September: The Month for Pinot Noir

We would like to declare September as Pinot Noir month. To us it seems to be the perfect early fall weather wine. Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, baked squash, apples, and everything else that signifies the onset of autumn make us think of this variety.  As a medium-bodied red it is the perfect choice to accompany many fall inspired recipes. We recommend roasted turkey, duck, or pheasant paired with wild rice and butternut squash on the side.

Winemaker Lee Lutes’ passion for Pinot Noir shows in the four different varieties we have on sale. Those include, 2007 A Capella Pinot Noir, the 2007 Isidor’s Choice Pinot Noir, the 2008 Arcturos Pinot Noir, and the newly released 2009 Pinot Noir. We are currently offering a 20% off on both the Isidor’s Choice and the 2009 Pinot Noir. Call 231.944.1270 to order or order on-line and enter PNSALE in the special instructions link.

The 2007 A Capella Pinot Noir was also recently reviewed on thetastespot.com. View the short review:

Cab Franc: A Winner

The stars have been aligned for us this month.  Our 2008 Arcturos Cabernet Franc was the overall winner in this year’s Harding’s Cup Challenge, beating out other Michigan Cab Francs as well as a couple of French challengers.

Check out what Michigan by the Bottle had to say about the competition.

We Can Ship to Texas

Do you live in Texas and love our wines? If so, we can now ship to you from way up here in Michigan. We are excited  to finally share our wines with our fans in Texas. Please let us know if we can assist you with the ordering process.

New Vibe on the Old Mission Peninsula

The wine industry on the Old Mission Peninsula continues to grow in all of the right directions.  Read more about it in this great article by Sandra Silfven at the Detroit News.  Be sure to view the video as well to learn more from some of the key players involved.

New vibe on Old Mission with more wineries, high quality | detnews.com | The Detroit News.

2010 Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition

  

With three Best of Class trophies and a total of seven gold and double gold medals at the recent 2010 Michigan Wine Competition winemaker Lee Lutes is buzzing with excitement. He is proud to be part of a team of individuals that made these awards possible.

“So often in this business the winemaker gets all of the credit when really the credit needs to be distributed to everyone involved in organization. I would like to personally thank all of our staff at Black Star Farms for their supported efforts around these wines. In addition we would like to express appreciation to the growers who consistently produce high quality fruit for us.”recep1

Top award winners from Black Star Farms include:

  • Best of Class Dry White: Black Star Farms - 2009 Arcturos Pinot Gris
  • Best of Class Semi-Dry White: Black Star Farms - 2009 Arcturos Riesling
  • Best of Class Sparkling Wine: Black Star Farms - 2008 Sparkling Wine
  • Double Gold: 2007 A Capella Pinot Noir

The Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition is sponsored by the recep3Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The competition showcases Michigan wines to highly regarded analysts, winemakers and wine writers in the country. The competition is open only to wines produced from Michigan grapes and other fruit. This year forty-four of the state’s 73 wineries entered a record 399 wines.

Judges included five Master Sommeliers, and internationally known authors, winemakers and wine educators. Leading the group through the day was food and wine writer Christopher Cook, who judged at the competition for 12 years before becoming its superintendent in 2001. Cook is also a judge at wine competitions throughout the United States and abroad.

Wines are judged from dry to sweet and from white to red within sweetness level. Younger vintages precede older ones. Awards include, Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, Bronze and in recep2select years Judges’ Merit. For more information on the awards and judging process visit the Michigan Wine and Grape Council website.

Lee further states that “We are honored to participate in this annual competition that supports us as winemakers, increases the public and trade about our industry as well as being a vehicle that guides the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council in their efforts to promote the quality of Michigan wines.”

A complete list of medal-winning wines is available online at www.michiganwines.com.

Michigan by the Bottle has also produced this great video covering the awards ceremony. The video includes interviews with the winemakers and loads of fun pictures.

 

News from the International Riesling Foundation

For Consumer Education and Convenience…

Riesling Taste Profile Gets High Marks from Trade and Consumers

The Riesling Taste Profile developed by the International Riesling Foundation (IRF) to help consumers predict the taste inside different bottles of Riesling was met with enthusiasm by both the trade and two separate groups of consumers—those who drink Riesling regularly, and those who had tried Riesling in the past but are not now Riesling consumers.

Those findings came from two related market research projects undertaken by Wine Opinions of St. Helena, CA for the IRF, with results presented by John Gillespie at the Riesling Rendezvous conference in Seattle.  The online trade survey involved wholesalers, restaurateurs, retailers, and others, while the two consumer segments were interviewed in online focus groups.  The overall purpose of the studies was to determine current perceptions of Riesling in the United States, its potential for growth, opinions about Rieslings from different regions, and the potential value of the Riesling Taste Profile.

The Riesling Taste Profile was developed to create a standardized, consumer-friendly way of knowing what taste to expect in different bottles of Riesling, from dry to sweet and in between.  This is determined not by natural residual sugar alone, but by its interplay with acid and pH.  Working with wine makers from many countries, with leadership from California wine journalist Dan Berger the IRF developed technical guidelines for four categories (Dry, Medium Dry, Medium Sweet, and Sweet), as well as a simple graphic for consumers to reference on back labels and point of sale materials.  Full information about the Riesling Taste Profile, including downloadable graphics, is available at the IRF web site (www.drinkriesling.com).

 Although only a small portion of the trade respondents had seen it due to its newness, when shown the graphic more than three-quarters (76%) said it would be helpful to consumers when making a purchase decision, and over half (53%) see it as a useful tool for staff in recommending Rieslings to consumers.  This is particularly relevant given the large staff turnover in restaurants especially, but also in retail settings.

Among regular Riesling consumers, the Riesling Taste Profile was well received and considered very helpful, especially for novices not familiar with wine in general and Riesling in particular.  Riesling non-drinkers were on balance positive about the Riesling Taste Profile, but expressed some concerns about the accuracy of the system and the possibility it would cheapen the wine’s image.  However, given that the major barrier to Riesling trial by non-drinkers remains the perception that Riesling is ONLY a sweet white wine, the Riesling Taste Profile was seen by most respondents as a positive contribution to consumer confidence in purchasing.

The IRF Riesling Taste Profile is appearing on more than 15 million bottles of 2009 vintage Riesling in the U.S. market in 2010, with that number expected to grow substantially in future years.  Australia’s Barossa Grape and Wine Association has endorsed the Taste Profile, and many Australian producers are expected to include in on their 2010 vintage wines to be released in the near future.  Winemakers in New Zealand and other countries have also adopted it. 

In some countries like Germany, at present it cannot be used on wines sold domestically, but Schloss Johannisberg has added it to its wines exported to the U.S.  In South Africa, where use on the actual label is also currently prohibited, Paul Cluver Winery is using it on its point-of-sale materials.  Samples of the Riesling Taste Profile’s use are shown on the IRF web site, as is a listing of wineries using it.

Additional major findings of the trade study:

  • Overall, the trade has great regard for Riesling, and understand its special attributes, versatility, and uniqueness.
  • The continuing widespread consumer perception of Riesling as only “a sweet white wine” remains a major barrier which may be overcome by the Riesling Taste Profile and other forms of education.
  • German and Alsatian Rieslings are most respected, with California and Australian wines viewed as the least expensive.
  • Continuing growth is expected due to increased consumer interest in Riesling and greater awareness of dry Riesling.

            Additional conclusions from the consumer focus groups:

  • Riesling drinkers buy various styles of Riesling in all price ranges, and see Riesling at all price points as a good value.
  • Riesling may benefit from the “ABC” movement (Anything But Chardonnay) spurred largely by the aversion to oaky wines.
  • Riesling drinkers consume it for a variety of occasions and at various times of year, especially in warmer seasons; enjoy it with food or along; and appreciate Riesling’s versatility.
  • Alsatian Riesling is highly regarded among Riesling drinkers.

The studies are available for free to “Friends of the Foundation”, and for $495 to others.  Information about becoming a “Friend of the Foundation” is in the “About Us” section of the IRF web site.

The International Riesling Foundation is the only global organization focused around a single grape variety, and includes a distinguished Board of Directors of more than 30 top Riesling producers from Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States (several states).  Its mission is “to increase awareness, trial, and sales of Riesling wines through a comprehensive, integrated system of industry cooperation, research, trade education, and consumer communication.”

Media Contact: Jim Trezise, jimtrezise@nywgf.org, 585-394-3620

Grillin' at the Village

2x2tastes

At TASTES in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons there’s a little bit of the Alpine heaven being offered.  On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings you can reserve a cozy barrel table for 2-6 guests and enjoy the Matterhorn Grill dinner.

Your meal consists of ham, sausages, vegetables and bread that you’ll grill right at your table.  Meanwhile, you’re melting luscious Leelanau Cheese Raclette right under the grill.  When it’s ready, you’ll pour the cheese over the grilled fare.  It’s delicious.  A choice of three flights of wine comes with your meal, and Caren and Kevin are ready to help you choose which one you’ll most enjoy.

We open for tasting at noon, Tuesday through Sunday.  If just reading about the dinner has whetted your appetite, please call for a reservation at 231-944-1349 as seating is limited.  (Sometimes you can talk Kevin into a Tuesday or Wednesday night dinner, too, or a private party.)

Family Farm Dinner in Suttons Bay

Join us at the farm for a casual FAMILY FARM DINNER on the patio at the Hearth and Vine Café on Sunday, July 25 from 6-9pm Featuring foods from our farm and our neighboring farms Just give us a call for info or to let us know you’ll be stopping by! 231.944.1297

Bravo's Top Chef Season 5 Winner Visits Benzonia

We are excited to be a part of the upcoming Grow Benzie summer picnic on their farmstead in Benzonia. The picnic will feature gourmet summer fare prepared by chefs Hosea Rosenberg and Dave Query. Hosea is a chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder, CO as well as the season 5 winner of Top Chef.  Dave is the owner of 7 Colorado restaurants under the umbrella name of Big Red F Restaurant Group. Alongside their fabulous creations we will be serving a selection of our wines including, Arcturos Pinot Gris, Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay and our Red House Red.  

Grow Benzie is a community farmstead dedicated to enriching the lives of Benzie County residents by fostering self reliance through education in agriculture, nutrition, job training and life skills.  Their site is a demonstration and training center for sustainable gardening and is a symbol of hope from both our past and our future.  Their focus is on Growing Healthy Children and Communities, bringing people back to their “roots” of self sufficiency and taking care of each other. 

What an honor to support this organization and share our wines with the community involved in this project!

 For more information please contact the Grow Benzie office at growbenzie@gmail.com.

Big Sale on Black Star Farms Cherry Wine

Cherry harvest has begun and the National Cherry Festival is underway…this calls for a nice chilled glass of good ol’ cherry wine. It is surprisingly refreshing and it pairs well with a multitude of summer inspired recipes. We love it with BBQ ribs, coleslaw and corn on the cob. It is also lovely when mixed with a bubbly and makes a crisp cherry sparkling cocktail.  Yet another use is in salad dressings and marinades…really the possibilities are endless.

In honor of the annual Cherry Festival we are offering a great discount on our Cherry Wine. Already on sale for $8.50 we are offering an additional 20% savings on this delightful wine making it a mere $6.80 a bottle.

Use this coupon to receive your discount. Don’t delay as the coupon expires July 31st!

julycoupon