Bel Lago Pinot Noir

Maker: Bel Lago, Cedar, Michigan, USAwp-1466635963046.jpg

Place of Origin: Leelanau Peninsula AVA, Michigan, USA

Vintage: Non-vintage (2016 release of 2011 & 2013 vintages)

ABV: 13.2%

Purchased for $25 (Michigan by the Bottle, Royal Oak)

Appearance: Translucent ruby.

Nose: Lightly fruity. Red currant, blueberry, white pepper, grape jelly, oak.

Palate: Light. Blackberry, strawberry, oak, clove.

Finish: Fruity tang then sliding into oak.

Parting words: Non-vintage (NV) wine has suddenly become much more popular in Michigan because of the two apocalyptic vintages in a row, 2014 & 2015. For reds this was especially the case, but even for Chardonnay and Riesling the polar vortex vintages were disastrous. So wine makers blended reserves of previous better vintages together so that they would have decent wine to bottle in 2016.

Bel Lago is one of the best wineries in Northern Michigan. They’re known for cherry wine, rosé

and whites (like their excellent Auxerrois) but ain’t shabby with reds either. I didn’t expect this non-vintage Pinot Noir to be good, but my expectations were exceeded. It’s not as well integrated and balanced as vintage editions, but it goes well with food and there are no obvious flaws. Chilling brings out an inky taste and aroma, so drink at room temperature if possible. $25 is about $5 too much, but I feel sorry for our wineries having to struggle through those two winters so I don’t mind paying it. Bel Lago NV Pinot Noir is recommended.

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