Monday, March 18, 2019

Michigan Wine: Gamay Noir

The locals call it paradise on a peninsula.  Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula wine region sticks out of the northwestern edge of the state's main body into Lake Michigan.  Situated on the 45th parallel, about the same latitude where one finds Bordeaux, it's a 19-mile spit which juts northward and forms the east and west sides of Grand Traverse Bay.  It's only four miles wide at its broadest point.  They grow wine grapes there.  The blue waters surrounding the land are some 600 feet deep, which produces what they call a "lake effect."  I am told that protects the vines with snow in winter, slows bud break in spring to avoid frost damage, and extends the growing season by up to four weeks.

There's a thriving wine AVA on that strip of land, along with breweries and distilleries.  I've tasted Michigan wines before and found them to be of very high quality, so I had high expectations when the OMP reps sent some of their wines to me for review.  I was not disappointed.

Mari Vineyards Gamay Noir 2017

This wine is made from the grape of Beaujolais, Gamay, but grown on Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula.  It is estate grown and bottled in Traverse City.  The grape was first planted on OMP in the late 1980s. 

The wine has a medium ruby hue and smells of the earth.  Coffee and tea notes dance across dark fruit on the nose and palate.  Acidity is quite fresh and the finish lasts a good while.  Just another fine bottle from a state that really needs to get more recognition for its wines.

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