Wine Tasting and Reviews of White Wines

Wine Tasting
Ca’ De’ Medici White Lambrusco

Winery: Ca’ De’ Medici
Brand/Type: White Lambrusco
Vintage: n/a
Country: Italy
Region: Reggio Emilia
Alcohol content: 7%
Closure: Natural cork
Appearance: Very pale straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Musty grapes and strawberries.

Lambrusco. The name alone for many over the age of 40, conjures up memories of discos full of sweat and polyester – Wide lapel wearing lounge lizards hitting on free love disco dollies. Lambrusco was indeed a popular drink of that era. A sweet red wine that seemed to give the drinker a (false) sense of sophistication and still get their date drunk. Hindsight is 20-20 and Lambrusco has not been seen in a good light for many years.

So it was with special intrigue that this writer felt awkwardly embarrassed to purchase this wine. Luckily the clerk was far too young to make any association with my purchase.

Our review is of Ca’ De’ Medici’s White Lambrusco. A semi-sweet sparkling white Lambrusco. Yes, that is correct. A sparkling, white, Lambrusco. This is an uncommon find.

Ca’ De’ Medici is a small producer especially when compared to better known Riunite. Ca’ De’ Medici wines are crafted, not mass produced. Their production is 3 million liters compared to 132 million. Our bottle was proof of that. The wine tasted of sweet ripe berries but not overwhelmingly sweet as you might expect. Instead it showed good structure and a tart finish. Of course the carbonation takes the sweet edge off.

Perfect for desert or the patio; celebrate something special! Go ahead and drink this without shame, the past is forgotten.

Wine Tasting
Peter Mertes Spatlese Riesling

Winery: Peter Mertes
Brand/Type: Spatlese Riesling
Vintage: N/A
Country: Germany
Region: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Alcohol content: 9%
Closure: Synthetic
Appearance: Pale straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Pears, peaches, apricot

This being a non-vintage bottling with the label boasting the distinction of being “privatekellerei” or private cellar seemed a bit odd. This combined with a very low price; we didn’t hold many positive expectations. Sometimes Germany floods the market with cheap, poor quality Rieslings that give both the grape and Germany a black eye with many wine drinkers. This however is not one of those…

Happily this wine was quite a pleasant surprise; expecting a cheap, syrupy sweet wine with little if any character, instead we found it to be a nicely complex, off dry, that paired well with seafood, salads, and even Thai! It also lends itself to drinking it alone without a meal just as well.

Peter Mertes has produced a very good, low priced wine. Despite being a later harvest, this Spatlese isn’t overly sweet like many Spatlese’s tend to be. It has a perfectly punctuated sweet note, but only a very short one on the initial taste. After that first impression you discover the pear flavors that dissolve into a light lemon finish that was bright and clean. The acidity and mineral is nearly perfect in balance.

We suspect that Peter Mertes doesn’t indicate a vintage and uses the private cellar distinction to represent a wine made from grapes sourced throughout the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region. It’s certainly understated and the wine is truly great. Highly recommended.

Wine Tasting
Gill’s Pier Ice box Apple

Winery: Gill’s Pier
Brand/Type: Ice box Apple
Country: USA
Region: Leelanau Peninsula
Alcohol content: 10%
Closure: Synthetic cork
Appearance: Pale straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Green apple

Gill’s Pier is a small winery with only four acres of vines. Given their small size, they concentrate on quality. Like many Northern Michigan wineries, they specialize in Whites. Northern Michigan has an ideal climate for whites and the Leelanau Peninsula boasts some of the very best white wines anywhere.

Northern Michigan is also renowned for cherries and with that most wineries offer some sort of cherry wine. Yes, Gill’s Pier does too but this review is about their Ice Box Apple.

Ice Box Apple is for certain a niche wine. Don’t confuse this with Boone’s Farm, Annie Green Springs or some sort of bottom shelf wine-like substitute. This is a serious wine!

Semi-sweet with complexity rarely found, your palate is treated to a wonderful parade of flavors. The label boasts “Crisp, Tart, Bright, Bold, Misty, Smart, Sassy, Earthy”. While I can’t say much for the “Misty, Smart, Sassy” portion of the label, the rest is indeed true.

It begins with a slightly sweet beginning rich with tangy sweet red apples and then melts into a tart green apple taste with a crisply light mineral finish.

This pairs very well with spicy foods like Indian, Thai or Chinese. It’s probably not a wine that you drink alone but certainly with a meal or as an aperitif.

This is a hard to find yet very worth your effort. If you are ever in Michigan, by all means stop by their tasting room. Their website has online sales as well as list retailers throughout Michigan.

Wine Tasting
2005 Arcturos Black Star Farms Pinot Grigio

Winery: Arcturos Black Star Farms
Brand/Type: Pinot Grigio
Vintage: 2005
Country: USA
Region: Leelanau Peninsula
Alcohol content: 12%
Closure: Synthetic cork
Appearance: Pale honey
Aroma/Bouquet: Honeydew melon

Black Star Farms is one of Michigan’s finest wineries. Their wines are consistently excellent in both reds and whites. Black Star is an outstanding example of how Michigan has become one of the better wine producing regions of the world. Unfortunately their low volume prevents most wine lovers from experiencing what Michigan has to offer.

This wine has a slight herbal flavor along with a citrus note and slate finish. Tasting distinctly like a dry Pinot Gris but with a softer edge; this wine pairs well with delicate seafood. It won’t overpower your meal like some harsh Pinot’s can. Buy it if you can find it!

Wine Tasting
1999 Chateau Potelle Sauvignon Blanc

Winery: Chateau Potelle
Brand/Type: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 1999
Country: USA
Region: Napa Valley
Alcohol content: 13.8%
Closure: Synthetic
Appearance: Light green/gold
Aroma/Bouquet: Bourbon

Wine & Spirits magazine named this one of 1999’s best wines in a Sauvignon Blanc. We don’t know what sample they received but we found this to be a horrible wine! At nearly 14% alcohol it’s damn hard to avoid an obvious alcohol scent and flavor. If it wasn’t for the ridiculous amount of oak you would taste only the alcohol. This smells like Bourbon and unfortunately it tastes like watered down Bourbon. There is no fruit present at all. Just alcohol, oak, lots of oak, and Bourbon. This wine was so bad that the bottle was not finished.

Wine Tasting
2000 Hirsch Zobing Riesling

Winery: Hirsch
Brand/Type: Zobing Riesling
Vintage: 2000
Country: Austria
Region: Kamptal
Alcohol content: 12%
Closure: Synthetic
Appearance: Pale straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Musty sweet silage, pears

As many Austrian Rieslings go, this one has a unique character compared to most German Rieslings. With a distinct, yet not overbearing oaking, Hirsch offers a Riesling that maintains an old world sensibility but with their own unique style. The oak takes away any overly sweet flavor that many German Rieslings are known for but yet still maintaining a degree of syrupy texture. It has a fruity taste, apricot and pears mostly but the oak and acidity tend to cut into the fruit flavors. Not much mineral but again, a definite abundance of acidity. This is a Jekyll and Hyde wine for certain. Perhaps time has been cruel to this and it would have been better drunk young?

This isn’t a Riesling with a crisp, clean finish but it’s definitely not a soda pop like one either. If you can’t make your mind up between a dry Kabinet or a sweet Auslese, this could be your pick.

Wine Tasting
2004 Clay Station Viognier

Winery: Clay Station
Brand/Type: Viognier
Vintage: 2004
Country: USA
Region: Lodi, California
Alcohol content: 13.5%
Closure: Synthetic
Appearance: Pale honey
Aroma/Bouquet: Rotting fruit, amonia

This is a heavy, syrupy attempt at a Viognier. It initially tastes of ripe melon and honeysuckle, and then is overwhelmed by a harsh acidity and sweet finish.

Clay Station, a subsidiary of Delicato, claims to make wines that are more difficult to master than others are. Word of advice to Clay Station; keep trying, you have yet to succeed with this wine.

Viogniers are a very nice wine. Don’t let this one be your first impression otherwise you’ll miss many fine wines. Avoid this one and you won’t be sorry.

Wine Tasting
2006 Tierra del Fuego

Winery: Jacques & Francois Lurton
Brand/Type: Mendoza white
Vintage: 2006
Country: Argentina
Region: Mendoza
Alcohol content: 12.5%
Closure: Screw cap
Appearance: Pale gold
Aroma/Bouquet: Citrus and fruit.

This is a great everyday wine. Low priced but don’t let that fool you. This is a blend of Chenin, Torrontes, and Tokay Fermunt grapes that turns out to be a great tasting wine as well as a bargain.

It is dry with a crisp, spicy finish. It’s great with summer salads, fish or chicken. Buy a case and drink it while young (you and the wine!).

Wine Tasting
2005 Il Valore Orvieto Classico

Winery: Il Valore
Brand/Type: Orvieto Classico
Vintage: 2005
Country: Italy
Region: Umbria
Alcohol content: 12%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Pale amber
Aroma/Bouquet: Herbal/spicy

This is a blend of Trebbiano toscano, Verdello, Grechetto, and Malvasia grapes from the Umbria region of Italy.

Dry with a crisp and clean taste. Not significant in mineral or acidity but not lacking either. Pairs well with seafood or summer salads. Very drinkable but not one that you would serve guests; family yes, guests, probably not. Consider this to be a very affordable and decent table white.

Wine Tasting
2004 Kettmeir Pinot Grigio

Winery: Kettmeir
Brand/Type: Pinot Grigio
Vintage: 2004
Country: Italy
Region: Trentino-Alto Adige
Alcohol content: 11.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Woodsy, faint scent of pine, green apple

The Andersons General Store is such a wonderful place to shop for wine. They have an extensive selection of wines that could keep you busy searching for hours on end. One of my favorite things is trolling their close-out aisles. I’ve found some really cheap wines that have been priced accordingly as well some true gems that for one reason or another have been priced to move. The Andersons definitely has variety!

This 2004 Kettmeir Pinot Grigio is quiet a gem. Priced very nicely, this wine also tastes much better than you might suspect based on price alone.

It is a dry, light bodied Pinot Grigio that would be a wonderful summer wine. It has a good fruity taste without even coming close to being sweet. It has a good sharp acidity that lingers through the finish.

Kettmeir is located in Northern Italy in the Trentino-Alto Adige region it is nestled in the Dolomites where the autumn night temperatures can give the maturing grapes their best characteristics for flavor and aroma. This is ideal for white wines and it shows in this offering. By all means search out Kettmeier if you are looking for a great tasting wine at a reasonable price.