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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Brys Estate - Traverse City, MI - 10/3/09

So we visited Brys Estate a few months ago and were not particularly impressed - in (large) part due to at no fault of the winery, a major buzzkill in the tasting room. To be honest, I was in no rush to get back until they won the Harding's Cup - an all Michigan Cab Franc competition. Brys won first and third place with their Artisan and Reserve Cab Francs.

So, Brys has a regular tasting deal (six wines for five bucks, I think) or a premium tasting four pours for ten bucks with a small gnosh plate. Each of the four wines on the premium cost $50 a bottle, so it's a pretty nice deal.

The notes:

2007 Artisan Chardonnay - I no like-a the Chardonnay in general. This one? It's alright at one ounce. Vanilla and tropical fruit on the nose, which is a bit hot. Palate is all vanilla, pineapple, and butter. Tropical fruit and some heat on the finish. Well made, to be sure - I respect it.

2007 Artisan Pinot Noir - vaguely sweet smelling with cherry dominating. Medium body, cherry, spice, very nicely balanced.

2007 Artisan Merlot - rather big. Almost a blackberry liqueur nose. Easy drinking with very nice tannin/acid/fruit balance. Blackberry and cherry for the most part.

2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc - Cherry with some bell pepper on the nose. Earthy and spicy with a dash of cherry.

2007 Artisan Cabernet Franc - Cherry and distinct eucalyptus on the nose. Bigger than the Reserve, but still earthy, spicy, with cherry and more eucalyptus coming through.

The woman at the bar, Cheryl, was very nice - courteous, informative, friendly - all you could ask for.

Overall, we left with a higher impression of Brys. The Artisan series are certainly well made wines, but at $50 a bottle, I believe they are also among the most expensive (non-ice) wines in the state. My recommendation is to hit it up, do the premium tasting, relax, and see what you think. We left empty handed this time, but next time we're in the area Brys will be on our short list of must visits.

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