2
May

Baroda Founder's Wine Cellar

Arriving in the tiny downtown of Baroda is Baroda Founders Wine Cellar with a spacious tasting room that feels more modern than you would think from the outside.  Here their wine list is pretty extensive and they have a wine for all different tasting preferences.

 

Our last visit to this winery was on April 2, but we were previously there back at the end of August after our wedding.  The same bartender was there the previous time we were in.  The tasting experience is really awesome and this last time we were running out of time but wanted to try a new wine they had, the Traminette, which was very good.  The bartender gave us a taste for free since he knew us from before and knows we are going to buy a few bottles.  Baroda Founders Wine Cellar has some of my wife and I's favorite wine the "Cuvee Rosé," along with my dad's favorite the "Oh Hell Yeah! Red" and "Luce Del Sole."

 

Located at 8963 Hills Road, Baroda, MI 49101 you should take a trip to  visit for a tasting!  The wine is amazing and pours are generous.  The Lake Michigan Shore AVA is on of the world's greatest wine growing region.  If you are in town for lunch or dinner, just a few doors down is Round Barn Brewery & Winery's restaurant that you should check out too.

 

Without further adieu, why don't we check out these awesome wines:

Lake Michigan Shore Series:

Dry White Wine:

2016 Pinot Gris:  Just about the perfect acid, sugar and pH balance when harvested.  A hearty, full-bodied and flavorful rich, dry white.  Created to more closely resemble a French Pinot Gris rather than an Italian one.

2016 Dry Riesling:  A crisp dry wine with hints of apple and grapefruit flavors.  Perfect for a warm summer day.

 

Semi-Sweet White Wine:

2013 Riesling:  This wine has a soft citric and honey bouquet.  There is a full mouth feel and round acids that balance the 2% residual sweetness.  This reminded their founder of his travels to Germany, sitting in a courtyard tasting Rieslings

Lake Side Breeze Demi-Sec:  A slightly sweet white wine with a rich pear and apricot nose, full-bodied taste and clean, crisp finish.  A refreshing addition to a leisurely afternoon.

2016 Traminette:  This classic wine is a spicy hybrid of Gewurztraminer.  The pineapple and grapefruit floral flavors have been captured for your enjoyment by their wine master, Leonard R. Olson.

2016 Chardonnay:  A smooth crisp Chardonnay, this wine has a smoky vanilla bouquet mixed with apples and honey overtones with a creamy, refreshing touch of acid for a clean finish.

Luce Del Sole:  Made in the French Vouvray style.  The slightly sweet, fruity taste is complemented by a crisp finish that is clean and refreshing.  It is similar to the wine created by their founder in his early career that was served by President Gerald Ford in the White House.

 

Sweet White Wine: 

2011 Vidal Blanc Select Sweet Harvest:  This wine is harvested late in the year and has high residual sugars, creating a sweet, rich white wine.  It has a complex bouquet with honey and pear flavors.  It is overwhelmingly graceful.

 

Dry Red Wine:

2013 Pinot Noir:  A bolder, more robust Pinot Noir with a rich red hue and pronounced oak flavors.

2016 Chambourcin:  A ruby color and full rich berry flavors are complemented with vanilla oak over tones.

2011 Cabernet Franc:  Aged in French oak for 24 months, this full body wine has complex flavors of berries and smoky oak.  Tastes great now or perfect for aging for several years.

2011 Married In The Vineyard:  A marriage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it is truly a French Bordeaux-styled wine.  Aged in French oak for 24 months and then in the bottle for a year, it has a nice balance of ripe berries, tannins and acids, which complement this medium-bodied wine.

 

Too Fun To Fit In A Series:

Oh Hell Yeah! Red - Semi-Sweet Red:  A sweet red wine with a supple berry, full mouth feel and soft finish.  Named after a fishing friend (Red), who exclaimed “Oh Hell Yeah!” after drinking this wine.  This wine is far too fun to fit in any one Wine Series, and instead, deserved its very own!

Cuvee Rosé:  An off-dry Rosé with a robust cherry and fresh fruit flavor.  This delightful Rosé pairs well with any occasion.  Perfectly balanced at 1.5 residual sugar.

 

Baroda Antique Series:

Peach - Fruit Wine:  A grape wine with peach flavors infused.  Reminiscent of the days of when your grandfather made fruit wine.

Cranberry - Fruit Wine:  A sweet delectable wine infused with flavor of cranberry.  Reminiscent of the days of when your grandfather made fruit wine.

Green Apple - Fruit Wine:  This Riesling-based wine is full of green-apple flavor.

 

Delightful Dessert Series:

First Kiss - Dessert Wine:  A full-bodied red wine blend with Merlot characteristics and a rich dark chocolate-red raspberry bouquet.  It has a full mouth feel that gives way to light tannins and a dark chocolate sweetness.  Fun in a glass!

Smorleaux - Dessert Wine:  A subtle milk chocolate flavor touched with a hint of marshmallow leads into full-bodied, slightly sweet Merlot characteristics.

(Thanks to Baroda Founders Wine Cellar's website for wine descriptions).

 

Besides the main winery in Baroda, you can also check out their tasting room in St. Joseph on State St.  You can easily get their wine if you can't make it to the winery for a tasting by ordering off their website.  On the west side of the state you can find their wine in many stores.  The farther east you go it may be harder to find their wine but ask your local wine shop and they should be able to get your favorite wine on the shelves.  With prices mostly in the teens, they are comparable to similar wines from Michigan.

 

Baroda Founders Wine Cellar is pretty cool, you'll love it!

27
Apr

Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week - April 27, 2018 - Gunzan Rosé from Karma Vista Vineyards & Winery

Happy springtime!  This rose takes a play off of the rock n' roll band Guns N' Roses hence the name "Gunzan Rosé."  This delicious pink wine is a must have and perfect chilled to usher in the warmer sunnier weather.  This wine is a semi-sophisticated, semi-dry rosé made from their Pinot Noir grape.  Spice and cherry flavors, perfect with cheese, humus and guacamole, who needs dinner?

 

The wines of Karma Vista Vineyards & Winery usually have some sort of music related names.  They model their wine labels after album art on records and each label is a work of art.

 

You can call the winery to see if they will ship you their wine or visit the tasting room in Coloma, right off of I-94 on Ryno Rd.  This is a great winery to visit if you want to see a gorgeous vineyard.  It is $5 for a tasting of 5 samples.  This bottle of rosé is $14 which is a common price for a Pinot Noir rosé.

 

Go check out this rosé and the other delicious award-winning wine from Karma Vista Vineyards & Winery.

13
Apr

Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week April 13, 2018 - 2016 Sweet Traminette - Domaine Berrien Cellars

Generic Sweet White Hock Bottle shot

Happy Friday the 13th!  Spring finally feels like it is here and this week's pick is the perfect wine for this time of year.  The "2016 Sweet Traminette" from Domaine Berrien Cellars is a sweet German-style wine and a Gold Medal Winner.  With orange blossom aromas and flavors of juicy nectarine and honey.  Beautiful golden color and a robust finish.  Always a popular choice when friends get together!

 

This wine was running low on quantity when we were at the winery and I usually like to pick up limited selection wines.  My wife and I made a stop at the winery along our Southwest Michigan wine trip about a week ago.  It was a very beautiful place.

 

Domaine Berrien Cellars is really cool with their vineyard on site, a huge patio, a store and tasting room.  The staff is extremely knowledgeable about their wine and very friendly.  Their wine selection is pretty diverse and you can find different wine than all of the wines you are normally familiar with.  You should try the winery's other selections out too.

 

You can find this wine in select wine shops, but I would ask if they could order it for you if they don't have it.  You can also order from the winery's website.  However, your best option will be to sample their wine in-house, at the winery's tasting room because then you know what you like before you buy a bottle.  The "2016 Sweet Traminette" is only $12 for a bottle, which is really reasonable for a gold medal winning wine.

 

If you want to read about more Michigan wine?  Check out my other Top Wine Pick selections and be on the lookout for more posts each Friday about amazing wine that I have personally tasted and enjoy.  So raise a glass to celebrate spring time in Michigan or wherever you are.

 

 

11
Apr

Domaine Berrien Cellars

Image result for domaine berrien cellars logo

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be in the south of France?  Domaine Berrien Cellars makes you feel like you are there.  We stopped by the vineyard on April 2, 2018, on this day it was pretty cold still and the vines weren't in bloom but we did have a great time.

Vineyards preparing to bloom in less than a month.

We had been traveling for a while and decided to let our dogs out to frolic in the vineyard.  Once they did their business it was time for me to gather some great content for the blog.

Marvin In the vineyard

Domaine Berrien Cellars is located at 398 E. Lemon Creek Rd, Berrien Springs, MI 49103 with the vineyard on site and a big patio for gatherings when it gets warmer.  Pretty much right across the street from Lemon Creek Winery.  We walked up the ramp into the tasting room that had a big bar with some cool gifts and things.  They even sold their old oak barrels.  Next time we may purchase one and put it somewhere cool!

They have tons of delicious wine, mostly french style wines, since they wanted to mimic the Chateaus in France.  We tasted many different wines from dry to sweet.  They had a sweet Traminette that won an award, a Marsanné that tasted like a sparkling wine without the bubbles and one of the first wines produced at the vineyard called "Wolf's Prairie Red," this wine is said to stain concrete.  If you look closely you can see where people have spilled this wine on the patio.

 

Why don't we take a look at the other wines they have:

Dry White Wine:

2016 Viognier:  A fruit salad in your glass!  Aromas of apricot and cantaloupe.  Refreshing flavors of ripe, juicy peach, & melon with a spicy finish of star fruit and apple.  $15.00/bottle

2015 Marsanne:  This 2015 Marsanne was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, giving it wild elderflower aromas.  It has engaging flavors of Bartlett pear and honeydew melon with a lingering finish of crisp minerality.  This is the white wine that red wine drinkers will love!:  $15.00/bottle 

2016 Dry Traminette:  Traminette is a hybrid grape and a relative of the German grape Gewurztraminer.  This dry, fruity wine has wonderful aromas of honeysuckle, and flavors of apricot with a zippy lime finish.  Golden yellow color.  Great with turkey dinner or chicken curry.  $12.00/bottle

2016 Oaked Marsanne:  Aging in oak barrels lends aromas of toasty marshmallow & vanilla with a rich, creamy full body.  Butterscotch & caramel notes accentuate flavors of juicy pear, creme brulee, and Granny Smith apple with a soft, smooth finish.  $18.00/bottle

Sweet White Wine:

2016 Vignoles - 2.65% RS:  Tropical aromas of mango and papaya with flavors of sweet juicy pineapple will make you think of summer all year-long!  This wine pairs perfectly with Asian fare or grilled meats.  $12.00/bottle

2016 Sweet Traminette - 4.75% RS:  This sweet German-style wine with orange blossom aromas and flavors of juicy nectarine and honey.  Beautiful golden color and a robust finish.  Always a popular choice when friends get together!  $12.00/bottle

2016 Sweet Seyval Blanc - 8% RS:  Their sweetest wine.  Aromas of mandarin orange & apricot lead to luscious flavors of honey & juicy, ripe, apricot with a smooth, full finish.  Open a bottle on the patio it won't last long!  $12.00/bottle

Dry Red Wine:

2015 Pinot Noir:  A dark, Burgundy-style wine with aromas of subtle toasty oak, dark cherry flavors, and vanilla & cola on the finish. Rich garnet color.  $18.00/bottle

2016 Cabernet Franc:  Bright ruby color.  Graceful notes of violets on the nose with bright flavors of strawberry & sweet oak.  Medium bodied.  Soft tannins with a touch of cinnamon spice on the finish.  This wine pairs nicely with all kinds of beef.  $20.00/bottle

2016 Lemberger:  A medium-bodied wine with an intoxicating, spicy, aroma and flavors of red currant & plum.  Round, velvety and smooth on the finish, ready to drink now!  Pairs perfectly with pork tenderloin or lamb dishes.  $18.00/bottle

2015 Wolf's Prairie Red:  A dark red blend of hybrid grapes De Chaunac & Chelois with subtle smoky aromas, and full flavors of dark berry & plum with a bold finish.  $12.00/bottle

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon:  Powerful black fruit from the King of Grapes!  Floral aromas lead to expressive dark fruit flavors with a smooth, balanced finish.  This complex, full-bodied wine opens beautifully in the glass.  $20.00/bottle

Sweet Red Wine:

2016 Red Satin - 2.5% RS:  A soft, semi-sweet red blend.  Fruity/floral aromas and flavors of strawberry jam, vanilla, & cherry.  Accents of mild oak tannins and a smooth, soft finish.  $16.00/bottle

2016 Grandma's Red - 5% RS:  Made from the same full flavored, deep red grapes as Wolf's Prairie Red, but in a sweeter style.  A fruity bouquet complements flavors of mixed berry jam and a full, sweet finish.  Perfect for pizza, pasta and sangria!  $12.00/bottle

(Thanks to the Domaine Berrien Cellars website for wine descriptions and pricing).

 

If you are wondering where you can get their wine you can find it at select wine shops around your town in Michigan.  These wines will be more prevalent on the west side of the state, but if your shop doesn't carry your wine simply ask and they will be glad to order it for you.  If you want to order direct from the vineyard, then go to their website and send them an email with your selections.  What could be better than wine at your doorstep?

 

I can't wait to taste how delicious the bottles we bought are.  Let me know if you've tried a wine from Domaine Berrien Cellars and if you liked it.  I'll be back Friday with an awesome wine pick of the week.  Until then sit back with a nice glass and toast spring time!

9
Apr

Wine Trip - Southwest Michigan - April 2, 2018

Hello again! and sorry about the delay, this previous week was super busy.  My wife and I took a trip to replenish our wine stash.  The wine racks were looking empty, so we decided to take a day trip to some of our favorite vineyards and wineries in southwest Michigan.  I planned it out ahead of time with some awesome birthday surprises for my wife along the way.  This is one good thing about living in the center of the state we are 2 hours from each coast and never too far from a great adventure.

 

Our journey Started at getting coffee at Starbucks in Okemos, then down I-96 to I-69 to I-94.  Once on I-94 we stopped at Sweetwater's Donut Mill for some of Michigan's best donuts.  Driving conditions were perfect, not a lot of traffic, blue skies and sunshine, alittle chilly, 34 in the morning, but not uncomfortably cold.

Our first stop was Karma Vista Vineyards & Winery just outside of Paw Paw in Coloma right off of I-94.  This is by far one of our favorite vineyards because the tasting room is in the center of the vineyard.  There are acres upon acres of grapevines and fruit trees in a 360 degree vantage point from the tasting room.  Their wine is outstanding too!  They have won various awards and with increasingly warmer and more dry summers the crops have been thriving.  However, this  year may see an impact because the spring has been so cold, the late start hasn't allowed ample growth and blooming that would normally be out now, but we'll see what the rest of the year brings.

 

At Karma Vista we sampled some new wine on the tasting menu.  A "Cotes de Loma" that is a similar blend to a "Cotes De Rhone" from France.  We also got to try different vintages of the Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Merlot.  The vintage years we got to try were 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  I am a big fan of the vintage 2013 but I was impressed with the 2015 vintage.  One of my wife's favorite wine, the "Starry Starry White" was such a big hit we bought a case for our wedding party.  I've written a post about "Starry Starry White" and you can read more about that here.

One of the benefits of tasting during the off-season is that you usually have more time to talk with the winemakers.  Most of the time you will be talking with the owners of the winery.  We were fortunate enough to get to talk wine with the owners because I was curious about the different years and which ones produced more quality grapes than others.  We ended up buying some wine to drink right away and a few bottles to lay down for a while to see what aging would do for the quality of those wines.

 

Looking at the clock, we spent way too much time at the first place, but we still had all day ahead of us.  About 30 minutes down the road in a small town called Baroda, we stopped at Baroda Founder's Wine Cellar.  This is a very fun place with some of our favorites like "Cuvee Rosé" and "Oh Hell Yeah" red.  Their pretzels are a really good compliment to the wine tasting.  The same person was serving us who did back in September.  We left there with some new wine to try an award-winning wine as well.

My Wife, Bogey and I in front of the cut off Baroda Founder's Wine Cellar sign.  

Upon arrival we encountered a man named "Gouch" who claims to be the cousin of the owner.  He was very nice and took my wife and I's picture in front of the sign.  After tasting some wine he proceeded to offer us a spicy bourbon pickle.  At this point things seemed to get weird, however It actually turned out to be ok!  Anyway, with us not really knowing what to think of this guy, who probably is not actually related to the owner at all,we headed over to Lemon Creek Winery about 2 miles outside of Baroda.  Now we were in the middle of nowhere surrounded by vineyards and farmland.

Lemon Creek Winery is located down in a valley with a farmer's market on site, which is pretty cool too.  When you enter the ranch style building there is a big tasting bar.  We wanted to see what new wines they were releasing and if we could snatch up any of the remaining limited release bottles.  We found a "Malbec" which is unusual for Michigan.  The flavor of this Malbec was completely different from any Malbec I've tried before, but due to its limited availability we purchased a bottle, along with the "Peach Spumante" that is smooth, light and not too sweet.  We bought a few more bottles to get the 15% discount.  This winery is in a beautiful locale and right across the street and up the hill is Domaine Berrien Cellars, our next stop.

Domaine Berrien Cellars has lots of acreage full of vineyards.  We captured our dog playing in the vineyard.  They have a big patio for when the weather is nice.  At this point of the day the clouds were rolling in and the wind was picking up.  It was about 42 at this time.  Approaching the tasting table we noticed they were selling the entire wine barrel, empty of course so you can use it for whatever you come up with.  This was our first time to this winery and they had some unique whites and reds.  We got to learn about the history of this winery and learned how they tried to mimic Chateaus in France.  We bought a "Marsanné" which is almost like a "Blanc De Blanc" without the bubbles, very tasty.  We also bought a deep red wine that stains concrete called "Wolf's Prairie Red."  You'll see a post about this winery soon.

Our trip was going to lead us to the Warren Dunes State Park on the shore of Lake Michigan, but unfortunately we were running out of time and were getting pretty hungry.  We will be going to Warren Dunes State Park for the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival on June 16.  You'll learn more about that after we go and you can follow the link to read more in case you want to attend.

Marvin In the vineyard

We had to make it to St. Joseph in time for my wife's birthday surprise at Schu's Bar & Grill for our lunch/dinner.  It was a carrot cake with "Happy Birthday" written on it.  The food was amazing and they even gave my guide dog some raw turkey to gobble down.  He was really happy after that and the same went for my wife after such a fun and tasty surprise.  Now that our bellies were full it was time to taste wine at White Pine Winery.

 

White Pine Winery is one of my favorite stops in St. Joseph, not only due to the service you receive but also because their owner is a master winemaker who worked for St. Julian Winery before he decided to open White Pine Winery.  He got his PhD in Viticulture with concentration in cold climate grape growth.  He uses a combination of science and knowledge of the horticulture behind growing amazing grapes to produce award-winning wine.  We tried some new wine and a "2011 Merlot" that was so smooth, I had to buy a bottle.  Their "Serendipity" wine was amazing but I wanted to get my hands on the "Merlot."  We also loved the "Lady Slipper Blush" was so smooth too, made from the Chambourcin grape.  After having a very in-depth conversation with the owner's wife we bought some bottles and headed next door to Lazy Ballerina Winery.

 

Vineyards preparing to bloom in less than a month.

It was about 5:30PM when we entered Lazy Ballerina Winerywe knew that we would not be able to make it to Lawton Ridge Winery all the way in Kalamazoo by 6PM.  Lazy Ballerina Winery is a unique place where all of their wine's names are ballet or dance related.  One of my favorite wines from this winery is the "Barrel Rouge" a red wine aged in old bourbon barrels.  They can benefit from aging in the bottle, if you can wait that long.  We also tried a new wine that wasn't released yet, which they let us purchase.  Delicious!  It was about 6:15PM when we left St. Joseph.  This was a very long day full of fun and excitement.

 

With the taste of multiple different wines on my tongue, 3 boxes of wine in the car and tons of new material to write about, we decided to head home to properly store our new wine.  I do love these day trips but I think 6 wineries is a good maximum to visit in one day.  I'll have posts about the wineries and vineyards we visited in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, enjoy the pictures and posts.  Wine trips are fun and especially great for replenishing your wine stash.  Remember I would love to hear your wine adventures too.

 

Stay thirsty for more wine posts!  Cheers.

28
Mar

Leelanau Cellars

 

Image result for leelanau cellars logo

Finally here!  Famously known for their "Winter White" wine in the blue bottle.  Leelanau Cellars is located on the extreme northwest tip, or pinky finger of Michigan, right on the shore of Lake Michigan.  The winery's address is 7161 N West Bay Shore Dr, Northport, MI 49670.  It is a Leelanau Peninsula must.  I plan on visiting the winery this summer and I'll have an update to this post once I go.

 

Leelanau Cellars is quite famous, with their wines winning awards every year.  You can also find their wine in pretty much every grocery store, wine shop, party store and gas station in the state.  Their wine comes at very attractive prices, many times anywhere from $6 to $13 depending on what style you get.  With the abundance of wine distributed you may have heard of Leelanau Cellars.  

 

What other wines do they have besides "Winter White?"  Let's check it out!

Apricot:  A smooth and sweet wine full of apricot flavor that is ideally served chilled.

Autumn Harvest:  Light to medium-bodied blended table wine, full of ripe berry flavors including raspberries and tart cherries. It is an easy-to-drink everyday red with a slight earth finish that lingers on the palate.  This wine is great for gatherings that include guests who prefer a dry red wine.
Pairings: Tomato based pasta sauces, pork chops, pizza, lasagna, grilled vegetables, and chili.

Back Noir Rosé:  Aromas of candied plums, strawberries, and wildflowers will tantalize your nose while flavors of fresh tart cherries, raspberries, and cranberries will enliven your palate.  This rosé has a distinctly acidic quality.  The wine’s low alcohol content makes it a great wine for summer enjoyment.
Pairings: When served chilled, this wine will be a perfect complement with artisan cheeses, seafood, spicy Asian foods, and salads.

Blueberry:  100% blueberry wine is ruby red and sweet, reminiscent of the fruit picked fresh from the patch with a subtle lingering hint of spices and nuts.
Pairings: Pairs well with Brie cheese & cherry chicken salad, as well as desserts like cheesecake, lemon bars, and fresh fruit.

Cabernet Franc:  The nose of this Cabernet Franc is full of violets with a slight herbaceous quality and has slight tannins and a medium body.  Dark fruit flavors including fresh black currants, plums and sweet cherries are abundant and palate pleasing.
Pairings: Grilled red meats, pot roasts, beef stroganoff, and roasted tomato sauces.

Chardonnay:  Barrel-aged estate grown Chardonnay grapes make up this well balanced Chardonnay which is medium in body and weight and full of caramel and vanilla nuances that will linger on your palate.  The defined oak nuances and crisp acidity are reminiscent of traditional French Burgundy or cool climate Chardonnay.
Pairings: Creamy Alfredo sauces, cheesy polenta, grilled chicken, salmon, crab cakes, pork, duck and veal.

Cherry:  Made from Northern Michigan Montmorecy tart cherries, this 100% pure cherry wine has a tangy character and has been recognized for providing beneficial antioxidants.  Enjoy this wine served ice cold or mixed with seltzer and a lemon wedge to make a refreshing summer spritzer.
Pairings: Recommended using this wine in sauces over poultry or pork.

Cranberry:  This wine is full of intense cranberry flavor and delicious served cold, or you can also use it in your homemade sangria, spritzers and cocktails.

Dry Riesling:  Light in body and crisp on the palate, this award winning wine is loaded with flavors and aromas of fresh lemon, crisp green apples and pears.  Subtle underlying minerality and a crisp lively acidity lends this Riesling to a multitude of foods.
Pairings: Seared sea scallops, grilled shrimp, mild fish dishes, salads and light appetizers.

Great Lakes Red:  Award winning 100% Concord grape wine is perfect for picnics, tailgating and entertaining.  It is semi-sweet and quite refreshing when served chilled… like your favorite grape juice with an extra special kick.
Pairings: Cheese and sausage trays, BBQ and picnic fare or simply on its own.

Late Harvest Riesling:  A sweeter version of Riesling harvested after the grapes freeze on the vine.  Pairs best with desserts.

Late Harvest Vidal:  A sweeter version of Vidal harvested after the grapes freeze on the vine.  Pairs best with desserts.

Meritage:  This Meritage is a blend of estate-grown Cabernet Sauvigon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.  Full-bodied with refined tannins from aging in French oak barrels the texture and feel is silky, smooth and elegant.  Aromas of red violets and dark purple flowers are distinct to the nose and robust dark fruit flavors are abundant on the finish.
Pairings: Grilled steaks or any red meat, pork roasts, sharp cheeses, mushrooms, and grilled vegetables.

Merlot:  This Estate grown merlot has spent over a year in American Oak.  This full-bodied wine with refined tannins is full of cassis and black currant aromas.  The palate is intense with ripe tart cherry and red berry flavors to be enjoyed with robust foods.
Pairings: Grilled meats, Italian sausage, pork roasts, and wild game.

Pear:  They use local pears to make this 100% pear fruit wine, sure to remind you of autumn in Northern Michigan whether you have visited or not.
Pairings: Perfect on its own, chilled if you prefer or reduced to a sauce over ice cream and cobbler.

Pinot Noir:  This delicate, light-bodied wine has an abundance of red berry aromas and flavors which include red currant, tart cherry, and red raspberry.  The subtle spiciness that is present on the palate is reminiscent of the delicacy of white pepper.  The somewhat acidic nature of this wine makes it a perfect accompaniment to a meal.  This wine will help cleanse your palate while maintaining the bright fruit flavors and slight floral aromas that are sure to linger well beyond your last sip.
Pairings: Grilled salmon, swordfish, duck, chicken, pork, pheasant and quail as well as grilled mushrooms, roasted squash and creamy risotto.

Raspberry:  Their highly-in-demand 100% raspberry wine will fill your palate with mouthwatering intensity and is sure to enliven your senses.  Serve chilled on its own or as a refreshing spritzer mixed with seltzer over ice.
Pairings: Dark chocolate, cheesecake or fresh fruit.

Red Sangria:  This is a semi-sweet wine that is blended with natural citrus flavors and secret spices.  This refreshing drink is a great choice when entertaining and should be served chilled over ice with an assortment of chopped fresh fruit.
Pairings: Perfect compliment to slightly spicy foods such as Mexican, Spanish and South American cuisine.

Renaissance:  If you enjoy semi-dry wines with your meals, this wine is a perfect accompaniment to fish or chicken.  It is a medium-bodied blend of our finest wines in the cellar. It is full of tropical fruit flavors, yet dry on the finish.

Reserve Chardonnay:  This 100% estate grown Chardonnay is made from grapes that have been barrel aged for over a year.  This wine has an extremely smooth texture and a luscious full mouth feel.  Flavors of vanilla, crème brulee and butterscotch are abundant.
Pairings: Salmon, lobster, crème based sauces, and bisques.

Tall Ship Riesling:  This semi-sweet Riesling is layered with ripe fruit flavors including fresh peaches, apricots, baked apples and pears.  It is perfect when enjoyed on its own but it nicely accompanies most entrees and desserts.
Pairings: Sharp cheeses, smoked fish, and assorted fresh fruit.

Semi-Dry Riesling:  This is very versatile and can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere.  Stainless steel fermentation allows the delicate characteristics of the Riesling grape to exist unadulterated. It is off-dry with plenty of ripe citrus aromas and flavors and is crisp to the palate and a great choice to drink with slightly spicy dishes.
Pairings: Pairs well with foods that are difficult to compliment including aromatic Indian curries and spicy Asian cuisine.

Sleeping Bear Red:  This wine is a Burgundy-style blend of five different grapes.  This wine contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Baco Noir, and Pinot Noir.  This wine is light-to-medium bodied with definite tart cherry and red currant flavors throughout.  The addition of Cabernet gives this wine a bit of backbone and structure.
Pairings: Tomato sauces, pork roasts, rotisserie chicken, quail, and duck.

Spiced:  A blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and other natural spices, this wine is a crowd pleaser.  Perfect for entertaining, this wine will explode with intense flavor when served warm but can also be served chilled as an ingredient in sangria.

Spring Splendor:  Their delightful semi-dry table wine is full of lush fruit flavors and is a perfect accompaniment to a meal, an afternoon picnic or can simply be enjoyed on its own.  (This wine will make you think of spring time regardless of your current season).
Pairings: A great wine to pair with brunch foods including crepes, and bagels and lox or light chicken and fish entrees.

Summer Sunset:  Their semi-dry blush wine will fill your palate with flavors of fresh strawberry, honeydew melon and ripe cantaloupe.  Perfect for a picnic or simply enjoying the Leelanau sunset from any vantage.  (The best end to any summer evening).
Pairings: Assorted fruits and cheeses.

Sweet Red:  This all-occasion table wine is an easy choice to serve when entertaining.  Great for summer BBQ’s, picnics and any large festivities our semi-dry red is easy to drink and quite refreshing when served chilled.
Pairings: BBQ chicken, pulled pork, chili, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs.

Tall Ship Chardonnay:  Their Classic Chardonnay has a medium body, is ever-so-slightly off dry, and quite crisp.  Plenty of citrus flavors and tropical aromas including fresh pineapple, ripe mango and star fruit are present.
Pairings: Pairs well with a wide variety of foods including chicken, seafood, grilled vegetables, whitefish, walleye, salmon, and pork.

Tall Ship Moscato:  This is a sweet and crisp wine with notes of peach, apricot and citrus.
Pairings: Assorted fruits and fish.

Tall Ship Pinot Grigio:  A bright, light to medium bodied wine that is full of sharp flavors of white grapefruit, fresh lemon and green apple and has a distinct nose full of lemongrass and cilantro.  This Pinot Grigio is perfect as an aperitif before a meal or as an accompaniment to many meals.
Pairings: Crisp summer salads, chilled shrimp cocktail or fresh calamari, and chicken or vegetarian dishes.

Tall Ship Red:  A favorite of visitors to the winery.  This merlot and syrah blend is medium bodies, smooth and loaded with red and black berry flavors.

White Sangria:  A blend of premium white grapes mixed with natural fruit juices, this summertime favorite has luscious, slightly spiced undertones and a medley of delicate tropical flavors as well as fresh ripe peaches, ripe honeydew melon and edible flowers.
Pairings: Recommend serving this sangria chilled over ice with assorted chopped seasonal fruit and fresh, sliced citrus rounds.

White Port:  Fortified white, goes well with most desserts.

Witches Brew:  It is our secret wine blend enhanced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and other natural spices that makes this a crowd pleaser and favorite of Leelanau Cellars’ fans.  Perfect for entertaining, this wine will explode with intense flavor when served warm but can also be served chilled as an ingredient in sangria.  Witches Brew is perfect for campfires, tailgating, or any gathering (large or small) on a chilly evening.

Winter Green Apple Chill:  Green Apple flavors blend impeccably with their classic Winter White wine creating the mildest of the three new fruit chills.  So deliciously smooth that it just may become your new favorite wine.

Winter White:  Their ever-popular table wine also known as “the wine in the blue bottle” is very similar to a Piesporter in style and is light-bodied and semi-sweet.  Empty blue bottles of winter white have been used in many craft and design projects or simply converted to a lovely flower vase.
Pairings: Serve with appetizers, including cheese and crackers or pair it with chicken or fish for a meal.

Winter White Cherry Chill:  Cherry flavor infused with the Winter White wine.

Winter White Mixed Berry:  Wild Berry flavors are blended seamlessly with their classic Winter White wine to create a brand new, refreshing, light and semi-sweet white wine that is best served chilled and enjoyed anytime.

Winter White Peach Chill:  Luscious Red Peach flavors brim from your glass after being seamlessly blended with their classic Winter White wine to create a brand new, refreshingly light, semi-sweet white wine that is best served chilled and enjoyed anytime.  (My wife's favorite!  Also, perfect on those hot summer days).

*Wine descriptions are brought to you by the Leelanau Cellars website.  Anything in parentheses are my own remarks on the wine.

 

 

The options are endless at their winery.  You can order their wine if you can't find the particular wine you want in your local store.  If you want the tasting room experience they are open all year round, you can head up north where the tastings are free.  You'll leave with a couple of bottles or a case, I can guarantee that.

 

Let me know what your favorite wine from Leelanau Cellars is?  Cheers!

 

 

21
Mar

Michigan Wine Discovery Challenge

Happy Wednesday!

 

Another unconventional Wine Wednesday post and I pose a challenge to all y'all readers!

 

There are so many vineyards and wineries in Michigan, this means more variations of wine.  I want you to make an effort to visit more tasting rooms this spring.  Most vineyards and wineries start back up into normal operating hours starting April or May depending on the region.

 

Your wine taste may change the more times you taste.  A great thing about doing a wine tasting is that you can try all of the whites, reds, dry or sweet wines.  You are in charge of your own experience.  Try them all if you wish!

 

If you find yourself traveling around the state this spring and summer, be on the lookout for signs for wineries.  You'll be surprised at how many places you'll notice.  Would you like to see one of the wines you've tasted on "Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week" post or the winery you visited on my "Wine Wednesday" post?  If so, please comment and I'll put it on my writing list.  I love to hear about other people's wine adventures.

 

As much as you love hearing about my wine adventures, I would love to hear what your experiences were like in your journeys.  My challenge for you is to visit more wineries, do more wine tastings and report your findings to me.  Then your name and story could be featured in my future posts.  Can't wait to hear from you all!

 

Are you up to the challenge?  Here we go!

7
Mar

VinBar - Northern Michigan Tasting Room Experience in Ann Arbor!

Ever wanted to taste wine from Northern Michigan but can't make it up north?  Ann Arbor feels your pain, so they opened the VinBar.  Located in downtown Ann Arbor at 111 W. Liberty about 2 doors down from Starbucks.

 

This past weekend my wife and I along with my brother and his wife went to the VinBar after dinner at Kim's Table.  The atmosphere at the tasting room was super chill with relaxing music, local paintings on the wall and lights lining the storefront, door, seating and bar.  They offer wine, spirits, craft cocktails and brandy from Black Star Farms, L. Mawby and Grand Traverse Distillery.  We had 3 flights and my brother ordered a cocktail made from all Michigan spirits and ingredients.

Left to right:
L. Mawby "Sex" Black Star Farms "Pinot Grigio" Black Star Farms "Artisan Red"

I've attached links to download their menus if you want to check it out before you go.

Wine List Menu

Wine Flights Menu

Craft Cocktails Menu

Wine Club

 

The wide variety of wine will please anyone's taste buds.  If you want to try multiple wines you can get a half pour or flights of three.  You can buy bottles of wine and spirits in the store.  If you aren't into wine their cocktails are made from Michigan ingredients and spirits.  Prices are quite reasonable and it'll be worth the money.

 

The staff is friendly and helpful with the wine and cocktails.  The place was almost too relaxing we almost fell asleep, but we all were up early that day and it was about 11pm.  We should have gone before dinner.  Next time I want to try the cocktails because I've tasted all of the wine the VinBar carries.

 

If you find yourself in Ann Arbor you should stop in and sample some Northern Michigan Wine.  Which Northern Michigan wine do you enjoy?  I love to hear what you find and love.

2
Mar

Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week March 2, 2018 - Rouge Doux From Hickory Creek Winery

Have you ever wanted to try a french style red made from Michigan grapes?  This is your wine!  "Rouge Doux" is a delicious red that is dry on the nose but ends with fruity after tones.  A great compromise for that perfect night out, steak or even pork dinners.  Last night I had it with mezzaluna and a red sauce.  Perfect combo!  This red is fantastic for aging.  I let this one sit for 6 months, which brought out tons of flavor while smoothing out the wine.

 

"Rouge Doux" is produced by Hickory Creek Winery in southwest Michigan.  Started in 2006 they wanted to replicate some of the world's most famous wine producing regions.  Located at 750 Browntown Rd, Buchanan, MI 49107.  In the southwest of the state where sandy soils and the abundance of hills formed from glaciers lead to prime grape growth.

 

The only way to get this wine is to go to the tasting room and purchase a glass or bottle.  They make small batches, so when they run out, they run out.  This is a perfect special occasion wine and will even go well with Easter dinner.

 

If you get a chance and find yourself in extreme southwest Michigan, it is totally worth a trip to Hickory Creek Winery.  Plus, if you purchase 2 or more bottles your wine tasting is free.  Truly a win win!

 

Until next week.  Be on the lookout for Easter wine picks!

28
Feb

Fenton Winery & Brewery

Image result for fenton winery and brewery logo

Fenton Winery & Brewery has a pretty interesting history.  Founded by Matt and Ginny Sherrow they started out in a strip mall in 2007 amidst a recession the owners were determined to make it through.  After a few years of success, acquiring the storefronts on either side and gaining popularity, they knew the winery & brewery could be expanded if they had more space.  In 2012 they found a nice 5 acre property, previously a wood shop, just North of town on Long Lake Rd.  The property needed a lot of renovation, fast forward to 2014 they were totally transitioned.  Now at 1370 N. Long Lake Rd., Fenton, MI 48430 they have a store that sells brewing supplies, glasses, growlers, bottles of beer and wine and other cool items.  There is a separate wedding/event room and the brewhouse is onsite.  The taproom where you can indulge in samples, glasses or bottles of their craft wines and beer, the delicious pizzas, appetizers, cheesy ale soup (my favorite!), meat and cheese tray and artisan grilled cheese sandwiches.  On nice days you can take your food and drink outside into the beer and wine garden.  You won't be bored, they also have games like corn hole, board games and much more to help you relax.  If you find yourself on US-23 in-between Hartland and Flint this is your stop.

 

As I have written in the past about my secondary love of beer Fenton Winery & Brewery has something that everyone will love.  Even if you aren't into wine and beer they can serve up your favorite cocktail instead.  You'll be shocked at their selection of wine.  Why don't we explore the amazing wine they have.

 

White Wine:

Orange Label White - Sauvignon Blanc

Classic, semi-dry wine that has an herbaceous nose & subtle hints of lavender.  Excellent with seafood & well-seasoned poultry dishes.

Fenton White - Chardonnay

Fresh, well-balanced with tropical citrus aromas and flavors.  Undimmed by oak, the fruit quality of the grape comes through and the rich, round mouth feel lingers to a long, crisp finish.

Celebrate - Viognier  

Full-bodied & highly aromatic, this fruit-forward wine boasts great floral notes.  Layers of flavor linger on the palate.  Pairs well with spicy foods.  (One of my favorite whites).  See flight picture.

Gazebo White - Riesling

Light, semi-sweet wine that features a delicate, fruity aroma and a fresh, crisp finish.  A versatile wine that pairs well with an array of dishes.

Moonlight - Moscato

Light-bodied, sweet white wine that has a refreshing taste.

 

Blended Wine:
Breeze - Pomegranate Riesling

Semi-sweet Riesling blended with tart pomegranates.

Solo - Blackberry Merlot

This is by far their best seller!  A velvety soft, medium-bodied Merlot mixed with rich, sweet blackberries.  Wonderful with dark chocolate!

Crisp - Green Apple Riesling

A great, refreshing wine that reminds you of biting into a crisp green apple.  A delicious juicy finish follows the apple tartness.

Wild - Wildberry Shiraz

A light, refreshing, fruity blend of wild berries and a robust Shiraz.

Grin - Raspberry White Zinfandel

Blush wine offering succulent, mouth-watering flavors of sweet, ripe raspberries blended gracefully with the refreshing character of a White Zinfandel.

 

Red Wine:
Fenton Red - Merlot

Medium-bodied red wine boasting a fruity flavor & velvety soft finish.  A perfect sipping red.

Summit Red - Pinot Noir

Known for its fruit & berry notes, this medium-bodied red is rich & surprisingly smooth.  Pairs well with sweeter, lightly seasoned dishes. (This was my top wine pick of the week for Feb 23, 2018.  The second wine going left to right in my wine flight picture).

Orange Label Red - Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth and rich with qualities of warm berries up front.  This is a medium bodied wine that has light tannins in the finish.

Mountain View - Malbec

Medium-bodied red wine with lasting notes of jammy, plum flavors and a dry, warm finish. (Very delicious wine with all those characteristics you love from a Malbec.  Third wine going left to right on my flight picture).

Barrel Aged Red Wine
1545 North - Barolo

An Italian favorite made from the Nebbiolo grape.  This barrel aged version is aromatic & delicious with light tannin undertones. (I love this wine!  This is the second time I've seen this at a Michigan winery.  This is the wine on the right of my wine flight picture).

Crimson Vine - Shiraz

Medium-bodied, spicy on the palate & robust.  Notes of warm berries & black pepper.

Dessert Wines and Specialty Wine:
First Frost Ice Wine - Riesling Ice Wine

Sweet aromas & flavors of pear, honey and sugar drops combine for a real treat.

Winter Warmth - Cherry Chocolate Dessert Wine

Sweet and rich with flavors reminiscent of a chocolate covered cherry, this wine is a perfect after dinner sipper.

Opulence Ruby - Fortified Port

Double medal winning port recipe that takes almost 2 years to create as it is aged and fortified with French Barrel Aged Brandy.  It has incredible flavor balance with notes of banana and elderberries throughout.

Cocoa - Chocolate Merlot

Medium bodied Merlot blended with rich dark cocoa.  This is not a sweet wine, it has decadent flavors throughout that create a subtle sweetness and sophisticated experience. (This wine is dessert in a glass no doubt).

(Descriptions brought to you by the Fenton Winery & Brewery's website).  Personal accounts are made in parentheses after each description.

 

Left to right:
Celebrate, Summit Red, Mountain View, 1545 North.

 

Not on the list is the "Mango Wine," which is one I'll have to go back for.  My wife and I really loved it. The mango taste wasn't over powering but made for a unique tasting experience.  I hope it sticks around for awhile.

 

The winery & brewery is a great place to get together with family and friends.  My wife and I went this past Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 to meet up with her sister and husband, who live in Fenton and discovered it.  We sampled both wine and beer.  You can mix up your flights to have wine and beer on them.  The flight is the way to go and with 4 pours for $7 you can't go wrong!  We ordered pizza and a cheesy ale soup made from their amber ale, absolutely delicious!  On top of that, the staff is super friendly and attentive making sure our glasses didn't run dry.  We can't wait to go back.

 

I've never heard of the Fenton Winery & Brewery before last week, so I was excited to try it out.  I suggest that you check it out too!

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