Last year when Black Star Farms was awarded the Best Wine at the 2018 Canberra International Riesling Challenge for their Arcturos Dry Riesling 2017 all of my Social Media sites were bombarded as to whether or not I had tried this wine, and it was to the negative, but that I knew of their reputation and I was going to make it a point to visit them once again. I guess part of it, is that I am always writing about Michigan in one way or another. The other reason is because we had just tasted their Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay 2016 and their Arcturos Cabernet Franc 2013 and I think my Bride wanted to get a case of each, she was totally enamored with both of the wines that we had with dinner at the Inn at Bay Harbor.
In 1998 Black Star Farms purchased Sport Valley Farm which was a one-hundred-twenty-acre equestrian facility, and the stylized black star was part of the architectural décor in the main house. In their Twentieth year, they were honored to receive the 19’th Annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC) -Best Wine of the 2018 Challenge and only the second time an American wine came out on top. There were 567 Rieslings from six countries (Australian, New Zealand, USA, Germany, France and the Czech Republic). The Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling 2017 scored 98 points, in addition to taking home Best Dry Riesling and Best American Riesling. In fact, all six of the Riesling wines that Black Star Farms submitted took home medals, showing a consistency across vintages and styles. The fruit is sourced from both of the proprietor’s vineyards and from local grower partners in both the Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula. The winery has three series; the premium Arcturos, A Capella and the Leorie Vineyard labels for sparkling and fruit wines.
At the tasting room, they were offering forty-three different wines and distillery products. We started off with the Arcturos Sauvignon Blanc 2017 which showed stone fruit, grapefruit and a zesty acidity, it was very refreshing. We then tried the Arcturos Dry Riesling 2017 and I can’t believe that I forgot to take a photo of this special wine during the tasting, but since we bought it, I can offer a photo of it; and it offered ripe fruit of apricot and pears with a nice long dry crisp finish and it made me change my thoughts on Michigan Riesling wines from my early days, and I guess that is my fault for not being more open year after year. They were touting this wine to cellar for ten to twelve years. We then tried the Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay 2017, a beautiful example of a Stainless-Steel Chardonnay showing a flinty terroir, with a nice smooth finish. This wine was touted for cellaring for about ten years and I think that another year or two will help this wine mellow even more. The Arcturos Pinot Blanc 2016 showed both apple and lemon zest, and it was smooth, but not one of our favorite wines of the tasting. We then tried the Vintners Pinot Noir which was a blend of 2015 and 2016 and this was fruit forward with traces of vanilla from oak barrel aging. The Arcturos Merlot 2013 offered some great dark fruit and a lot of spice, really a nice Merlot wine and I am very partial to Merlot. The Arcturos Cabernet Franc 2016 offered some red and dark fruit with a lot of spice and a nice long finish. This wine was touted to cellar for ten years and I would agree with that. The last wine of the tasting was the Leorie Vineyard Merlot and Cabernet Franc 2016 from the Old Mission Peninsula AVA. This was a blend of sixty-five percent Merlot and the balance of Cabernet Franc and showed deep red and dark fruit with some traces of chocolate and a nice long finish. A beautiful wine with an aging potential of thirty years. Even though we did not get the wines that we were originally hoping for, we did end up plenty of wine and we even joined their wine club, because we had such a good time and assistance from a very knowledgeable employee which made the tasting all that much better.