Four Wine Tasting at Sandhill Crane Vineyards

As hectic as it was fun, the crowd at Sandhill Cranes Vineyards was impressive.  It was like all roads lead to the winery.  Well, the lunch hour was not the best choice for tasting wines, but it was great to see all the people having a great time.  I did notice that there were more people outside drinking, compared to the crowds indoors, but it was a beautiful day to be out among the vines.  I actually nibbled on a few grapes on the vines, but it is like sugar cubes on the vines.  I tried to get information from our host as he was pouring and I was photographing the wines, but I was told that all the information that I would need would be found on their website.

The first two wines that we tried was an interesting comparison.  We had the Sandhill Crane Vineyards Stainless Chardonnay Michigan 2018 and the Sandhill Crane Sur Lie Chardonnay Michigan NV.  What better than to try the same grapes (potentially) made two different ways.  The Stainless was aged, just as one would expect in Stainless Steel tanks. In plastic cups it was difficult to discern the true color, but it looked like a pale golden color and it had notes of lemons and florals.  On the palate tones of apples and very crisp acidity.  The Sur Lie Chardonnay was fermented in French Oak barrels.  The wine was also a pale golden color and offered notes of white fruit and oak.  On the palate the wine had tones of apple, honeydew melons and almonds in a buttery oak setting with a bit of terroir at the end.  Of the two Chardonnay wines, this is the one we bought a bottle of for the table, to accompany all the food, when it got delivered. 

Then we had two reds to taste.  The first was Sandhill Crane Vineyards Estate Marquette Michigan NV.  It was a deep red colored wine and offered notes of dark fruit and herbs.  On the palate there were tones of black cherry and spices, with soft tannins and a moderate finish.  It was a very easy drinking Marquette and a grape that does very well in the Midwest.  The second wine was Sandhill Crane Vineyards Black Cat Michigan NV.  This medium red colored wine offered notes of dark fruits and pepper.  On the palate there was some dark cherry and dried plums and black pepper, some rich tannins, some acidity and a decent finish of spices.  It reminded me, that there was probably some Noirette in the mix, for the rich pepper notes.  A mental reminder to go there in between lunch and dinner, when it is calmer, but still a pleasant time.  My Bride and Ms. Yoga enjoyed the trip.

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Stopping Off for Lunch at a Winery

My Bride, Ms. Yoga and myself were on our way home from Holland, Michigan and we were going to have lunch at Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson, Michigan.  According to our GPS we were supposed to be taking a scenic route, but it really wasn’t, we were on no time table and the route only added about twenty minutes to the trip.  The changing of the leaves, which is beautiful in Michigan, had not started anyways, but we did see more two-lane roads, compared to freeways.  Also, the route that we took had us avoid some of the roads that our harridan campaigned to fix, but hadn’t, so the struts on the car didn’t suffer as much.

I guess the whole world had the same thought as we did, as it seemed that all traffic, including groups of bicyclists were all going to the same destination.  Sandhill Crane Vineyards is one of three wineries in Jackson, and we still have not visited the other two, but I know that we eventually will.  Sandhill Crane Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery, dedicated to making wine with pure Michigan grown fruit.   Norm Moffatt began growing grapes in his retirement and slowly his family joined in and the avocation became a vocation.  In 2003, Sandhill Crane Vineyards was official.  They offer about thirty-five different wines and three beers, and they also have an in-house café; and between those two selling points the place was mobbed.  One would think that they were giving everything away, it was that busy and everybody was having a ball. 

It appeared that the majority were repeat customers that were having lunch with wine.  They had tables outside on the lawns, tables under terraces, tables out on the porch, and tables in the huge tasting room.  The proper procedure that I discovered is that you go and place your food order, and then you go and select the wines that you wish to taste.  With both of the women placing orders independently of each other, we ended up with orders of the Local Smoked Trout Spread, Homemade Hummus, a Charcuterie board and three orders of BLT sandwiches with farm grown heirloom tomatoes.  In fact, I think that the whole horde of visitors were ordering the BLTs as the tasting room smelled wonderful, that is, if you like bacon.  After ordering the food, they gave us a number holder to place on our table, and then we ordered our tasting selections at the bar.  I did probably drive them a bit crazy at the bar, as I took photos of each wine in the plastic cups (remember plenty of people were drinking outside) next to the wines.  We all did a sampling of four wines, that are put on a tray, with the wines written out on the tray that we took back to the table to drink with the food when it came out.  We were having a good time, and next I will discuss the wines.       

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We Had Dinner at Butch’s Dry Dock

It wouldn’t be a trip to Holland, Michigan without dinner at Butch’s Dry Dock.  It seems that forever I would see this restaurant listed in the Wine Spectator magazine Restaurant Awards issue as having a great wine selection, and affordable food and wine prices.  It has been true, each time we have been there, and it is still holding on, in spite of spiraling costs and a bleak stock market for us retirees.  We had to take and show Ms. Yoga this restaurant.  We didn’t get our usual table at the window to observe the flow of people, but we still had a nice view.  What I did notice is that it is the type of restaurant, where we have seen three generations of a family dining out.  We also saw that there were young couples out on dates, that were dressed up for the evening.  It made me smile to notice these things.

The restaurant is very unique in that it is a wine shop, and a restaurant.  They have a few wines listed on the menu, as offerings to pair with different entrées.  The majority of the wines are on shelves displayed in groupings like Old World and New World, and then alongside of the wines on the shelves are more wines displayed in a series of coolers.  The wines are retail priced and then there is a corkage fee for the dinner.  A very admirable way of marketing the wines.  We started off with a couple of appetizers for the table and the Truffled Cauliflower with Grana Padana was excellent.  We started off with our pull, a bottle of Sylvain Pataille Bourgogne Aligoté 2019.  He is very well known in the Marsannay region, just outside of Dijon in the northern end of the Cote de Nuits.  The Domaine is known for its Pinot Noir and he is a strong advocate and champion for Aligoté.  He started as a consultant enologist for a number of Burgundy domaines, and established his own operation with one hectare in 1999, and today he has about fifteen hectares all basically in the Marsannay boundary and the vineyards are certified organic.  He produces about twenty wines, including five Aligoté Crus.  This wine enjoys his concept of pressing long and slow, usually about twenty-four hours and fermentation is done using indigenous yeasts, and his vines average about fifty years in age.  The fruit for this wine came from two different sides, one of limestone and gravel, and the other of clay and marl soil.  The wine is then aged for twelve months in oak, filtered, but not fined and minimum use of sulfur.  A nice soft yellow with notes that almost reminded me of a Chardonnay with peaches, lemons, cut hay and butter.  On the palate peaches and tart apples, mouthwatering acidity and a very nice long finish of terroir.          

While we were going into the main dishes of seafood, salmon and whitefish, it was a white wine evening.  Ms. Yoga selected the second bottle for the table, and it was the exact wine that my Bride and I had tried earlier this year at the Carriage House at the Hotel Iroquois on Mackinac Island.  We were enjoying a bottle of Trig Point “Signpost” Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2018.  A nice pale golden wine that offered notes of pear and melon.  On the palate, the wine reminded me more of a Chablis, with the fresh fruit, crisp acidity and a creamy texture, not oak induced with a nice medium finish of terroir courtesy of the Russian River Valley.  Ms. Yoga is very partial to her Chardonnay wines, when she is drinking white and we all had a wonderful meal.  I am also please to say that we were not even charged with a corkage fee. 

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Noshing and Shopping in Holland, Michigan

We were walking up and down the downtown of Holland, Michigan, there was me tagging along with my Bride and Ms. Yoga.  We even did the Farmer’s Market and thankfully, we came in Ms. Yoga’s rental car, so there wasn’t enough room, or we would have had a produce vehicle on the way back home, but we still bought enough there.  Then they had to shop the apparel stores, which is kind of a given.  They don’t have to worry about me, as there were only two men’s stores and one was a chain that I wouldn’t even venture into, and the other was an outfitter.  Trust me, my wardrobe doesn’t suffer, only the budget does when I shop.

The three of us walked into a shop, and I knew that I would probably be getting a video call or two, to help in the decision making.  I asked some of the help, for somewhere I could go and take care of my parched throat, shopping is such an arid endeavor.  They pointed right across the street to Waverly Stone Gastropub and I was off like a Mad Hatter.  I walked into the establishment and commandeered a table window side to see how many bags were being carried, and then I looked at the menu and the wine list, and I knew that I could weather the storm quite easily from my little command post.

I started off by ordering a plate of their Smoked Whitefish Spread with Capers, Parmesan, Peppers, Celery and Crackers, after all Michigan is the Whitefish Capital of the World (I think).  So, I had a chance to nosh, and watch for the shoppers and I started off with a glass of Paul Mas Domaine Astruc “dA” Viognier IGP Pays d‘Oc, France 2019.  Domaines Paul Mas covers about six-hundred-hectares in the heart of the Languedoc.  The estate was acquired in 2002 and is located at the foot of the Pyrenees about 200-300 meters about sea level.  The Malras location is in Limoux sur le Geu and housed and ultra-modern winery and facility.  Domaine Astruc is eighty-hectares in AOP Limoux, AOP Malepere and IGP Pays d’Oc depending on the wine being made.  The wine had a pretty yellow color and offered classic notes of stone-fruit and citrus.  On the palate some pineapple and passion-fruit and a short finish of limestone and chalk.  A light and easy wine to enjoy.  The ladies finally finished and my Bride ordered the Lucien Crochet Sancerre 2020, which was a given.  Lucien’s grandfathers Andre Crochet and Lucien Picard were winegrowers in the 1950’s and Lucien Crochet merged the two estates together.  Twenty-six of their thirty-five hectares are planted with Sauvignon Blanc on calcareous clay over Kimmeridgian subsoil.  The fruit is fed into pneumatic presses and Cold Fermentation for thirty days in Stainless Steel, and then matured on the lees for ten months.   A pale-yellow wine with notes of white fruits.  On the palate tones of peach and pear, in a nice balanced wine with a medium count of terroir in the finish.  We also ordered some more of the Whitefish Spread and some IPA Beer Cheese and some great jumbo Bauhaus Pretzels with a side of Whole Grain Mustard.  Ms. Yoga stayed true to form and had a glass of Stoller Family Estate Chardonnay Dundee Hills 2021.  Stoller Family Estate is the largest contiguous vineyard in Oregon’s Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley and spans four hundred acres with two-hundred-twenty-five-acres dedicated to vines at higher elevations.  The Chardonnay juice after maceration and fermentation, which is done in a mix of Stainless Steel, Concrete and Neutral Oak for about four months, and then the three juices are blended together in Stainless Steel and aged for an additional three months.  A pretty yellowish-golden color, the wine offers notes of lemon tarts and wet slate. On the palate tones of persimmons and starfruit, very crisp and finishing off with a nice touch of terroir.  We were on a roll.

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Another Trip to Holland, Michigan

We took another trip to Holland, Michigan and this time with Ms. Yoga.  Holland was settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists, who left the Netherlands during a time of dire economic conditions.  To this day, Holland has promoted the ethnic background of the city with its Tulip Time Festival in May, which is almost impossible to secure hotels, anywhere near the area.  There is also a windmill and wooden shoes can be found in abundance around the city.

Shopping and dining are the two major draws for us and Ms. Yoga, it was a get-away for both of them, and I just tagged along, like a third wheel.  We have never been there during the winter season, but the city actually had the sidewalks reinstalled in the downtown area, which is the shopping and dining center of the city, after they installed geo-thermal hot water pipes underground to melt the snow and ice for the benefit of the tourists, visitors and the locals.  Imagine, shopping in Michigan with dry sidewalks.  Also, one can find statues everywhere on with themes strong for the city, both civic and whimsical.  I mean how can you not enjoy seeing a group of school children around a flag pole, and in your mind, you are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance along with the children.  There is a great statue honoring the Police Department, escorting a young girl.  In the center of the downtown, instead of another building, this is a charming little park with a local music group looking splendid in bronze, and the details and expressions are captivating. 

After we arrived, and settled in, we opened a bottle of wine in the room to celebrate the mini-vacation.  We had a bottle of Domaine de la Verpaille “Harmonie” Vire-Clesse 2019 by Estelle & Baptiste Philippe.  The Domaine is in its fifth generation, located in what is now the heart of Cru Vire-Clesse.  They actually make wines with five different designations from the one property; Vire-Clesse (cru du Maconnais sine 1998), Macon-Village, Macon, Burgundy and a Blanc de Blancs Cremant.   The Domaine converted to organic farming in 2006 and in 2009 they were officially recognized for their efforts.  They only grow Chardonnay on a clay-limestone soil and the average age of the vines is sixty-five years of age.  The Vire-Clesse appellation was created in 1999, but the 1998 vintage was allowed to use it, as well.  The appellation only is for Chardonnay grapes and replaces the older Macon-Clesse and Macon-Vire and includes several other communes as well in the immediate region and the region is considered to offer wines as dry as Chablis.  After harvest the wine undergoes fermentation, maceration and aging for twelve months on the lees, which adds to the flavor and richness.  The wine is a pale yellow with notes of yellow fruits and florals.  On the palate there were tones of apples, pears and peaches in a full, round wine with a nice meandering finish of gun-flint.          

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House of Pure Vin

While we were still celebrating my birthday, and yes, I do like to prolong the celebration, we had some time between Vicente’s for lunch and Immersive Klimt.  We wandered around Downtown Detroit and there was a wine bar, that was not open, the last time we were in the area.  The establishment is the House of Pure Vin, and you know that I have to stop and be nosy, all for the sake of my blog, as I wouldn’t want to miss something. 

It was quite sterile in appearance, cold and rather aloof in feeling, which perhaps, is the goal to attract the hipsters that I do not claim to be part of, nor that group that calls themselves “influencers.”   It is both a wine shop and they have a tasting bar and they have a back room with a large tasting table adjacent to a large wall with a series of bottles connected to something similar to a “Coravin System,” but monitored by a credit card that you had to purchase ahead of time if you want to drink any wines. We were told that you could only buy in increments of twenty-five dollars, so we bought credit for the four of us. The shop and the wines are curated by a Master Sommelier, but we were left to fend for ourselves, as I guess they are not partial to people walking in off the street.  They explained how the gadget works, gave us each a glass and left us to our own devices.  My Bride discovered that two of the smallest pours gave more volume compared to the second size pour, and that it was more economical in cost to the second pour as well.  The group tried a Gewurztraminer, a Rosé, a Gavi di Gavi, a Pineau d’Exception, a Sardon de Duero, and a blend of Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc.  There were plenty of different wines to choose from, starting with Bubbles, Reds and Whites. While we were there, two people came in to the back room, tried a glass under the supervision of the help and then they left.  

Of the different wines that we tried the Clarendelle Rosé Bordeaux 2021 was the most interesting and flavorful.  Clarendelle is part of the Clarence Dillon Wine Group, which was established in 2005 and they offer four wines; a red, white, rosé and a dessert wine with the fruits coming from Dillon estates across Bordeaux.  The selling point of this wine is that the Dillon family in 1935 bought Chateau Haute-Brion.  The wine is a blend of sixty-five percent Merlot, thirty-two percent Cabernet Sauvignon and three percent Cabernet Franc.  The fruit was harvest in the last two weeks of September and had direct pressing, and a short maceration and fermentation period, presumably in Stainless Steel, to maintain the crisp, fruit flavors.  The pale pink-salmon colored wine offered notes of tropical fruits like Pomegranates and Lychee.  On the palate, tones of fruit, a touch of menthol, pepper with very soft tannins, fresh with a medium finish of fruit.     

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A Birthday Celebration 2022

My Bride came up with a unique way to celebrate my birthday this year.  She has been suggesting a Cuban restaurant for ages and she got her wish.  We went to Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine for lunch, and they are on Library Street.  I remember Library Street and the Library as it was on the back side of J.L. Hudson’s and I remember a liveried door man there and they still had hitching posts, though very elaborate, and my mother always parked in a structure just on the other side of the library.  Of course, I do ramble.  We went with her sister and her husband, who also recently had a birthday.  My Bride had the Camarones Criollos a dish of jumbo shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, asparagus tips and parsley; served with white rice and sweet plantains.  I had the Zarzuela de Mariscos with shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels sautéed with onions, peppers and mushrooms, then flambéed with Brandy and simmered in a tomato broth; served with white rice and sweet plantains.     

We went with a bottle of Martin Codax Albarino Rias Baixas 2020.  Martin Codax is a co-operative of growers in the Rias Baixas.  It was formed in 1986 and is named for a famous troubadour from the 13th Century of old romantic Spain.  The winemaker and one of the original founders of Martin Codax is Luciano Amoedo, who was also one of the most vocal in getting Denominacion de Origen (DO) appellation for Rias Baixas in 1988 and the main varietal for the co-operative is Albarino, which accounts for ninety percent of their production.  This wine was light and crisp and had a nice flinty terroir in the finish and I was totally happy with the wine for lunch.

 The reason we all got together in Downtown Detroit, is because we ended up with four complimentary tickets for Immersive Klimt.  What happened was that it seems like decades ago, we had ordered four tickets to see Immersive van Gogh, back in the early days of 2020 and most of us, would like to forget what occurred that year.  The venue changed and then it like almost everything in the state ceased to exist, to please our harridan governor.  The promoters of Immersive van Gogh promised that anyone that had outstanding tickets, that you could either get a refund or as a bonus, you could get bonus tickets for the next Immersive show that hadn’t been announced.  Everything was rather hazy and it felt like it was run by a group of charlatans, but we decided to keep the original tickets and go with the bonus.  My Bride liked the Immersive van Gogh and I told her that she would enjoy the Immersive Klimt, and I had told her that she had seen his works, she just didn’t recognize the name.  Afterwards, she told me, that she enjoyed the show, more than she had anticipated. 

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September Birthdays 2022

This was going to be a litmus test, as this was going to be the first family get-together since my Mother-in-Law passed away.  My Bride went overboard trying to make it special as she views herself as the peacemaker, and she also has the unenviable task of being the executor and co-trustee of the estate.  I like to tease her, that she must have done something really terrible once, that her mother assigned her this position.  At least most of the invitees attended and only one of the birthday recipients didn’t show.  As per usual, they arrived late, and the affair ended a little early. 

My Bride did her best and I laud her for her efforts.  She decided to make two different styles of ribs, so she began slow cooking them the night before, after we removed the muscle tissue on the back of all the ribs and cook them into workable size sets of bones.  She finished most of the ribs with barbecue sauce and she made some for me basted and soaked in Molé sauce.  She also tried a recipe that I read about, roasting a head of cauliflower stuffed with garlic, drizzled with mustard and olive oil and then topped with grated Reggiano di Parma. For the early attendees we had fresh fruit, cheese and guacamole.  Since I was one of the honorees, I went and found something interesting to start out with a bottle of Galante Vineyards Blackjack Pasture Cabernet Sauvignon Carmel Valley 2001.  Jack Galante’s great-grandfather James Frank Devendorf was the founder of Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1900.  He later built the Pine Inn and the Highlands Inn (that I have wrote about from our trips).  Jack’s parents purchased a cattle ranch and in 1983 began a vineyard.  In 1994 Jack built a winery using the estate vineyards.  The vineyards were sold in 2020, but the still has the rights to the grapes for this winery.  I tried to get some basic information, but they never responded, which is a pity, because they are still selling Library wines from this era, and this wine was excellent.  I used my Durand and the cork came out perfectly for a twenty-one-year-old.  I opened the bottle before the guests arrived to allow it to breath.  The wine still had a beautiful hue for a Cabernet Sauvignon and it offered striking notes of dark fruit and spices.  On the palate was dark cherry, cassis, some chocolate and tobacco, the tannins had mellowed beautifully and a really nice long finish of terroir.  My Bride came back for seconds quite quickly.

While the first courses were being enjoyed there was still Scalloped Potatoes, Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic and Marinated and Roasted Pork Tenderloins.  After I opened the first bottle, I opened a second bottle, just because.  We had Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Artemis” Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003.  The winery was founded in the early 1970’s by the Winiarski family on land that would eventually become part of the Stags Leap AVA, and they became famous when during the Judgement of Paris tasting of 1976, they beat Mouton-Rothschild and Haut-Brion in the blind tasting.  The estate is two adjoining vineyards Stag’s Leap Vineyard (SLV) which has volcanic soil and is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, some Merlot and a little bit of Petit Verdot.  The Fay Vineyard is alluvial soil and the same mix of plantings.  Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar is not to be confused with a nearby producer Stags’ Leap Winery and they had a legal war and the position of the apostrophe came out of the legal battles.  Then they both joined forces to try to fight the name of Stags Leap District AVA, which eventually through the courts was decided that it would have no apostrophe.  In 2007, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars was sold to Washington’s Ste. Michelle Estate and Tuscan’s Marchesi Antinori. This particular wine “Artemis” contains juice harvested from both vineyards (forty-one percent) and some non-estate vineyards and is basically all Cabernet Sauvignon and a few points of Merlot.  The wine is aged for eighteen months in French Oak, of which a third is new.  The critics notes at the time called the wine “overly soft with ample tough tannins.  Nearly Cab the wine is rich in cassis and blackberry flavors and dry.  Could surprise after, but it’s a gamble.”  Nineteen years later, the wine was still very dark with notes of blackberry, cassis and spice.  On the palate the tannins had mellowed and the dark fruit was still evident with an abundance of enticing spices and a nice decent finish of terroir.  For their opening wine, it held up extremely well, though in hindsight, I think that I would have started with this wine first, just because it was a little lighter in heft.

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Fine Wine Source Club Selections September 2022

The month of September has been a bonanza of wine club shipments, though my favorite club selections are from The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan.  I guess, because I feel like family when I walk in the door.  I even got a “Happy Birthday” greeting from one of the employees who follows me on social media and my writings.  They were very busy, which is a great sign, and I am sure that the Wine Club is a great pull for them.  For just under thirty dollars a month, one gets two curated bottles of wine, but I think the best, besides the great customer service, is that club members automatically get case discounted prices, even if they just stop to get a bottle or two.

The first club selection was Gran Passione Rosso Veneto 2020 a limited production wine made by Cantine Bertoldi.  Cantine Bertoldi is known for their Valpolicella and Amarone wines.  They were founded in 1932 and several generations later they now own fifty acres of hand-cared vineyards.  They are now part of the larger umbrella wine producer and distributor Casa Vinicola Botter.   They began in 1928 selling local Veneto wines.  After World War II, they moved onto bottled wines and started exporting.  Now in their third generation, ninety percent of their business is done overseas.  The soil of the estate is basically clay, and this wine is a blend of sixty percent Merlot and forty percent Corvina.  The grapes selected for this wine are hand selected and harvested, allowing for the grapes to dry on the vine, reducing the weight by about fifty percent.  This technique is in the tradition of Apassimento (to dry and shrivel), just like how Amarone is made.  After harvest, the over-ripe grapes are destemmed and undergo maceration and fermentation for fifteen days on the skins, and then malolactic fermentation occurs in the barrel aging.  The wine is described as an intense purple color with notes of black raspberry puree, black cherry, cassis, black tea and dried violet blossoms.  On the palate the wine is described as a medium-bodied red with intense flavors, medium acidity and medium tannins.  I still have a few bottles of the last vintage and I have been assured that this wine is even better than that, so it is truly a great bargain.  I can’t wait to try it.  

The second club selection, representing the New World is Cline Family Cellars “Seven Ranchlands” Viognier North Coast 2021.   Cline Family Cellars is a producer based in Carneros and known for Zinfandel and Rhone varieties and established in 1982 in Oakley.  Fred Cline is one of the original Rhone Rangers of California.  The “Seven Ranchlands” is a way of honoring both the seven children of the Cline family, and the seven vineyard ranches.  The fruit for this wine is from the Catapult Ranch Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap, and the balance is from the Diamond Pile Vineyard at the base of the Wild Cat Mountain.  The grapes are handpicked at night, where they are destemmed and pressed, and allowed to settle for forty-eight hours before racking.  The Catapult portion was inoculated with wild yeast, while the Diamond Pile portion was allowed to ferment naturally in barrels.  After fermentation, the wine was aged in neutral French Oak for six months before blending and bottling.  The soft colored wine has been described as having the texture of a reserve Chardonnay.  The wine offers notes of mango, guava pineapple.  On the palate tones of dried apricots, pears and banana in a full-bodied wine with nice acidity.  It sounds like a wonderful Viognier from the Rhone and my Bride was excited when I showed her the wine, when I got home.         

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Black Star Farms Club Selections Fall 2022

Back when the world was young and fun, we were at a board meeting at the Inn at Bay Harbor, and a delightful time it was.  The food was excellent and normally the wine takes a back seat to the liquor selection and the craft beer selection, but this time even the wine was excellent.  The final evening of events the wines were from Black Star Farms of Michigan, and there was quite a lot of buzz, at least in Michigan wine drinking circles, because the Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling Michigan 2017 had won the Best in Show at the Canberra International Riesling Competition.  We did not have the Dry Riesling being poured, but we tried their Cabernet Franc 2013 and it was that great, along with two other wines, that my Bride wanted to make a special stop at the winery to see if we could get the Cabernet Franc and some of the Dry Riesling.  We were so impressed with the service from the representative that we did a tasting with, that we signed up for their club.

The first wine in the carton was Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Blanc Old Mission Peninsula 2020.  Black Star Farms is located on the same 45th Parallel that runs through some of the great wine regions of the world.  While 2020 was devastating to the state and country, you may recall; it was actually quite good for that part of the state.  Early budding in the spring, warm spring and early summer, and then cooling off in September with a burst of warmth in October which allowed the fruit to fully ripen.  The fruit was harvested from two plots, both in the Old Mission Peninsula; eighty percent from Montana Rusa and twenty percent from Montague Estate Vineyards.  There were five-hundred-seventy cases produced of this wine.  According to the supplied notes this wine is medium-bodied with notes of green apple and lemon and the on the palate the two fruit tones blend into a crisp wine with a finish of minerality (terroir).  They even mentioned that there would be a certain creaminess that can develop in bottle aging.  

The second two bottles were Black Star Farms Vintners Pinot Noir Michigan NV. The winery has a Pinot Noir program that is the focal point of their red wine production.  The winery is very fortunate to have both tasting rooms on both peninsulas surrounding Traverse City, but also both estate and contract vineyards in both as well.  This particular wine is a blend of multiple vineyards from both peninsulas and multiple vintages.  This particular wine is based on their 2016 vintage, but it has been made to be more fruit forward and barrel aging.  The tasting write-up supplied by the winery offers raspberry, cherry and plum and oak.  On the palate tones of dark fruit, spices and perfect balance.    

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