easy going with lots of varietal character. More apricot, blood orange, pink grapefruit.
Finish: Slightly bitter and citric, moves from pink to white grapefruit.
Parting words: This is an unoaked Chardonnay, but it still is very much a Chardonnay. Lots of that fruity but medium dry Chard character. I’ll admit, I’m not as fond of the product of this grape as I once was. This is a nice enough wine, and it’s a nice change of pace from oaky California Chards, even if it doesn’t really impress. The wife thinks it tastes like a Vihno Verde, and I can see what she means. I doubt Chardonnay will ever reach the heights that Riesling does in Michigan, but if winemakers continue to be creative, Chard may have a place. At any rate, Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay is mildly recommended
Maker: Black Star Farms, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Place of origin: Montaña Rusa, Capella and Montague vinyards, Old Mission AVA, Michigan, USA
Appearance: pale gold.
Nose: Tangerine, apricot, Meyer lemon.
On the palate: Medium bodied and velvety. A bit of smoke, but not overpowering. Canned pear, ripe peach, golden delicious apple. Never overly tart or citric, though. Perfectly balanced.
Finish: Pink Grapefruit, bartlett pear, but, again, easy going and elegant.
Parting words: According to the label Pinot Blanc from these vineyards usually gets blended into BSF’s sparkling wines, but the 2011 vintage was so outstanding they decided to bottle it as a varietal. It is a fantastic wine. Elegant and balanced, but never boring. Plenty of terroir tartness, but never overwhelming or pucker-inducing. Dry but highly aromatic and fruity. I just can’t say enough about this wine. It’s a very limited bottling that I received as a member of their wine club. The information that actually came with the package had a different wine listed, but I thank Bacchus that I got this one instead. Arcturos Pinot Blanc 2011 is worth seeking out and highly recommended.
Maker: Shady Lane, Sutton’s Bay, Michigan, USA
Place of origin: Leelanau Peninsula AVA, Michigan, USA
Notes: Estate grown. Wine was tasted two days after opening.
Nose: Crisp semi-tart apples, ripe apricot.
On the palate: Medium-bodied and dry. Oak, breadfruit, curry powder, peach, melon.
Finish: Fairly dry without much fruit. Lasts a good length of time.
Parting words: Shady Lane Gewürz is very well done. It has the spice and dryness one expects from a Gewürztraminer, with the crisp fruit typical of Michigan whites. Even at three years old, and being open for two days (with a stopper in the fridge of course) it wasn’t flabby or tired. Went very well with herb-roasted chicken according to the wife. This was my first Shady Lane wine and I am sure it won’t be my last. Shady Lane Cellars Gewürztraminer 2009 is recommended.
Maker: Pelee Island Winery
Place of origin: Pelee Island VQA, Ontario, Canda
Style: Late Harvest
Appearance: Light gold with thick, sparse legs.
Nose: Dry and mild. Light smoke, heirloom apples.
On the palate: Medium bodied. Slightly smokey and oaky. A bit of fruit with lychee and dry apple cider.
Finish: Woody and smoky but well balanced.
Parting Words: I was pleasantly surprised by this wine. The smoke (and spelling) of this wine invoke Alsace, but it’s drier with less fruit than most Alsatian Pinot Gris I’ve had, belying its late harvest status.
After tasting a couple of Pelee Island’s high end wines on my last trip to their tasting room (in Kingsville, not on the island itself) I had low expectations for this one. But this Pinot Gris is top notch.
Maker: Left Foot Charley, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Place of origin: The Terminal Moraine, Old Mission Peninsula AVA, Traverse City, Michigan
Notes: Single vineyard, estate wine. Harvested 10/12/10. 22 Brix at harvest. pH 3.00, TA (?) 8g/L, 1% residual sugar.
Appearance: Pearly straw.
Nose: Dry but fruity. Under ripe peach, lychee, gravel, fresh squeezed orange juice.
On the palate: Medium bodied and slightly citric. Meyer lemon, lemon thyme, limestone, peach. Shades of Pfalz.
Finish: A little citric, a little sweet, but mostly dry and mineral.
Parting Words: Old Mission Peninsula is currently producing the best Rieslings in Eastern North America. Old Mission can more than hold their own against Rieslings from California and the Pacific Northwest. Left Foot Charley is one of the wineries leading the pack. Their grapes come from Old Mission, but their winery is on the campus of a former insane asylum (no joke!) in Traverse City proper. Don’t let that or the silly name scare you, LFC makes world class wines and ciders of all styles, often with price tags to match.
This wine is described as dry on the label, and it is that, but the label gets a little defensive of the wine’s statistical claim to be dry. Too much math for me, but on the first sip I was instantly reminded of dry Central European Riesling. It is not the bone-chilling dry of an Austrian Riesling but it has a bracing minerality that one does not expect from Michigan. It goes well with food (had mine with grilled sea scallops) but you may find yourself distracted by the wine. Left Foot Charley’s 2010 Dry Riesling is highly recommended.
Maker: Georges Buthet & Fils, Valais, Switzerland.
Grape: Fendant (Chasselas Blanc)
Region: Vétroz ,Valais ROC, Valais Canton, Switzerland
Appearance: Straw. Not much in the way of a robe.
Nose: Surprisingly fruity. Pineapple, mango, ripe peach, apricot.
On the palate: On first open, much more fruit forward than I was expecting. The nose definitely followed through on the palate. After a couple days chilling in the fridge, it has become drier. Still some tropical fruit, but balanced with a flinty taste I would expect in an Alpine wine.
Finish: The finish is quite dry. Maybe a little grapefruit, but not much else in the way of fruit. A vegetal note creeps in at the end, like thyme.
Parting words: This is the first Swiss wine I’ve purchased or even tasted for that matter. The Swiss produce a lot of wine, but they drink even more. As a result, not much Swiss wine makes its way out of the country.
All that to say that I don’t have any knowledge of other Swiss whites to which to compare to this one. The fruit in this bottle was a pleasant surprise. It is easy drinking and goes pretty well with a meal but would probably work better with an afternoon snack of crackers, fruit and mild cheese on a warm afternoon. The fact that this wine is still very drinkable at a relatively advanced age is a testament to something. The grape? The winemaker? The vintage? If I knew more about Swiss wine I might be able to pin it down. As a bonus, the label is very artsy and attractive too. Georges Buthet & Fils 2008 Fendant is recommended.
Region: Alsace AOC, France
Appearance: Old gold,
Nose: Woodruff, thyme, paper white narcissus, tangerine.
One the palate: Thick and lightly sweet. Bartlett pears, tarragon, lavender, woodruff.
Finish: Thick, sweet, herbal and floral. A voluptuous sweetness tempered by a light bitterness that clings to the roof of the mouth and the cheeks for the whole afternoon.
Parting words: I rarely buy bottles of wine based on what’s written on the back label. The presence of this stream-of-consciousness poem on the back is what drew me to this bottle. It reads as follows:
“Robe slightly lemon yellow with an unctuous leg. In this aromatic and scented wine, one may notice aromas of the litchi [sic] fruit and hints of oriental scents. Served with dishes seasoned with spices, with chinese [sic], indonesian [sic], or indian [sic] cooking but also with cheese such as munster [sic], blue of Auvergne or Maroilles.”
Note that only the names of French places are capitalized. Do with that what you will.
At any rate, this is a thick, luscious, one might even say unctuous, wine that does pair well with spicy food or just on its own. Bott Frères Gewürz is recommended.