I am starting to feel positive that the state is opening up, because another sure sign of commerce in the state is a shipment from a wine club from Black Star Farms who have vineyards and tasting rooms on both sides of Traverse City. I am sure that they are sweating it out to see, if the opening of the state is really true, as they were the area that was able to open up first, because the governor has a cottage near there. By now, they would have been in full tourist mode and they would really be doing some exceptional business. There are companies that deliver groups for tastings, as well as individuals that do tastings the old-fashioned way, by driving up by themselves, the first group, I would venture to say are not into tastings, as much as they are into a having a good time. They are not letting people belly-up to the bar for a tasting, at the moment all tastings will be done in outside areas with a three-sample flight. Some of the traditional events are on hold at the winery like the “Trail Events” at least until September. The Wine Club BBQ is still tentatively scheduled for July 17th, but they are being cautious at this date and not taking reservations yet. The Inn is open again, and so is the Café, but with a limited menu.
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 four bottles of wine of two and two. The first two bottles were Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Blanc Michigan 2017. Pinot Blanc has seemed to adapt well to the Northern Michigan climate and Black Star Farms has bottled several vintages of this wine to date. They claim that this vintage has beautiful aromatics, lush fruit flavors and a well-balanced wine. Fresh apple and lemon notes with a subtle creaminess highlight this crisp wine and it is listed as being part of their dry white collection. This wine carries a Michigan AVA, because the winery has vineyards in both Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. The other two bottles were Black Star Farms “A Capella” Pinot Noir Leelanau Peninsula 2017. The “A Capella” designation is not used every year and only for better vintages. In the past, they used fruit from multiple sites, but this year the fruit was from their Leelanau Summit site, which is now full matured. The winery claims that this wine will deliver all of the virtuous qualities that one looks for from more “regal” wine districts; such as ripe cherry and pomegranate fruit, hints of violet and barrel spices. This wine has the aging potential of five to seven years for cellaring. I wish the wine regions and the whole state more freedom in the days to come.