Here we are attending another graduation party and it was way out in the country, well at least it was the country when I was young. With the Orange Cone Season underway in Michigan, Federal projects, not the promised State ones, it was like driving in the old days prior to having freeways. I must say, it was very scenic and rather peaceful, except for the jerks who try to make two lanes out of one, because some people are too important to respect traffic signs. Here we were driving all over the country, and my poor Bride had just gotten back from a business trip where she had to cover all of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after getting there, and then the drive back. She is one of those “road warriors” you hear about, now and then. Actually, where the party was, is no longer considered out in the country or the boondocks, because of urban migration, but at one time, a huge outdoor arena was built out there, when there was nothing else there, and it was called Pine Knob, I think it is still Pine Knob to my generation, though I think that it just had its third name change and we actually drove past two of the roads to get to the arena, including the one that was recently changed to Bob Seger Road, which I thought was cool and deferential.
I am surprised at the punctuality of most of the guests that arrive for the graduation parties of today. There was a crowd almost immediately and they had a big pavilion style tent installed on the front yard, and the garage was set up as a buffet line. Somewhere along the way, and I may have missed it, the world became Gluten Free and when I see those two words, I immediately know that I can sidestep that food and it was all salads, so that was easy for me, though my Bride went on and on about the salads. There was an assortment of dishes that were catered in by a Middle Eastern restaurant, but more Persian than Lebanese. There was also a tray of homemade Pulled-Barbecued Pork and I thought it was the winner of the day. There were also plenty of desserts, a very nice way to spend the afternoon.
Our leather wine bag is getting a good work out this season. Actually, the day of the party was also Rosé Day and one year I tried to write about all of the wine days, but it just felt like me trying to emulate other writers, so I just write in my own manner. Though, the first wine of the day was a Rosé, but we have been drinking more wines like that, and the weather was going to be in the eighties. The first wine is Klinker Brick Winery “Bricks & Roses” 2017 from the sub district of Lodi-Mokelumne River of Lodi AVA. I have become a great fan of Lodi and Klinker Brick Winery is one that I have actually tried seven of their wines and all were winners. Klinker Brick Winery is into its Sixth Generation, but they began as grape farmers and would sell their fruit originally to the home wine makers and Zinfandel was the main crop in this area. Eventually they began selling the crops in the latter part of the 1900’s to other wine makers and eventually they took the plunge themselves as there was a strong demand for their crops. They have about sixteen plots of land mostly along what is known as the Lodi-Mokelumne River as well as some in the Clements Foothills. They produced their first bottle of Zinfandel in 2000, and their first Syrah in 2001. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignane, Syrah and Mourvedre and while I could not find any production notes, I will venture to say that it was done in Stainless Steel to maintain the freshness and crispness of the grapes. While I did not do a tasting of either wine from the club, I noticed that this wine has a beautiful salmon color, and the nose harkened summer fruits, and the wine had a clean taste with light acidity, an excellent Rosé. The second wine that we opened up was a Michigan wine, and I am very impressed with the quality and dedication of the wines here, as I have been observing over the decades. Verterra Winery we have been to in the Leelanau Peninsula and Verterra is a named cobbled together by the owner meaning “True to the Land.” The winery started in 2006 with an acre and a half and the winemaking fever took hold and now they have forty plus acres of land, cultivated on the slopes and undulations of the Leelanau Peninsula. The Leelanau Peninsula AVA basically encompasses the entire Leelanau County and the peninsula takes advantage of the lake effects to keep the grounds cool during the hot summers, and allows the snow to cover the vines and for the most part prevents them from freezing, because this is Michigan. The Verterra Reserve Red 2016 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It had a “smoky” finish to it, and I think a few years in the cellar will bring out this wine, at least this is what we said to ourselves while we were making our purchases and after the initial tasting. After being in the cellar, most of the smokiness and the tannins have softened and it was just an easy drinking wine that worked especially in this casual setting. There will be more parties of this nature coming.