A Note From Your Michigan Wine Guy
The COVID-19 crisis has hit Michigan particularly hard, with the entire state shut down for over 2 months. We are finally at the stage of reopening for portions that have an overall lower infection rate.
Starting at midnight on May 22 the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Michigan will be reopened to 50% capacity in bars and restaurants. This means that tasting rooms may start opening up this weekend.
Please be careful out there and remember to practice social distancing and patience when tasting. After you leave the tasting room use hand sanitizer before venturing on to the next destination.
Stay safe, be well and as always drink responsibly!
~Michigan Wine Guy
Blue Heron: A Versatile White Table Wine from St. Julian Winery
Blue Heron is one of those wines that is perfect for any occasion at any time of year.
Trying this wine can bring the taste of Michigan's premiere white grapes into one grand blend. The blend is Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Cayuga and Riesling to showcase the grapes that grow best in Michigan's climate.
My tasting experience with this wine was a great one. After the first sip I knew this wine could go with practically anything and any occasion. According to the bottle the tasting notes are, "A delicious wine with aromas of peach and melon followed by citrus and mango flavors."
You may say that this wine is only for the warm and hot days of summer, but it can fit in perfectly in any setting. Always served chilled. If you are feeling creative it makes a really good sangria.
The great news about this wine is you can find it in your local stores and wine shops. Just look for the blue heron on the bottle, or the widely-known St. Julian Winery name.
If you are unable to find Blue Heron in stores you can always order this wonderful white from the St. Julian Winery website. They ship to most states. Also at the new low price of $6.74, it's a no brainer, you can afford to get 3 for the price you'll pay for just one similar white blend at other wineries.
Whether you are on the boat, having a picnic at the beach, celebrating the many holidays with family and friends, or just enjoying it while watching Netflix, we don't judge, just as long as you enjoy it! Of course, always please drink responsibly.
2 Michigan Rosés Perfect For The Summer Of 2019
When you think summertime you think of that precious pink drink that has become super popular among wine drinkers alike, rosé! Rosé is a great option for the hot summer weather. Whether you are on the water, on the beach or around the campfire, a bottle of the delicious pink wine can enhance any summer outing.
I've selected 2 different rosés that have different flavor profiles and made from different grape varietals.
The first rosé is from Left Foot Charley. This wine is the 2018 Blaufränkisch Rosé.
Dry but fruity, this rosé has been made with Blaufränkisch grapes. These grapes are traditionally found in Austria, but northern Michigan has a similar climate that allows these hearty grapes to flourish.
I paired this wine with a meat and cheese plate, but you would be surprised at how many different types of food this rosé could go with. BBQ, fish and spicy dishes would be ideal.
You can purchase this rosé from the Left Foot Charley website and ships to most states. You can also ask your local wine shop to order it for you, perhaps there are others who would enjoy this wine by discovering it in the store that orders it.
The second rosé is from a more widely known winery, St. Julian Winery. The wine is called Simply Pink.
Simply Pink is a semi-sweet rosé that has a fruity nature with a dry mouth feel and at the end lingers with a slight tartness. This wine would be perfect with salmon, BBQ and sipping on a beach somewhere.
You can order this simple pink from the St. Julian website! They also ship to most states. Unlike the first rosé, you can find St. Julian wine at most grocery stores and wine shops across Michigan.
There you have it! Two wonderfully amazing Michigan rosés for the summer of 2019! However you enjoy rosé is your decision, just as long as you actually enjoy it! Of course, as always, enjoy responsibly!
For more exciting articles about wine check out the rest of my blog.
Sparkling Demi-Sec from Tabor Hill
This Sparkling Demi-Sec is a great rendition, because it takes a usually sweeter type of wine and when you add the bubbles it transforms the taste into a more semi-sweet complexion.
Here is the description off of the Tabor Hill Winery website, "We’ve taken our best selling wine and added some fun – aka bubbles! Both sweet and dry wine drinkers love this complex white sparkling wine. This wine is fruity with aromas of apple, pear and citrus. It’s the perfect balance of sweetness. This new addition to Tabor Hill will be sure to please those who have loved the Demi-Sec for years. Make any day a celebration with the NEW sparkling Demi-Sec!"
This description couldn't be more true! I personally love dry wines, but this has a great flavor profile that made me enjoy it! My wife and I had this wine to celebrate me successfully completing my training examination!
Tabor Hill Winery is located in Southwest Michigan, more specifically in Buchanan. Every time I am out that way it seems to be the day that they are closed, but I hope to be able to visit them soon.
If you are curious about getting this delicious Sparkling Dami-Sec or any of their other wines, they offer the ability to order their wine on their website. You can also find select wine from Tabor Hill Winery in your local grocery store or wine shop. If they don't have what you are looking for some places are really good about ordering the wine for you.
This wine is best served chilled! A perfect Memorial Weekend, summer or any celebration wine! Because celebrations are better with bubbles!
As always, please drink responsibly!
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2015 Marsanne from Domaine Berrien Cellars
This wine was purchased in 2018, we did not have it until March 2019 and the aging showed on this 2015 vintage. It was very delicious, however, we did not have it with the recommended pairings of lobster, shellfish or BBQ pork chops.
Some background on Marsanne: Marsanne is originally from the Rhone River Valley in France. It makes a full-bodied dry white wine that is loaded with intense, mouth-filling fruit flavors. While drinking this wine I suggest chilling to bring out a crisp finish.
I am not certain if you can still purchase this vintage but the years ahead have produced some great vintages as well, with the Lake Michigan Shore climate. It would be worth a call to Domaine Berrien Cellars to inquire about their vintage selections available from 2015. Maybe, you'll be lucky!
Background on Domaine Berrien Cellars, they are located in a favorable part of the Lake Michigan Shore Viticultural Area, their vineyard is situated on one of the highest elevations in Berrien County. The elevation and the prevailing breezes from nearby Lake Michigan make it a relatively frost-free site for three seasons. The large body of water moderates their climate, which allows them to ripen many different grape varietals. The sandy gravel loam soils are among the best for horticulture, helping them produce high-quality red and white wine. (From the bottle).
If you are out and about in Southwest, Michigan and tasting at their winery, you'll find Lemon Creek Winery right across the street, and Baroda Founders Cellars near by in downtown Baroda, along with more wineries if you travel a short way down the road. Mention that you read about their wines from my blog so I can continue to grow my partnerships!
2 Sparkling Wines That Would Be Perfect For Easter
We are on the verge of planning our Easter festivities, with main dishes being pondered, trying to figure out who will bring what side dishes, and you can't forget about dessert. But, here is something that you may not have readily thought about, the wine; if it will pair well with your meal and if the people who you invite would enjoy it.
That's where these 2 Sparkling Wines will do the job.
- Sparkling de Chaunac Rosé from L. Mawby this sparkling wine is a perfect compliment to any dish you may serve; whether you are having a ham or turkey. Having a deeper pink, almost red colored rosé meaning that the red wine drinkers would love it, and the wine is light enough to please a white wine drinker's palate. With the de Chaunac grape it gives you that richness of flavor with the fizziness of your favorite sparkling wine. This wine is a Tribute to Boskydel Vineyards, the first vineyard in the Traverse City area. If you ask your local wine shop, they should be able to order this for you. It is early enough, I think you may be able to purchase the bottle from the L. Mawby website too.
- Sweet Nancie from St. Julian: This wine is a Sparkling Traminette that is sweet, bubbly and full of personality! You can have this with dessert or it can add flavor and excitement to your meal. Either way you decide to have this sparkling white wine, I hope you share it with others. In comparison to the first wine, this wine is also a tribute, but instead of being to a vineyard it is to a person, to Nancie Corum-Oxley Michigan's first professional female winemaker. You can ask your local wine shop to order you this bottle of wonderful sweet bubbles or you can probably order it off of St. Julian's website.
Either wine you select, you won't go wrong. However, if I was in charge, I would get both, because each has a unique story and they are bound to please everyone.
Now, when you finalize all of your Easter plans, don't forget the wine! You will be the savior of the day and everyone will thank you.
Also, if you need additional help selecting the right wine for you and your meal, leave a comment or send me an email! I would be glad to help you out!
Northbound White from Modern Craft Winery
What other wine makes you think of heading up north? "Northbound White" is a favorite around my house, especially after all of the cold. Snow is starting to disappear and give way to budding flowers and trees. The crispness of the air is broken by the warm rays of the sun. Birds chirp and squirrels banter. For impending travels to the northern regions of this glorious state commence.
I mean, it's still March, but we can dream! "Northbound White" is made by Modern Craft Wine, with crisp flavors of white grape varietals, it has a pinch of acidity that flows forth, but doesn't linger. You'll taste the nectar on your tongue, which will linger for your tastebud's pleasure.
You can find wine from Modern Craft all around the state, in stores, their 6 tasting rooms, and now, I believe you can have it shipped to multiple different states as well. I would double check their website and your state's shipping policy on wine. At $12.50 per bottle, this wine will please your pocketbook and anyone you decide to share it with.
I think the folks at Modern Craft Wine had a much better description than I, so here's what they had to say about this wonderful white.
"The anticipation of heading north to your happy place is thrilling. Days of warm rays, dancing water, and glowing sunsets are just ahead. Modern Craft’s easy drinking white blend with a crisp finish is perfect for your adventure. The lake is calling. Go northbound..."
Feelin' Grü-V from Moonrise Winery
Are you feeling groovy? You will certainly feel that way after tasting this wine! A sweeter version of the traditionally dry Grüner Veltliner. Feelin' Grü-V is a play on the name of the grape and a funky throwback phrase, can you dig it? Ok, maybe that was too far! This wine comes from Moonrise Winery in Watervliet, Michigan.
The Feelin' Grü-V Grüner Veltliner is a relatively new grape to be grown in Michigan. Fermented slow and cool to preserve the varietal character of the grape, producing a semi-sweet wine with a delightful balance between acidity and sweetness.
This wine paired perfectly with the Italian chicken and gnocchi that we had for dinner. It helped add another level of flavor to the meal.
You can find this wine at Moonrise Winery located in Southwest Michigan, a short drive just south of I-94 and east of Contessa Winery. I visited this winery with my wife and her grandparents in the fall. The winery's tasting room was open for it's first year in 2018 and I look forward to trying their new vintages soon! Their other wines offered tasted amazing too, so I look forward to all of the new developments! There is something very cool about new up and coming wineries. Michigan is a great place for start ups and new businesses, especially for wineries.
This continues and revamps the segment Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week!
4 Wines That Saved The Winter
It has been awhile since my last post, and honestly, this winter was harder than others. It's hard when you sit down to write and your fingers can't produce the words you want. Also, the cold weather has hurt some grape crops that will take a hit on the production of some of our most favorite Michigan wines.
So, I've finally got my writing spirit back, and wanted to give you the 4 wines that have got me through this winter. Some of these are actually good for all year round. Here are the wines:
L. Mawby: Blanc De Blanc: This sparkling wine has been aging for 15 months in the bottle after I bought it. In the champagne style the fermentation process continues to ripen this wine and make it even more delicious. When we had it at my dad's retirement celebration it was the talk of the night. Back when I purchased the bottle, we were at an event that featured the L. Mawby wine selection and Larry Mawby, himself! It was such an amazing encounter; he has so much knowledge about wine, the processes and naming wine too. At my dad's retirement party we basked in the nostalgia of that event which made this party even more special!
Chateau Grand Traverse: 2018 National Cherry Festival Wine: Now you say, this is a summertime wine, yes, you are right. However, if you save your wine for those cold winter months, it'll make you think of those warmer months. This is a one time release that makes it hard to come by, a perfect combination of Cherry Wine and varieties of White Wine. Having a crips acidity will make this wine perfect for BBQ food and that's what my wife and I had it with on one of the colder winter nights.
Chateau Grand Traverse: 2016 Gamay Noir: Yes, another wine from CGT! You don't see the Gamay Noir too often in Michigan but this grape has made a significant impact in my life. I actually got into the Gamay Noir in Canada and was elated when I saw it available in Michigan! The Gamay Noir can hold up to the Northern Michigan climate. This light-bodied, aromatic and fruity red wine has 4 months of barrel aging that reveals layers of tart cherries, red plum and black pepper leading to a silky-smooth finish. The final reason for my love of this wine is that it can pair well with almost anything.
Contessa Winery: Prediletto Blush: The sweet pink wine, I do love my blushes and rosés, and this one being a darker pink means it had a longer skin contact period that also brought out more flavor for this particular wine. The grape used for this wine is Chambourcin. It is quite acidic in the blush form but goes well with those particularly spicy dishes that we like to have!
These 4 wines were the staples that made a major impact on my winter. I had many other Michigan wines but these all made me think of warmer times or nostalgia. These memories can warm the heart which, will always bring warmth to the coldest of days. I'll have more for you all at a later date and if you've liked this post, please share what wines helped you through this wild winter?
Warmed Mulled Wine Recipes
This post is going to be alittle different from previous posts. You read online about how amazing warmed mulled wine is and they may give you additional ingredients to put in to enhance the tasting experience but they don't tell you exactly how long to warm it up for.
There are two ways to heat your mulled wine, one is on the stove and the second is in a crockpot. I'll give you details on what temperature levels and an approximate time range to see your best results. *Be careful to not overheat/overcook the wine, it is alcohol after all, the potential to burn the alcohol off, kill the sensitive spices, ruin the flavor or even start a fire is heightened if you let this wine sit too long.
I'll first go into the recipe and ingredients necessary along with additional ingredients that will enhance your tasting experience. You can have this wine just heated up by itself, but that's never fun.
Mulled Wine: You can usually purchase wine with the mulling spices already in it. Leelanau Cellars has "Witch's Brew," Modern Craft Winery has "Mulled Wine" and other Michigan wineries may have their autumnal/mulled wines. For this occasion we are using "Witch's Brew." You can get a regular 750ml bottle or the big 1.75L bottle. It all depends on how much you want and how many people you have interested in your deliciously smelling and tasting concoction.
Apple Cider: This time of year apple cider is readily available in the store and at every cider mill. I suggest getting a jug from your local grocery store, if you want to splurge you can purchase one from a cider mill. (This ingredient can be substituted or left out, it all depends on your taste).
Oranges: Not native to Michigan, but a great addition to your mixture, and will bring a nice citrus taste to the table.
Cinnamon Sticks: The real sticks, to garnish the cup and enhance the mulled concoction.
Either a Crockpot or Deep Sauce Pan. Size is dependant upon how much you want to make.
Mugs with handles to hold the drink once it is sufficiently warmed.
A ladle to scoop out the concoction.
For this recipe we are using a 1.75L big bottle to make enough for 12 servings or for 12 people to have one mug full. There may be more depending on how much you pour for your guests.
- Gather ingredients:
- 1 1.75L bottle of "Witches Brew" or your favorite Mulled Wine.
- 4 cups of Apple Cider (Optional)
- 2 Oranges,
- 12 Cinnamon Sticks, for each individual mug.
- Pour all of your wine into the crockpot or big sauce pan.
- Pour Apple Cider in and stir.
- Place pealed oranges into the mixture, if you want a more bitter flavor add the peals in as well.
- For the crockpot turn heat to low and let sit for about half an hour while occasionally stirring your concoction. The slow warming of the crockpot will enhance all of the flavors and make it more bold. If you see the mixture boiling or bubbling, turn the heat to warm. Overcooking the mixture will cause the delicate spices to be damaged.
- Using a sauce pan, turn heat on to medium-low to replicate a lower cooking temperature for closer to 10 minutes while consistently stirring. Again, if you see bubbling and/or boiling your heat is too high and you may have already done damage to the sensitive spices in the wine. Be very careful.
- Now that your concoction is warm it is ready to serve! Grab a mug and pour to your desired level!
- Grab a Cinnamon Stick for a garnish and an added flavor boost. The Cinnamon will dissolve into the wine.
- Serve and enjoy responsibly with family and friends during the holiday season or any time!
This recipe is very tasty and I am looking forward to trying this for our family's Thanksgiving gathering.
If you try this recipe and love it please let me know! If you hate it, tell me your recipe. If you like experimenting then try different variations and combinations, it is really hard to mess up this recipe but remember not to overcook or overheat.
Enjoy all of the festivities!