Tuesday night may well have seen more Michigan wine being consumed in the state of Texas than there ever has been before. Okay, so I have no idea if that is true or not, but what I can tell you that this was the most Michigan wine that has ever been enjoyed at my place. I invited a couple of my Texan friends to partake in the tasting, after all, I am a generous guy. Not only do I freely share my wine with my vino amigos, I also have a slightly less endearing tendency to share my opinion. Here are my impressions on the wines that we tasted last night:
2008 Shady Lane Cellars Dry Riesling
The first thing that jumps out at me on this wine, is the tiny bubbles that were covering the glass. The wine is slightly fizzy with a light straw color. The nose serves up aromas of apricot and granny smith apples, as well as a touch of soap aroma. On the palate, I get even more sour apples, pretty tart, with some big acid. I also get some minerality on the finish. The acid lingers on the palate for a while.
I think that this is an enjoyable dry Riesling, not overly complex, but pretty easy drinking and food friendly. At $15 I think it is worth a try.
2007 Shady Lane Cellars Pinot Noir
The color on this Pinot is a nice transparent redish purple. On the nose, I get a whiff of a freshly torched crème brûlée, as well as some candied cherries and strawberry. The palate has some nice acidity and more cherry and red fruit. I don't get a lot of the earthiness that you sometimes find in Pinot Noir; I'm getting more of the fruitiness on this wine, but the acidity really appeals to me. I think that this is another food friendly offering from Shady Lane.
I am a sucker for a nice Pinot Noir, and I think this is an enjoyable take on the variety. At $22 I would probably purchase this one again.
2008 Shady Lane Cellars Blue Franc
I'm going to jump the gun, and say that I think that this wine was the real star of the night for me. I have absolutely no experience with Lemberger, or Blue Franc, or Blaufrankish, so this was a treat. The color is deep, deep, deep, purple. On the nose I get lots of black pepper, some smoke, and some herbal notes, as well as some nice blueberry. On the palate I get some more pepper, some cigar box cedar action, as well as more outstanding blueberry components. The finish is long and complex, with cola flavors that last into next week. This wine improves a lot with some air, so I definitely recommend letting it breathe a bit before diving in. There are also some nice tannins at play here that make me think that you could lay this one down in the cellar for a little while and it should just get stronger.
Even at $22, I would definitely buy this wine in the future. I found myself hoping that Adam would extend his $.01 shipping deal so that I could justify the purchase of some more of this wine to my wife. I highly recommend this one to anyone who gets a chance to buy some.
I really enjoyed tasting these wines. I thought that these wines got stronger as we went through the lineup, and no, I don't think it was because I got more sauced as the evening went on. All of the wines are worth trying, but I was more and more enthusiastic with each bottle that we tried. If you were going to buy one, I would recommend the Blue Franc, but I also thought that the Pinot was some good juice as well, and the Riesling was also a decent pour. All in all, I thought that Adam Satchwell and Shady Lane Cellars did a great job of representing Michigan wine, and I came away from the event interested in trying more from this region.
If you aren't already, you should really be reading/watching Michigan by the Bottle. Shannon and Courtney Casey have a great thing going with their video podcasts. I love the enthusiasm that they show for Michigan wine, and they are always fun and interesting to watch.
Note: These wines were provided as samples for review by Shady Lane Cellars.