I hope that it is a good omen that we received a delivery from our Black Star Farms wine club. It is interesting that this time two of the wines came from the Leelanau Peninsula and two came from the Old Mission Peninsula. Black Star Farms is rather unique in that it has vineyards and tasting room facilities on both peninsulas, so that they are kind of surrounding Traverse City which is kind of the focal point for all of the wineries in the area. 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.
There was an interesting newsletter from the winemaker and how he is maintaining his sanity during this highly unusual year of rules and regulations, because of a virus. He is making an early guess that it may be a banner vintage year for the grapes, because it was a great growing season, even if the tourist and business season faltered. They now have tents erected that can be heated, which in Michigan can be a given for tasting facilities on both peninsulas, as the populace must keep socially distanced, but it doesn’t seem to apply to the governor and a presidential hopeful that were photographed at a private club and all without masks. The winery has been attempting to work within the guidelines to do business in this fluctuating period of rules. The winery is also processing eighty-thousand pounds of cherries for their new Cerasus, barrel-aged cherry brandy, which also sounds like a great excuse to enjoy “Pure Michigan,” the real successful advertising campaign that was scrapped before the virus. The winemaker was also touting a special pre-release offering of “Grace” 2017 as an homage to Sallie Campbell. The wine will be a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Gamay from a single vineyard in the Old Mission Peninsula.
The first of the two wines shipped was Arcturos Gamay Noir Leelanau Peninsula 2018. This is the second bottling that they have done of Gamay Noir, which is the principal grape in Beaujolais. The accompanying notes says that the wine drinks like “a Pinot Noir with bramble fruit notes, spicy oak and subtle earthiness.” They are touting this wine as a perfect wine for spicier dishes. The second wine is the Arcturos Pinot Noir Blanc Old Mission Peninsula 2019. The third time for the winery to produce this wine, using Pinot Noir to make a white wine. The wine has an apricot shade that comes from the skins of the grapes breaking and not from skin contact after the grapes have been pressed. “The wine is floral on the nose and it is bright on the pallet with pleasing flavors of apple, citrus and melon, and is very creamy with bright acidity.” This wine is being touted for scallops and seafood, and almost any cheese you can think of. Two distinct wines that I don’t normally think of, for Michigan, but I try to be a booster of wines in the state, when I can. So, I am looking forward to trying both soon.