We were coming down to the wire for the last two wines to taste at The Royce and curated by the winemaker and owner Mike Laing of both Mawby Sparkling and bigLITTLE Wines. During the entire time, he was also trying to explain the concept of making sparkling wines and why Michigan was perfect for it. He was also explaining the different ways to make sparkling wine. While he was discussing the concept of riddling the bottles, I automatically envisioned in my mind’s eye the boards with holes in it, that are slowly ratcheted and tilted further and further down, until the bottles are upside down to facilitate the disgorgement and the addition of the added liquid for the final fermentation that makes Methode Champenoise. I said that I had heard that it was one of the highest paying jobs in the Champagne region of France, because of the danger of exploding and breaking bottles. Mike Laing explained that it is all done at the winery by automation with almost no breakage encountered at all. I found that very interesting, but I may have been the only one.
The penultimate wine for the tasting was bigLITTLE Wines “Mixtape” Leelanau Peninsula 2020. One of ways in the old days to make a collection of music that one enjoyed to hear over and over, was to record the music on tape, way back before computers made everything so easy and this was named to honor how this wine was made. This wine is a field blend of grapes that are grown and picked together at their Sylt Road Vineyard. The wine is a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. The wine is fermented slow and cold and bottled with residual grape sugars for an off-dry white wine and there were four-hundred cases made of this wine. The pretty soft straw-colored wine offered notes of fresh fruit and on the palate tones of pink grapefruit, with a mix of sweet and tart, and bright acidity; a charming still wine with a touch of sweetness, and refreshing.
The last wine of the tasting was Mawby Sparkling Semi-Dry “Green” American NV. This is the only wine from Mawby that we had that is produced by the Charmant Method or the Tank Method, a more economical way of producing bulk wine that is used around the world. This wine is made from seventy percent Cayuga and thirty percent Riesling and the fruit is sourced from Michigan, California and Washington State. The grapes for this cuvee are gently pressed, as they only use the juice from the first pressing for this wine and after initial fermentation the secondary fermentation is done in the tank. The soft, pale gold colored wine offered notes of citrus and florals and on the palate tones of apricots, lemons and tropical fruit in a slightly sweet wine with high acidity and a crisp finish. I guess “Green” as in a fresh and young wine and very easy to drink, as we were leaving The Royce, I ran into a fellow Instagram blogger and his wife, who I recognized and I introduced myself, by my nom-de-plume which he recognized, as well as my Bride.