WTN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

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WTN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:36 am

Michigan Rieslings
17 August 2013

This tasting was arranged by John Trombley to showcase Michigan rieslings, which John speaks very highly of. This was my first tasting of riesling from this region, in fact I had only tasted a couple of USA rieslings before. The tasting showcased the diversity of styles being produced in the region and the mini verticals highlighted vintage variations. (Note: if you click on a photo it will display full size).

JT in Rieslng heaven.JPG
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Unless stated otherwise, I am pretty sure the Michigan wines are all from Old Mission Peninsula (OMP). Please correct me if I am wrong.

I've also noted the Riesling Taste Profile (RTP) as indicated on the label when present. The RTP is meant to take into consideration residual sugar (RS), titratable acidity (TA) and pH to work out where the wine should be on the scale, but the bottom line of the 'rules' states the winemaker can change the point if he is not happy when the calculation places it. It's all about taste perception. You can read more about this scale on http://drinkriesling.com.

All of the Rieslings were 'bomb decanted' and poured back through a funnel into the bottle. You will note there are a couple of ring-ins for good measure.

Personally I would like to see more use of screwcaps. Only four Michiganders had screwcaps and of the remaining wines, one was corked but fortunately a second bottle had been supplied. For those who didn’t recognise cork taint, I think it was an interesting exercise to compare the tainted and pristine versions of the same wine.

As Neil (my better half) made the effort to make some notes I've added those too.

Black Star Farms Arcturos Riesling Dry 2011
Screwcap. 12% alc. RTP: Dry
Wet potter's clay on the nose. Very dry to the taste but with nicely rounded edges. Citrus tending towards lime with a touch of honeysuckle florals and ginger on the finish.
Neil: Slightly floral, jasmine nose. Green apple and yellow melon.

Framingham Classic Riesling 1997 – Marlborough, NZ
13% alc.
Golden orange-tinged yellow. Rich honey nose with underlying acidity still apparent when tasted. Orange honey heading towards marmalade. Very smooth with light viscosity to the texture. Peaked but still enjoyable.
Neil: Bronzy colour. Caramel, slightly kero nose. Orange. A little bready. Good length.

Two Lads Winery Fouch Vineyard Riesling 2012
Screwcap. 11.5% alc.
There's a subtle soapy nuance to the floral perfume while a touch of sweetness makes this very charming to the taste. Honeysuckle, lemon, lime blossoms and apple with a light spritzy nature to the texture. Very appealing.
Neil: Lemon, lemon zest nose. Spicy, tangelo flavours. Good finish.

Two Lads Winery Fouch Vineyard Riesling 2011
Screwcap. 11.5% alc.
Delicate honeysuckle floral and citrus perfume but there is more obvious acidity than in the 2012 and while it seems dry with its racy acid backbone, the smidgen of sweetness rounds it out and balances the finish nicely.
Neil: Pale yellow. Delicate floral nose. Crisp with lemon zest and tangelo. Very good.

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Wines 1-4
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Chateau Chantal Semi-Dry Riesling 2012
11.5% alc. RTP: Med Dry.
Apples are profound on the nose and the taste is light, fresh and just off dry with an intriguing hint of anise-like herbs (tarragon, etc). The finish is juicy with some citrus notes coming through. I think this would be a very consumer-friendly lunchtime / aperitif wine.
Neil: Pale yellow. Talc nose. Very dry with passionfruit and green apple.

Brys Estate Dry Riesling 2012
12% alc.
Some potter's clay nuances to the scent, but surprisingly sweet on first tasting given that the label states 'dry'. Apple, clay and a sour citrus finish, and a slightly reductive 'struck match' character. Some viscosity to the texture and a punch of acidity at the end.
Neil: Pale lemon. Restrained slightly floral nose. Bit sugary, honey, a little powdery.

Chateau Grand Traverse Lot 49 2008
11% alc with an RTP pointer that sits in between medium sweet and sweet and the honey on the nose is in line with this. But there is so much fresh acid in here it seems nowhere as sweet as the pointer would suggest. It is more in what Kiwi winemakers call the 'classic' style, moderate sugar balanced by high acidity to give an off-dry-to-medium impression to the wine. But the acidity seems to drop away and the finish is a little flat with butter toffee notes coming through.
Neil: Lemon, honey, lemon juice nose. Lime jubes, lemon honey flavours.

Chateau Grand Traverse Lot 49 2009
9.4% alc. RTP: Med Dry. This label also lists residual sugar 26.3g/l, TA 10.2g/l and pH 3. These figures are nice to see.
From the info provided I am expecting a high acid wine and that's what I get. The bouquet is soapy floral and the acidity is fresh and invigoratingly racy giving a dry aspect to the initial impression but with a wonderfully honed honey apple note coming through, this Riesling has lots of appeal. The future for this wine looks exciting but it still needs time.
Neil: Jasmine nose. Crisp, dry, high acid. Lemon Juice. Honey finish.

Chateau Grand Traverse Dry Riesling 2011
12% alc. RTP: Dry
Now we have a swag of apples again. Apples, guava and a honey layer. Overall moderately dry.
Neil: Light Yellow. Orange juice & lime nose. Spice apples, green apple skin and a touch of honey on the finish.

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Wines 5-9
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Chateau Grand Traverse Whole Cluster Riesling 2012 'Eclectic' range
Screwcap. 12% alc. RTP: Med Dry
Apples and a very subtle hint of pineapple. Dry gravelly phenolics then a burst of tropical guava. Intriguing. Some similar traits to the previous without apples being the dominant fruit character.
Neil: Lemon yellow. Slightly floral, orange blossom nose. Green apples, lemon. Bit short on finish.

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Left Foot Charley Seventh Hill Vineyard 2010
11.5% alc. 9g/l TA. 2.6% RS. RTP: < Med Dry.
This has a beguiling but delicate scent of citrus blossoms and honey nuances abound in the palate with an earthy note coming through at the end and bright lemon herb notes too. Moderate weight but a slightly detracting sour note as the flavours linger.
Neil: Light yellow. Lemon blossom nose Very dry and crisp, lemon/lime juice. Big acid on finish.

Left Foot Charley Seventh Hill Vineyard 2011
11.5% alc. 9g/l TA. 2.6% RS. RTP: Medium.
Fresh with racy acidity, there is richness to the texture and some tingly prickly notes on the tongue. Very bright with apple skin phenolics.
Neil: Pale. Floral jasmine nose. Spicy, very dry, lime juice.

Bower Harbor Vineyards Block 11 Riesling 2012
12% alc. RTP: between Dry & Med Dry.
Now this is completely different. There's a slightly soapy floral character, a little spice – ginger perhaps, anise like herbs, heritage apples and more. There's a hint of honey in the background, a sherbet brightness and a long gravelly finish.
Neil: Light yellow. Lightly spicy, floral nose. Green spice, lemon juice, orange, apple.

Vinothek Nikolaihof Wachau Gruner Veltliner 1993
12.5% alc.
Another ring-in, this time a biodynamic certified wine from Austria. The colour is light yellow gold – very youthful looking for its 20 year age. It's a little buttery on the nose and the texture is soft and buttery in the palate – John's descriptor 'apple butter' comes to mind. At first there is just a smidgen of the peppery spices we want to see in GV – but they become more forward as the wine opens up. There's a 'sucking on a river stone' character too. A treat to try even though it is past its prime.
Neil: Caramel and a touch of orange on nose. Oxidised, little bitter. Melons, apple juice.

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Wines 11-14
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All in all a fascinating tasting. Thanks John!

Cheers,
Sue
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Re: TN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Howie Hart » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:05 am

Thanks for posting Sue and Neil. Too bad I had to miss this.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Re: TN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:20 pm

Great notes on wines I will never come across! Congrats to Michigan wineries!
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Re: TN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Tom N. » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:14 pm

Thanks Sue,

Thanks for your tasting notes. Michigan makes some very nice rieslings. At least one version of Lot 49 made Jancis Robinson's wine of the week a few months ago. Quite an honor.
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Re: TN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:45 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Great notes on wines I will never come across! Congrats to Michigan wineries!


A few weeks ago I could have said the same thing, Bob, so never say, "never". Who knows what the wine future holds!

Cheers,
Sue
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Re: TN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:48 pm

Tom N. wrote:Thanks Sue,

Thanks for your tasting notes. Michigan makes some very nice rieslings. At least one version of Lot 49 made Jancis Robinson's wine of the week a few months ago. Quite an honor.


I wonder if it was the 2009 Lot 49. That was one of the standout wines for me.
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Re: WTN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:57 pm

I was impressed with the overall quality of the Michigan Rieslings but didn't take notes so they began to run together in my mind. I would say there were about six that I would happily purchase if they were available in local outlets. On the corked wine there was definitely a difference between bottles. I have recognized TCA taint when it delivers a heavy musty cardboard scent but did not recognize the somewhat more subtle signs picked up by the Courtneys. It was nice to have the opportunity to meet Sue and Neil in person.
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Re: WTN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Lou Kessler » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:53 pm

I remember John T when German rieslings were the only rieslings he would drink or write about. I'm sorry there isn't better distribution of some of the Michigan wines, would like to try a few.
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Re: WTN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby JuliaB » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:31 pm

Sue,
You have regaled us with some wonderful tasting notes from your visit to MoCool! Regarding Mich. wines, I am not surprised to learn Ch. Gran Traverse Lot 49, was a favorite. This is the one Jancis Robinson featured in her Purple Pages earlier in the year.

It was a delight to meet you and Neil. It is such a whirlwind weekend, I regret we didn't have more time to sit and "gos" (as Celia would say). Glad you enjoyed the various tastings in Niagara and at MoCool. Perhaps we'll get you back one day!

Cheers!
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Re: WTN: Mostly Michigan Rieslings (Pre Mocool)

Postby Gary Kahle » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:33 pm

Sue thanks for posting your notes. I’m pretty high on many of the white wines from Michigan and maybe a bit biased as I’m moving to the Traverse City area in a couple weeks and have become friends with several of the best wine makers there. CGT Lot 49 has been one of my favorites for several years now. The sweetness (or lack of) makes it very interesting. The LFC 7th hill is another fav but I find it needs some time to show well. Actually, my overall favorite wine from MI is the Pinot Blanc from Left Foot Charley. Coming from a 1 acre vineyard, distribution and available will always be an issue. I guess anyone interested in the better limited production wines from this area will need to visit me next year. :)
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