Back in the dark ages, when we could visit wineries, we ended up joining the wine club at Black Star Farms, because of the excellent customer service that we encountered there. Actually, it now looks like Michigan is opening up again, but it may be insane, because the whole state has been “stir crazy” from the lockdown and people are going everywhere, just because. The good news is that the wineries have continued doing what they do, although they did lose a steady stream of wine tasting visitors and sales. Though they have been selling as best as they can through the cyber world. The good news from the winemaker is that 2021 looks extremely promising with the bud break occurring in early May, and the they were able to skirt a couple of potential frost threats, so there should be a long growing and ripening season this year.
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.
The Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir Rose Michigan 2020 is a “dry wine made in a fruit-driven style.” Pinot Noir is the red varietal that the winery has had the most success with, which is interesting as it is one of the fussiest grapes around. This wine I can venture to say was completely done with Stainless Steel, as they were going for the classic fruit flavors of strawberries and ripe cherries, with a trace of terroir and a bright finish. The perfect summer time wine that can easily be paired with lots of casual dinners and should be enjoyed in a couple of years. The Black Star Farms Isidor’s Choice Terrace Red Leelanau Peninsula 2017 features fruit harvested from one of their partner-growers. The wine is a blend of Teroldego and Lagrein, both grapes which are more known in Northern Italy, and for this version of the blended wine, they also added Cabernet Franc and Merlot to soften the “savage” character of the main two varietals. I would have to say that this wine probably saw some oak aging, though the winery is a bit shy on information I say this, because they feel that it has aging potential of ten years or so. They say that the two Italian varietals have great color and a “wild” fruit profile that they liken to wild blueberries that have been dusted with white pepper, and then mixing it with the two classic French varietals they say that the wine will offer a broad and complex dark fruit character with plenty of spice and girth that will pair well with big food flavors.