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.
We just received our December Wine Club shipment from Black Star Farms and there was a short newsletter from Lee Lutes, the Winemaker and Manager. He reminded us all that the year 2020 was not a great year, and I do believe that everyone is aware of it and he was still wishing everyone a good holiday season and a happy new year. If there is good news from 2020, Mother Nature was good to Michigan for the growing season, the early ripening grapes were harvested without a problem and the longer to ripen varietals also had a full season to mature; and it even kind of spaced itself out for the pickers, so there was little stress and a smooth harvest. The crops had a better year, and the winery is in the midst of dealing with 2019 wines.
The first selection for this shipment was the Black Star Farms Vintners Select Red Table Wine Michigan NV. This wine is a blend of different vintages, and they describe it as each vintage yields small lots with unique characteristics, and this bottling is a blend of these special selections. The wine is a blend of fifty percent Cabernet Franc, thirty-four percent Merlot, four percent Pinot Noir and a blend of red hybrids. The wine was aged in newer French, European and American Oak barrels and seven-hundred-sixty-one cases of this wine was produced. It has been described as a full-bodied, dry red with rich dark fruit flavors that are complimented by hints of cocoa and spice. It is ready to be enjoyed or to be cellared for three to five more years. The second selection is their Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling Michigan 2019 and all of their ensuing Dry Riesling offerings will have to compete with their legendary 2017. They describe this wine as being aromatic and full of flavor, but not sweet. They produced seven-hundred cases of this wine and tout that it is vibrant, fresh citrus and stone fruit favors followed by a crisp finish. They suggest a potential five to ten years of cellaring if one wishes. We were very impressed the last time we had their wines at a resort with dinner, that we had to stop at the winery, bought more wine and joined their wine club. Michigan wines are just getting better year after year, and this is from someone that started learning when the world was only focused on the Old World.