Chateau Chantal Pinot Noir

Maker: Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan, USAChCh Pinot 2011

Place of origin: Old Mission AVA, Traverse City, Michigan, USA

Vintage: 2011

ABV: 12%

Purchased for $15

Note: Notes taken after having been open 24 hrs.

Appearance: Light burgundy.

Nose: Light and vaguely fruity. Blackberry jam, cedar, grape juice.

On the palate: Light and easy drinking. Fresh strawberries, a taste of wood, not much else.

Finish: More cedar and a bit of black pepper, but still lightly fruity.

Parting words: Pinot Noir is an up and coming grape for Northern Michigan. It has been grown there for some time, but there have been raised expectations as of late. There’s no reason why good Pinot couldn’t be produced in Michigan. Pinot Noir is widely grown in the same regions in Europe where Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are grown and all those do well in the Great Lakes State.

This is a wine without any obvious flaws (aside being a little lively upon first pour) but I was disappointed with how timid it was. It reminds me of inexpensive n├ęgociant-produced red Burgundy I’ve had. In the wine’s defense, the back label makes it pretty clear what to expect: an easy-going, food friendly wine. I would stay away from beef, lamb or ham, but pork, turkey or salmon would pair very nicely with this wine as would a cheese course or dark chocolate.

There is no shortage of decent red Michigan blends available for purchase just about anywhere in this state. Some of the best of those are from Chateau Chantal. When I buy a vintage varietal for a vintage varietal price, I expect more character than I got in this bottle. For that reason, Chateau Chantal Pinot Noir 2011 is only mildly recommended.