Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Much more than "Detroit Rock City" | February 3, 2010

Sitting around, as I’ve been known to do with some aptitude, I caught myself thinking (which I haven’t been known to do, according to the wife, among others). As my mind wandered, I settled upon Michigan. I don’t know. Maybe it was the Iggy Pop coming through my headphones. “But Joe, why wasn’t KISS coming out of those headphones? You mentioned their song in your title, huh?” C’mon. Turn off that horrible “Rock and Roll All Nite” and strap into some Iggy and the Stooges…maybe “Funhouse”. Detroit will be proud (and KISS isn’t even from Detroit anyway…common mistake. In fact, I added this point later).

So, moving beyond the great music hailing from the Wolverine State, I pondered, “What else from Michigan is great?”…..[dream sequence, perhaps]:
Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team (otherwise known as actor George Peppard) hailed from the Great Lakes State.
Love it when a plan comes together? Then you might just love Michigan too.
Bozo the Clown. Although we all remember Bozo’s show as kids-watching on Chicago’s WGN- Bozo, aka Bob Bell, hailed from Flint, Michigan.
Man, I totally could’ve gotten the ball into that sixth bucket. All those kids were a bunch of uncoordinated hacks.
Amigo Scooters. These Bridgeport, Michigan exports are THE first word in geriatric transportation and top choice of my grandfather (who spent many years in Saginaw, no less)
Cocoa Krispies. The crown prince of breakfast cereals is a product of the Kellogg’s Company, based out of Battle Creek, MI.
Are they good for you? Damn right. They’re cereal, aren’t they?

Kristen Bell. If I were president, I would have to seriously consider Detroit’s Bell for Secretary of the Adorable. Yes, that’s a real office. How do you think Dick Cheney got into politics?
Anyway, I’m still trying to figure out how that nincompoop in the movie managed to forget Sarah Marshall. And I’m really thrilled I finally worked “nincompoop” into a post.
Matthew Stafford. Okay, not originally a Michigan product, but we had to have a Georgia-Michigan connection here.
That being said, the current Lions quarterback and former Dawgs signal-caller is clearly not flattered by his nomination. The girl? Clearly impressed.
La-Z-Boy Recliners. I’ve got one thing to say to you, Monroe, Michigan: My ass thanks you. If not for your product, there’s a good chance I’d be in shape, and no one would take anything I say about food or wine seriously.

Wine. Fine, vitis vinifera wine.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too. But, apparently, they’ve been making wine for a while in Michigan, and doing it well. Besides, I’ve seen surprisingly drinkable wines come out of Georgia, and if that can be done, then I suppose it can be done anywhere. So, thanks to local wine evangelists like Shannon Casey of Michigan by the Bottle, and especially to Michigan wineries like Black Star Farms (who, DISCLAIMER-worthy, provided me the 2 bottles in this post as samples), I was ready to tuck in. Both of the following wines come from Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula AVA (one of 4 in the state). The latitude is suited for cool climate varieties (such as Riesling and Cabernet Franc), but the peninsula- being surrounded by water- helps prevent frost.

2008 Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling. Didn’t know what to think at first…it seemed very tight, and I felt like I was going to have to say bad things, ruining the good vibe I’d started about Michigan up above. Fortunately, things opened up, and what began as a somewhat tight nose developed into vibrant aromas of lime, apple, minerals, and- more than anything- maybe mandarin oranges or orange blossom (Florida folks- help me out with that one). It was almost like at Torrontés. The Black Star website says “gooseberries”…maybe that was it. Whatever it was, it slapped me in the olfactories in a pleasing way.
In the mouth, I thought the flavors got a little hollow in the mid-palate (that means it lacked flavor after a couple seconds in my mouth). I’m wondering if the vines from whence the fruit came were young, thus needing more time to gain complexity. However, what this wine didn’t lack at all was acidity. Ripping acidity. A signature of fine Riesling; a characteristic of cold-climate grape growing; a fast friend of food (yes, it was good with the food I was eating. What kind of food? Who cares?! Good Riesling’s great with any food). Furthermore, the pleasant pucker balanced the .9% residual sugar, which offered just a hint of sweetness. I’d heard good things about Michigan Riesling, and I wasn’t pissed with this one. I’d like to get a little more info about the age and yield of the vines, however.

2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Cabernet Franc. I have no explanation, but this grape seems to pop up in all the lesser-known wine growing regions in the U.S. It’s sort of like “bat boy”…where will he turn up next?!

Anyway, this 100% Cab Franc is comprised of 75% Old Mission Peninsula fruit and 25% Leelanau Peninsula product. The incredibly fruit-forward nose punched me in the nose, but I knows my nose and “no’s” turned to “yes”…okay, I’m stopping that right now. Anyway, there was nice dark fruit, some green pepper elements, a touch of oaky vanilla, and a sort of “cheesy” aroma that I often get from French Loire valley Cab Francs (Saumur in particular) and Gamay-based wines from Beaujolais. In the mouth, I really liked this wine. The flavors were- again- a little thin to me in the mid-palate, but what I really dug was the burly tannin structure. Made me not hesitate to imagine this one with a nice roast chicken, or even a steak. And, I’ll even go so far as to say you could lay this one down for a couple years.
So, in conclusion, my wandering mind led me to two ironclad revelations:
1) Folks need to at least try some Michigan wines. Check out Michigan by the Bottle and/or Black Star Farms to get started. Then, try something from another state that you don’t see everywhere. Missouri. Virginia. Texas. Georgia. Get weird with it.
2) I’ve confirmed my suspicion that there are officially nine good things to come out of Michigan, including the surprising wines and Mr. Pop.
I kid, I kid. But in all seriousness, keep making this wine, Michigan, and they’ll be plenty of great stuff coming out of your state…in 750 ml bottles. Sláinte!

Leave a Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: