Bosky means “befuddled with drink, inebriated” as once explained by Bernie Rink the proprietor of Boskydel Vineyard in the Leelanau Peninsula. I had to visit this winery, the first bonded winery, in the area and I read that the winery is going to retire. The Leelanau Peninsula and the adjoining Traverse area are now teeming with wineries in the state of Michigan, but in 1976 there was only Boskydel. The view from this difficult and off the beaten track destination was excellent, but there are some that call Mr. Rink, the Wine Nazi ala Jerry Seinfeld, for not wanting tour busses of visitors stopping to taste wines at his small and eclectic tasting room. He has been called a curmudgeon and I guess when one is in their nineties, that is a well-earned title. I wish that he had been present at the tasting room when we were there.
The tasting room reminded me of what I can imagine the early days of Napa were like, before it became a tourist destination. Posters and knick-knacks that vie for attention from the small tasting bar. Another throw-back to the old days, is that the tastings were gratis and that was very refreshing and a change of pace. Boskydel produces about five to six thousand gallons of wine per year from their own estate. They specialize in Cold-hardy grapes, the French-American hybrids created for colder climates, even though the area shares the same latitude as some of the greatest wine production areas of the world. The day that we were there, one of the sons was handling the tasting room and he was taciturn and not prone for any conversation, which made the moment not as memorable, but I can appreciate the fact that he could just be sad that they were closing down, and I get that.
The winery was offering several wines and some deep discounts on case purchases. The wines offered that day were Vignoles 2015, Soleil Blanc 2016, Seyval Blanc 2016, De Chaunac 2013, Roi des Rouges 2013, Rosé de Chaunac 2013 and Rosé du Cru 2013. We would have tried them all, but since we were not paying for the tasting, we felt that it was rather gauche. I will mention two of the wines that we tried as these are grapes that one does not usually encounter. The De Chaunac 2013 was described as ‘semi-dry,” but I would call it more semi-sweet and that is what I expected, from other Cold-hardy red wines that I have tried. It was very pleasant and I think that it would pair very well with more casual dinners or just by itself and some friends. The Roi des Rouges 2013 had more personality and a bit of spice that I found very attractive. This wine is a blend of Marquette, Noiret and Geneva Red, which was developed at Cornell University and was originally named GR7. The Noiret is what gives the wine the peppery spice flavor that I have found to be enjoyable and would pair very well with some zestier dishes or once again by itself. We left the winery with some wine and with some glasses as keepsakes from the very first winery in the Leelanau Peninsula.