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Thanks for the post, Shannon. I agree that the trend of producing un-oaked Chardonnays is good for Michigan, as this is a fruit that grows reasonably well here and is recognizable to almost everyone as a varietal. However, I would suggest that many of Michigan's traditional (oak-aged) Chardonnays, particularly those from Leelanau (Bel Lago, Chateau Fontaine, BSF and others), can stand up to almost anything California is producing. Those of us who enjoy a nice glass of Chardonnay probably don't look at the traditional presentation as "chewing on an oak tree," nor do the winemakers producing these excellent wines. The Sur Lie method is simply a welcome addition to the many ways to enjoy this diverse grape, not a replacement. Thanks again for your support of Michigan wines. Keep up the good work!
First of all, I'm glad you had a good time at Jolly Pumpkin, one of the many reasons why Michigan has quickly gained a national reputation for high-quality craft beers. If you're in the Ann Arbor area in late July, you might consider attending the Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti, which features over 200 Michigan craft beers. I thought I'd post a couple of notes in response to your comments about Michigan wines. While it's certainly true that the climate in the Napa Valley is much better suited to growing Zinfandel and Cabernet Savignon, it's a mistake to discount the quality of red wines in Michigan without first giving them a try. From my experience, Michigan winemakers have worked hard researching combinations of grapes that grow well in a climate influenced heavily by the Great Lakes and are producing a number of rich, flavorful red wines. If you have the means, I recommend sampling Black Star Farms' Leore Vineyard Cab Franc/Merlot, Bel Lago's Tempesta, Brys Estate's Signature Red, Fenn Valley's Meritage, or a number of Cab Franc variations from throughout the state. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. As for Michigan whites being "okay," you might take a glance at the long list of awards (in locales from California to Europe) that have been bestowed upon Michigan wines over the past 10 years. If you're interested in more, a quick Web search will turn up articles from publications like the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, Wine Spectator and more discussing not only the quality of Michigan wines, but the stunning beauty that surrounds our vineyards and wineries. I'd be happy to help point you in the right directions when you plan your visit to Michigan wine country. Drop me a note on Twitter and we'll get started. Cheers! Nick Nerbonne Traverse City, MI
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Jun 21, 2010