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Black Star Farms Bubbly Twitter Tasting Ends On A Flat Note

Tuesday evening, Black Star Farms hosted a Twitter Tasting to showcase two of their new Sparkling Wine releases, with winemaker Lee Lutes and Coryn Briggs, winery promotions coordinator leading the virtual tasting. Kim and I enjoyed the sparklers we tried with Lee last November, so we ponied up for the two bottles as soon as we heard about the event, and invited our good friends Sharlan Douglas and Scott “The Geek” Tobias to join us in the festivities. Kim prepared a delightful Autumnal dinner, and when 7:30 PM rolled around, we logged on to the proceedings. Kim posted as @gangofpour, Shar posted under her own name and I posted as my alter ego, @DonCoyote99. Scott voiced his usual cryptic comments as he saw fit. Among those also participating were Shannon and Cortney Casey of Michigan by the Bottle and Andrew McFarlane, manager of marketing and communications of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association. We got things started with a little razzle-dazzle.

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2009 Black Star Farms Old Mission Peninsula Be Dazzled Dry Bubbly White Wine 12% alc., $12.50: Primarily a blend of Pinot Noir (the biggest component), Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Chardonnay; 3rd vintage produced. Pale, peachy salmon color, with a nice active bead; nice richness to the red apple and peach flavors. Extra dry in style, medium bodied, with great acidity and intensity. One online taster added a descriptor of “kiwi,” and I wouldn’t disagree. Killer QPR, and great with baked chicken, Brussels sprouts and bacon and a cheddar bacon stuffed pumpkin. find this wine

The second offering created something of a mild controversy, at least among the four of us at Gang Central. Here’s why.

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2010 Black Star Farms Old Mission Peninsula Bubbly Nouveau, 7% alc., $12.50: Black Star Farms Coryn Briggs explained that their “vision for this is Moscato D’Asti,” intended as an aperitif or dessert wine. These grapes were on the vine 8 weeks ago; it weighs in at approximately 4% residual sugar and is comprised of 80% Cayuga and 20% Muscat, harvested then fermented for a short time and bottled. She described it as “a new wine meant to celebrate the harvest and vintage,” and said that 250 cases each of both it and Be Dazzled were produced. (Interestingly, both also employ bottle caps rather than corks.)

Pale in color, this shows a decent explosion of bubbles when first poured, but then just goes limp; as Shar put it, “You shot your wad when you poured this, then the bubbles were countable.” While it does show decent acidity, the effervescence is all but nonexistent in our bottle. Flavors garner such impressions as apricot (this taster), bubblegum and lemon (Scott “The Geek”), honeyed apple (Shar) and honeydew (Lee). Scott also finds it cloying, while I think it stops just short of that. find this wine

As we tasted this, a lively online conversation ensued. Here’s a transcript of pertinent comments from our particular point of view:

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
Nouveau is rich in flavor but almost flat with flaccid bead at best~Very little bubble action #bsfbubbly

farlanewastaken Andrew McFarlane
@DonCoyote99 Lee asks “Are pouring into a champagne flute?” #bsfbubbly

DrinkerOfWine Jim Brownrigg
RT @DonCoyote99: Nouveau is rich in flavor but almost flat with flaccid bead at best~Very little bubble #bsfbubbly <- lots of bubbles here

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
@farlanewastaken Yes, flutes #bsfbubbly

tweetandtastemi Tweet and Taste Mi (Shannon Casey)
The Bubbly Nouveau has much less bubbleage (new word!) #Bsfbubbly

aschie30 Wendy Aeschlimann
@DonCoyote99 I agree that the bubbles are flaccid in the glass #bsfbubbly

farlanewastaken Andrew McFarlane
@DonCoyote99 Lee says “It’s not meant to be sparkling wine – it’s ‘new wine’ loaded with the flavors of fermentation” #bsfbubbly

gangofpour Gang of Pour
Little too sweet for me but I understand what it is meant to be. #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
Decent acids but the lack of bubbles in our bottle is troubling #bsfbubbly

gangofpour Gang of Pour
@DonCoyote99 Didn’t Lee say it’s not meant to be a bubbly? #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
@gangofpour It’s not even effervescent #bsfbubbly

sharlandouglas sharlandouglas
The nouveau has a honied quality which would be nicely offset by more bubbles. #bsfbubbly

farlanewastaken Andrew McFarlane
@DonCoyote99 This is just me – I have stopped thinking of it as a sparkling and I’m loving the understated bubbles. #bsfbubbly

bstar2009 Black Star Farms
@sharlandouglas Lee is shaking his head in agreement #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
@farlanewastaken No “understated bubbles” in our bottle~If it’s not intended as a bubbly, why is it in a bubbly tasting?! #bsfbubbly

farlanewastaken Andrew McFarlane
@DonCoyote99 Lee says “It’s a lightly effervescent seasonal wine – a celebration of the fall harvest” #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
@ @farlanewastaken Understood, but again, ours isn’t effervescent~Off bottle? #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
Last year’s model was much fizzier #bsfbubbly

farlanewastaken Andrew McFarlane
@DonCoyote99 I don’t have bubbles at this point, but it still has that bubbly mouthfeel. #bsfbubbly

farlanewastaken Andrew McFarlane
@DonCoyote99 Lee says “The drawn out 2010 harvest means it was bottled a little later, hence low fizz” #bsfbubbly

sharlandouglas sharlandouglas
@ @farlanewastaken In my business we call that “spin.” #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
@farlanewastaken OK, gotcha, said all I’m going to on this one #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99 Don Coyote
Consensus here is thumbs-up on the Be Dazzled – Pass on the Nouveau #bsfbubbly

bstar2009 Black Star Farms
@ @doncoyote99 that’s wine for you, everyone’s tastes are diff. we appreciate your participation! #bsfbubbly

Not to belabor the point, but if, as Lee claimed, “It’s not meant to be sparkling wine,” then why is it labeled “Bubbly,” and why was it in a sparkling wine tasting hashtaggeded “#bsfbubbly?!” To be fair, as many or more tasters had very positive comments about the wine as there were those of us who were critical; I have no doubt that, like last year, it will sell out quickly.

Many thanks to Lee and Coryn for hosting the tasting and to Andy for acting as a kind of unofficial moderator. If we were a bit too pointed in our questions about the second selection, it’s only because we felt the questions needed to be asked, and no offense or disrespect was intended. For a full transcript of the proceedings, click here.

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

Related posts:

  1. Tasting Leelanau: Black Star Farms
  2. Ridge Notes from the Tasting Note Closet
  3. Mionetto Prosecco Brut ~ A Nice Bubbly for Daily Drinking

4 Responses to “Black Star Farms Bubbly Twitter Tasting Ends On A Flat Note”

  • We getting nice information through this blog.
    It’s Greate and Very Helpful.
    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  • George Heritier:

    Thanks for the feedback, Lee. As the transcript shows, in the course of the tasting, I tweeted (as DonCoyote99) that it might have been an off bottle. We wanted to like it, but it was just too lacking in the effervescence department. We’re all for alternative bottle closures, and the odd failure with this cap is quite understandable.



  • So sorry that some of you found this wine sufficiently lacking to call it “flat”! Though it was never intended to carry the bubble that our BeDazzled does, it also should not have come up lacking the presence of any CO2. The best reason for the crown-cap is money saving and expediency, but it’s shortfall is that it occasionally does not “set” well, and can release a little pressure. I have wondered whether you received a bottle that went a little flat as a result of a disfunctional cap? In our release of this product, we have had no comments along this line, so would encourage you to try another bottle – however, don’t wait too long, as we’ll be out of it in another 2-3 weeks. It’s great with Turkey, by the way! We always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks – Lee

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