It’s that time of year again! April is Michigan Wine Month, and I always like to take this opportunity to try new wines from our Great Lakes State. This month, I re-tasted some wines from one of my favorite wineries, Left Foot Charley.
Named in homage to a childhood nickname, Left Foot Charley is Bryan Ulbrich, a winemaker who wanted to concentrate on highlighting the terroir of Michigan. It was easy to convince local farmers that shared his passion to come aboard for the ride. In wine speak, we call them vineyard designated wines. As the Beckstoffer Vineyard is to the Napa Valley Appellation, Seven Hill Farm Vineyard is to the Old Mission Peninsula Appellation–without the hefty price tag. Bryan and his team take time and care to select the right grapes from the right vineyard site before bottling. With spring upon us, their whites are perfect for picnics, grad parties and patio sunbathing.
Left Foot Charley Dry Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, MI 2012
Notes of lime zest, quince, and subtle stone fruit are found with a bright minerality. With balanced acidity, this Riesling is terrific for creamy, cold summer soups or salty snacks.
Left Foot Charley Pinot Gris Tail Feathers Vineyard, Old Mission Peninsula, MI 2011
A bit weightier than the Rieslings, this Pinot Gris shows more earthy complexity, with notes of dew, melon, and pear. I always think Pinot Gris is a perfect food wine. With ripe fruit up front and crisp acidity, it can stand up to a lot of big flavors. Try this one with our blue cheese and pear salad or with Mediterranean foods like grape leaves.
Left Foot Charley Missing Spire Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, MI 2012
The room fills with scents of white flowers, peaches and honey once you swirl this late-harvest treat around in a glass. Tropical fruit reveals itself as the layers develop, but the acidity keeps the sweetness in check, making this an outstanding pairing for spicy Asian cuisine or a fresh peach dessert.
2012 was an excellent vintage in Michigan, and that is good to note for all Michigan wines. Snatch up these tasty whites while they are still available! I highly recommend visiting Left Foot Charley’s Tasting Room at the old Northern Michigan Asylum, now known as The Village. It is a unique place to spend the day, and they might just have some delicious “tasting-room only” wines to try!