It was almost like getting a gift from Saint Nick, as we received four bottles of wine from up North, except that it wasn’t a gift, it was part of our wine club shipment from Black Star Farms and not from the North Pole. During this past year when we were staying at the Inn at Bay Harbor, we were reintroduced to the wines of Black Star Farms and we were so impressed that we made it a point to visit the winery again and pick up some of the wines that we had enjoyed with dinner. We were not that far away from Traverse City while at Bay Harbor, and it doesn’t take much arm twisting to go to a winery and do some tastings. I would say that the combination of some excellent wines and some superb customer service that we were shown when we got to the winery, my Bride wanted to join their wine club, and since the wines in Michigan are improving year to year, I don’t mind touting the local industry, as I only like to write about wines that we enjoy.
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.
We received a shipment of four wines, two of each; Black Star Farms Isidor’s Choice Chardonnay Leelanau Peninsula 2017 and Black Star Farms Isidor’s Choice Pinot Noir Leelanau Peninsula 2017. Isidor’s Choice wines are from fruit harvested from a grower-partner on a higher plateau of land. There was a prior time that they marketed an Isidor’s Pinot Noir as well as a Red Blend and they have brought it back, initially only for the club members, or at least they get first dibs. The winery is attempting to create two wines that are more Burgundian in style. There is no mention of aging time or the quantity produced. The Chardonnay is listed as having extended aging in French Oak, in a combination of new and second use barrels. The wine is described as having apple and pear aromas, with hints of vanilla, spices and a smooth oak finish. The Pinot Noir has been aged in French Oak, with half of the barrels being new. The notes say “if you are looking to try a Michigan version of what the French call Burgundy, this is your wine!”