It is that time of the year when we received another club shipment from Black Star Farms. We have been stopping by there constantly over the years when we are up North in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and if you looked at the back of your left hand, it would be near your pinkie fingernail, and voila, you are now a Michigander. We are hoping that the end of the snow season is coming, but when you live in Michigan, one never knows and this weather phenomenon has been going on, since they have been recording history in the state and long before weather was politicized. Later on, this year, we are looking forward to at least one trip to that area and to do some wining and dining.
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.
The first bottle that I pulled out of the carton was Black Star Farms Isidor’s Choice Terrace Red 2017. This is a single vineyard wine from one of their partner-growers in the Leelanau Peninsula. The original wine of this name was a blend of two Italian varietals that were brought here; the Teroldego and the Lagrein. The Teroldego is a deep red wine grape mostly found in the Trentino region of northern Italy. It is known for being fruity and making a very soft and mellow wine that is easily drank within three years, but also has the ability to age for ten years or so. It is considered an ancient grape in that region. Of course, with DNA testing it has been revealed that it a parent of Lagrein and a sibling to Dureza, and a parent of Syrah, and potentially related to Pinot Noir. Lagrein is another ancient grape that is found in the Trentino region. Its wines are deep and full-bodied with dark fruit notes, freshly acidic and slightly astringent in finish which makes it a good match for food. It is known to have a harsh tannic structure, but when blended and barrel aged the wine is tamed. This new version has also been blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with the claim that the “savage” has been tamed and softened and giving the wine additional depth. The wine has been touted to age gracefully for about ten years in a cellar. It sounds like an interesting wine.