Archive for July, 2010
I first became aware of Julie Johnson’s Tres Sabores label back during Zap 2003. At that time, they were making quite a splash by operating on the novel model of producing three Zinfandels made by three different winemakers (Karen Culler, Ken Bernards and Rudy Zuidema ), all from the same fruit source. The wines were, by all accounts, quite good, and also quite distinct from each other.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this important beer broadcast. The 2010 Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival has just wrapped up over the weekend and it was another successful showcase of Michigan’s microbrew moxie.
The annual Ypsilanti event featured 50+ home-grown brewers, 60+styles and 400+ beer varieties this year. From statewide heavyweights like Bell’s and Founders, to regional favorites and spunky upstarts – Michigan’s brewers are surely a robust and wiley bunch. On this sticky summer Saturday, the clouds opened, sun shined and our band of hopheads set off into the Ypsilanti afternoon with only our wits and a fist full of wooden nickels.
There’s much to do, see and taste at the Beer Festival and what follows is by no means an exhaustive review of the festival, its offerings or Michigan beers as a whole. I have my beer proclivities – wheat ales, brown ales, IPA’s and Pilsners – and I tasted accordingly. Below are some of the most notable beers we tasted during the day. Read the rest of this entry »
To look at Vision Cellars owner/winemaker Mac McDonald in his overalls and straw hat, one might almost expect to find him singing the blues at The Ark in Ann Arbor, instead of conducting a tasting of his wines at venues such as Shiraz or the Detroit Athletic Club, and his down-home demeanor and laid back drawl do nothing to dissuade one from that notion. In fact, Mac is both a very fine winemaker and a shrewd judge of related matters of terroir, such as soil (he’s been known to actually taste it to determine its quality and viability for growing grapes) and season (he’s allowing for a larger crop this vintage, due to the unusually heavy amount of rainfall that California received during the winter). Read the rest of this entry »
Who might have guessed that, in southern Mendocino County, Cabernet Sauvignon is being produced from vines that came from cuttings originally sourced at Ridge Vineyards’ Jimsomare Ranch. As unlikely as it may sound, it’s true, and while it’s not intentionally kept secret, you probably would never know unless you happened to stumble upon the Rosati Family Wines website or had chance to communicate with Allan Bree aka califusa, who discovered this little known fact during his tireless investigations of all things Ridge.
The Rosati story is a fascinating one. Mario Rosati is a lawyer, and his very first client was Ridge Vineyards. He would go on to serve on Ridge’s Board of Directors for 15 years or more, and became good friends with many of the principals there, including David Bennion. As Mario’s practice grew, he and his wife Danelle bought a 1,500 acre property just across the county line from Sonoma; you literally turn right off the freeway to access their sprawling property. While visiting the Rosatis, Bennion suggested that Cabernet Sauvignon might grow well at the higher elevations, and, in 1987, cuttings from Jimsomare were planted and continue to thrive on Mario’s favorite hilltop setting, at around 900-950 feet above sea level. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, I had the opportunity to try a couple of Italian reds imported by our friends at US Wine Imports in Ann Arbor. As previously reported, US Wine Imports specializes in uncovering and distributing wines from boutique producers from Europe and California, selecting small batches (less than 1000 cases each) that balance quality and value. Both of these are fine examples, as they are very pleasing, both to the palate and the pocketbook. Read the rest of this entry »
Wines to chill down seem to be the best summer sippers given the official heat wave we are presently undertaking and there are several wines under the fifteen dollar mark that fit the bill nicely. The two themes of this release are customer favourites, aka “get excess stock out of the warehouse” and the Cru wines of Beaujolais. Although none of the Beaujolais wines particularly impressed me, I never have been a big fan of Gamay, they are well priced and could provide an interesting and educational tasting. For those that follow highly touted numerically approved Parker wines, all these Beaujolais wines scored exceedingly well.
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A few weeks ago, we had the good fortune and great pleasure to attend a strolling dinner party at Birmingham’s Forest Grill, featuring selected wines from Morgan Winery, located in California’s Santa Lucia Highlands. On hand was Morgan winemaker Gianni Abate to pour and talk about the wines, and Chef Brian Polcyn and Executive Chef David Gilbert prepared a brilliant array of finger foods to enjoy along with the wines. We’ve made no secret of our great pleasure in past visits to the Forest Grill, and are especially pleased that our dear friend, Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi is now directing the wine program there. Claudia made sure that we knew about the event in advance, and having some experience both tasting and selling Morgan wines in the past, this was one we weren’t going to miss. Read the rest of this entry »