Blue Heron: A Versatile White Table Wine from St. Julian Winery

Blue Heron

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.


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

Northbound White

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?


Gifting Wine For The Holidays

It's getting close to the holiday season and we are thinking about all of the gifts to get for our family and friends.  With impending gatherings we want to be gracious with our offerings.  If you aren't asked to make or bring a dish, wine would be a great gift.


We all see those wine gift baskets with the California wines, the Italian prosecco or that wine with the Christmas tree label and think those are pretty cool, but what if you brought something more local and more unique?  How about a Michigan wine?  Michigan makes some award-winning wine that can go toe to toe with many of the quality wines of other regions in the world.


How do you make the wine selection for that perfect gift?

Typically you think red for the longevity and the ability to go well with hearty meals, or you choose a Chardonnay, not everyone is a fan, but someone will drink it?  A sparkling wine is safe, but how do you know if it's going to be good?  Why don't you try to take your host or recipient's taste in mind?  The type of wine you chose will be well received and more likely to be enjoyed with others.


Red Wine:

If you know your recipient loves red wine or the meal you are attending will be hearty, a red wine will be your best bet.  How do you pick a red wine?


The most widely loved red wine from Michigan is a Pinot Noir.  These Pinot Noirs are versatile and can go with meals like Turkey, Ham and Roast Beef.


If you wanted to go a more traditional direction select a Merlot.  Most people recognise the name and they know the flavor.  It is a safe bet for those red wine lovers in your life.  Michigan Merlot has a more fruit forward taste than other regions and will fit well with most meals.


You could go with a more Michigan unique grape like Marquette for those true red wine enthusiasts in your life.  It can still pair well with those hearty meals and can potentially age for two more years depending on the vintage.


White Wine:

When you are thinking white wine, Chardonnay comes to the top of your mind, right?  However, there are those people who LOVE it and there are those who can't stand it!  If you know your gift recipient loves it, a Michigan Chardonnay would be an awesome new twist and taste for them.  Perhaps, if you don't know, try an unoaked Chardonnay.  Unoaked reduces all of those woody characteristics that an Oaked Chardonnay gives you.


The second most popular white wine is Pinot Grigio.  A Pinot Grigio is the best bet for those white wine lovers in your life.  No wood and more fruit makes for perfect Turkey and Ham pairings.  This is a lighter wine that is widely available in Michigan.  This wine will be a safe bet.


If you are looking to really impress your host or recipient a Michigan Riesling will be a hit!  Rieslings come in Dry, Semi-Dry, Semi-Sweet, Late Harvest, Sweeter and Iced Wine, which is super sweet.  A taste for everyone, this is one of the best and most award-winning white wines in Michigan.  Compare a German Riesling with a Michigan Riesling and see which is better.  This wine holds up to practically every dish and if you love spicy food like me, it will help cut the burn. Sometimes a sweeter wine will help settle your stomach from all of the festive cuisine.


If you want to be unique and bring something different, Michigan white blends can actually fit well and bring a cool story to the table.  I personally love the white blends, which usually have unique names.  They also usually have a fun story behind the wine too!  When wine tasting I always ask how they came up with the name and most times, the stories are quite compeling!  Share the story with your guests to instil a more personal connection to the wine they are drinking.


Rosé Wine:

If you can't decide between white or red and you want something that goes well with everything, why don't you try a rosé?  Rosé is delicious and will bring some additional color to your meal.  Michigan Rosé is a great addition to any meal but not a great gift.  The only gift-worthy rosé would be a sparkling rosé.


Sparkling Wine:

We think of Sparkling Wine as a New Year's Eve thing, but a good bubbly can make a significant impact at any holiday meal and make a perfect gift.  These wines come in an array of flavors and tastes, dry traditional sparkling wine, semi-dry, semi-sweet, and even sweet sparklers!  If you are gifting a bubbly, a dry to semi-dry will be a perfect gift.  If you know your recipient loves sweeter wine, try one of those!  Your best bet for sparkling wine in Michigan is L. Mawby where they specialise in everything sparkling wine.  Many other wineries in Michigan use L. Mawby as a model for their sparklers.  A sparkling wine would be perfect for toasting a meal or holiday party.  It is a tradition in some cultures to only toast with a sparkling wine.  Until recently, I didn't think that a bubbly goes well with dessert, but It is actually very complimentary to the sweetness of your last portion!


If you need help finding a great gifting wine or wine for your holiday event, please reach out to me at mark@michiganwineguy.com and I can be the hero or your holiday!


Enjoy the season's festivities and be on the lookout for more Michigan wine related articles.


Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week Aug 17, 2018 - Melon Festival Wine

Yes, I am back after a small hiatus.  This weekend Aug 17-19 is the annual Howell Melon Festival and to commemorate each year Howell's MainStreet Winery produces the "Melon Fest Wine"  made entirely from cantaloupe melon.  This is a light and refreshing white table wine with notes of melon, kiwi, pear and pineapple, all of the flavors that you love in a summer wine.  Perfect for any summer occasion like BBQ cookouts and picnics.  With a 7% ABV, why not have a few bottles!


Now you ask me, why melon wine?  Why not?  It's the Melon Festival.  In this wine they use locally sourced melon to showcase the Michigan melon growing season.  This has been an attraction in Howell for years and it's always worth a venture to the small city of Howell.


The "Melon Fest" wine can only be purchased at the winery and will cost you around $15 for a bottle.  This wine is part of a limited batch, which means it will be out of stock soon!  This batch is usually released after the first week of August when all of the locals and "Melon Fest" wine faithfuls pick up their stash.  After the Melon Fest weekend it takes probably a week or two to completely sell out.  Get them while they're around!


If you are in town this weekend don't forget the Melon Ice Cream!  This is another staple of Howell.  Check that out on the courthouse lawn.  They also have locally grown melons.  If you are into shopping, the downtown area is full of vendors.


Stop in at Howell's MainStreet Winery to sample some delicious "Melon Fest" wine and many other wines.  You want a pizza?  They have brick oven pizzas available too!  Hope to see you there!



Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week July 27, 2018 - Winter White Bubbly

The "wine in the blue bottle" known as "Winter White" also comes in a Champagne-like style.  The bottle isn't blue, but the wine tastes practically similar just with bubbles.  The "Winter White Bubbly" from Leelanau Cellars is Crisp, fruity, light and bubbly with all of the flavors you love from "Winter White."


While visiting the winery in Northport we found out the only way to get this style of "Winter White" is to purchase it from the winery.  This wine was running low on selection when we visited on July 1.  This winery is quite remote, situated on Suttons Bay and Lake Michigan they make a wide spectrum of world-class wine.  Everything is sourced from their vineyards and they have a wine for anyone.


I haven't tried, but you may be able to order wine they only sell in-house by calling them.  Leelanau Cellars is a very beautiful place to see.  Tastings are fun and informative.  I will be updating the post on Leelanau Cellars for next week.  If you get a chance to visit Northwest Michigan it will totally be worth a visit to this fantastic winery.


In the meantime keep drinking amazing Michigan Wine and if you have any wines you want reviewed please make a comment below!

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