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Two Outstanding Reds from 2 Lads

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Up until now, much of the burgeoning Michigan wine industry’s reputation has been based on its white wine output, but little by little, quality reds have been catching up to their paler counterparts. Producers such as Wyncroft, Shady Lane, Longview and Circa have been making Pinot Noir and/or variations of the Cabernet theme that have really turned our heads, and a few nights ago, we were knocked out by two from the Old Mission Peninsula winery, 2 Lads. We’ve been impressed with pretty much everything that we’ve tasted from them previously, but Cornel Olivier and Chris Baldyga have really outdone themselves with their ’09 Pinot Noir and ’08 Cab Franc. Here are our impressions of these beauties.

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2009 2 Lads Old Mission Peninsula Pinot Noir, 13% alc., $21.99: Clean, light ruby in color; some subtle earth underscores the varietally-true plum and black cherry aromas, which echo and expand beautifully on a medium bodied frame, showing hints of rhubarb and underbrush that add interest and complexity. With air, nuances reminiscent of coffee and toast emerge to pretty things up even more. This may be relatively light in weight (not at all unusual for Pinot Noir), but not so in intensity of flavor. It has a smooth, silky texture, and while the moderate structure should take this a few years down the road, why wait? The only Michigan Pinot Noirs that comes close to being this good in our experience are some of those from Wyncroft, and they tend to be darker and heftier, needing some years in the cellar to show their best. This one, on the other hand, is drop dead gorgeous right from the get-go. Find this wine

2008 2 Lads Old Mission Peninsula Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alc., $24.99: Clean ruby garnet color, with a pretty blackberry and blueberry nose shaded with subtle spice and floral overtones; the wine takes on a decidedly earthy character in the mouth, rich and yet totally dry, and some toasty, charred oak isn’t as obvious as it is in the previous selection. Medium-full bodied, with very good structure for three -to-five years in the cellar and a finish that lingers quite nicely. Excellent intensity of flavor here, and as with the Pinot, I’m hard pressed to name a better Michigan Cab Franc that we’ve tried; in fact, this may set a benchmark of sorts. I get the sense that this will develop into a lovely, elegant red with time, if you can keep your hands off it now. Very impressive indeed! Find this wine

If anyone tells you that we can’t make excellent red wines in Michigan, give them a glass of either or both of these to prove that they are so wrong. These are world class all the way.

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

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