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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tweet and Taste #2! April 13, 2010

The second TWEET AND TASTE is coming up sooner than you'd expect.

Here's the Facebook fan page.

Here's the webpage run by Michigan By the Bottle.

Tuesday, April 13 - 7 pm central (8 pm EST) - log into Twitter, search #ttmi and you'll be in for some interesting discussion. The last Tweet and Taste was an outstanding success and I'm sure this one will be just as good.

For those unable to make it, a transcript will likely be up at Michigan By the Bottle and I'll be putting up formal notes on the bottles here.

The best part of this is the shipping deal:

Pick up the wines we are tasting at your local wine shop or online. Shady Lane Cellars is offering $.01 shipping on all wines through April 13th with no restrictions. They can ship directly to Michigan, Florida, and Minnesota. To qualify for the discounted shipping, email your order to with "ttmi" in the subject line. All orders must be accompanied by a faxed (231.947.7616) or scanned copy of your drivers license. For orders outside these three states, call the Tasting Room (231.947.8865) to discuss options.

Nice? I know.

Here's what we're tasting:

2008 Dry Riesling
2007 Pinot Noir
2008 Blue Franc (Blaufrankish)

I'm stoked.

Monday, March 29, 2010

2007 Domaine Charvin Vin de Pays de la Principauté d'Orange à côté

It really does need to be repeated - put your young red wines in some sort of decanter for at least an hour before drinking. This wine was extremely tight for the first ninety minutes or so and really didn't come together until hour three. Eleven bucks at Binny's - many places online have it for fifteen - I snagged a bottle on a whim thanks to a Parker 90 point rave.

The nose has something kind of strange, almost a buffalo wing sauce quality comes through on the nose - spice as in hot pepper spice. There's also a cherry candy - red Starburst - thing.

Cherry and strawberry candy, generic sort of red fruit, with a dash of black pepper, menthol, and a bit of cigar, all with a slightly medicinal back palate. This is fairly light in body - when I think of medicinal wine, I think heavy and viscous, not so much here, which makes what can be perceived as a flaw into an interesting quirky quality.

More of that medicinal, menthol, minty, and cherry thing linger on the finish.

This was apparently aged for eighteen months in concrete - I'm not sure I've encountered a wine not aged in either steel or oak. Concrete...fascinating... Personally, I'd sit on this wine for another year or so before opening. I'm less thrilled than Parker, but considering the eleven dollar price tag, I also can't bash it.

Score: 85

Thursday, March 25, 2010

N/V L Mawby Cremant Classic Cuvee 142

This $22 bottle is available through the winery. It is 100% Vignoles - an unusual 'hybrid' grape that you often find in less common wine regions - Missouri and Illinois make plenty, but it's also found in Michigan, and New York.

Just a bit of pink apple on the nose.

Pink and golden apples dominate. A bit of sugar, but tons of acid give it a nice crisp balance. As the wine warms a bit - and I recommend you give this a good hour out of the fridge before drinking - some interesting things happen. Blueberry and caraway qualities start to come out among other oddball things.

A bit of candied apple - maybe it's because of a recent comment on this site but I'll be damned if I don't get some orange Starburst lingering.

I recall drinking this in the tasting room and it pissing me off because it was so elusive. That's about right, I'm hesitant to score this without another bottle handy, but after trying it again I'm sure I'll feel the same. This wine is like The Stooges Fun House - it's good, but it can be frustrating. I am a fan.

Score: 90+

Sunday, March 21, 2010

2007 45 North Pinot Noir

We visited 45 North over the summer and snagged a bottle because I found it to be well crafted and interesting – let's find out how it held up when tasted blind.

I normally don't mention color because I don't particularly see the relevance, but this is a very light Pinot Noir – it's perhaps only a shade or two darker than the some of the darker roses of the world.

A rather Burgundian nose – dirt, cola, even a tad of barnyard.

Light body, potent acid, raspberry dominates for fruit, though some cherry creeps in, all with a bit of cola and some herbal qualities. There's something here that I can't place, everything is light but there's this strange heaviness, something with the oak I'd guess, that gives it a unique dimension.

A herbal quality lingers on the finish – I'm going to call it at basil.

This review seems short, but only because this is one of those wines I got the notes down quickly and just enjoyed the rest of the bottle. $24 is nothing to sneeze at, but neither is a wine of this caliber. Here lies the bottle of a classy Pinot Noir from Michigan, my sole complaint is that I only bought one.

Score - 91

Saturday, March 13, 2010

N/V Domaine Chandon Etoile Brut

This is another one of them bottles where the winery sells it - and declares the retail value - for $40, but many wine shops sell it for under $30. Let's just say it's a thirty dollar bottle. We loved the Etoile Rose, so let's give the Brut a whirl. I'll remind you this one was tasted blind.

Orange and honey on the nose - mild.

Orange - almost like an orange Starburst, not quite artificial, but definitely candy like - I also get a rather tart raspberry quality. Ever so slightly thick in mouthfeel. I do get some yeasty qualities - I think I get some toast, but the more I ponder it, the more I'm thinking it's caraway rye dough - more spicy, or even nutty, rather than toasty.

A nice bit of toast with marmalade comes out on the finish - quite nice - some lime and citron qualities come out way on the back finish as well.

At $30, this is a tad too steep for my wallet - the rose struck me as a better bottle all around. Not bad sir. Not awesome either. But not bad. In fact, it's pretty good. Considering what some Michigan sparklers we've drinking lately hav been doing for 1/3 the price, this doesn't hold up.

Score: 84

Friday, March 12, 2010

Post #666

Welcome to the most "metal" post possible: #666.

I am using this post to present a new feature at The Wineauxs. MERCHANDISING!

T-shirts available now! Lunchboxes may be next. Coming soon: The Wineauxs Flamethrower. I expect to have an array of crap available on there soon.

Check out The Wineauxs Store and buy yourself, your significant other, your friends, and your kids some swag. I just got my shirt and I, a fairly picky fellow, am very happy with the quality.

To further celebrate - The Wineauxs have an official theme song/jingle. Check it out at the top of this, or any, page. The only requirement is you set your speakers to 11 - don't make 10 louder, play it at 11. Big thanks to Michael Rice from OperaNow! "the" opera podcast for putting it together.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

N/V M Lawrence Detroit

This review very well may be a world premiere. This wine is not out yet - it will be released in the coming weeks but was made available as part of L Mawby's February mailing list shipment. It's part of the M Lawrence line and while I don't have my tasting sheet handy to be sure, the retail is something like $13. This was tasted blind, so do what you will.

Peach, kind of a peach Jolly Rancher sort of thing that I find most enjoyable.

More of that peach Jolly Rancher. Apricot comes through, nectarine, maybe some tangerine, but mostly stone fruit with a bit of spice - I'm not sure what is in this but if you're into Muscats with fizz, this will, be right up your alley. Sweet enough that I'd prefer to drink this as a dessert wine, but I am less tolerant of sugar than many. That being said, it's probably not sweet enough to be considered over the top - I can absolutely see this working for many people with a picnic or maybe spicy food. Sweet though it may be, I get some very nice acidic backbone, a very nice, almost lemony, tartness. For me, this would go perfect with some sort of fruit tart, fruit soup, sorbet, pie, or (non-chocolate) cake. On a hot summer day this would absolutely hit the spot.

The finish brings more of the same - peach candy with a bit of spice and acid.

A tremendous bargain. We'll be hitting the Traverse City area in a few months and at this point I don't even want to visit L Mawby because they'll eat up our entire budget.

Score: 90

Monday, March 08, 2010

2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir

This bottle retails for $25 through the winery. We tried this as part of the Tweet and Taste Michigan - search #ttmi on Twitter and check out all the tweets!

Mostly cherry here on the nose with some very distinct earthy qualities - mud, rather than dirt.

Michigan Pinot Noirs are interesting, in a good way. I'd compare them somewhat to part New Zealand, part Pacific Northwest with a big dash of Burgundy thrown in. Definitely light in body, clear notes of strawberry with emphasis on the seeds, leaves, and even some stems - almost like an earthy strawberry tea. Maybe a light herbal or white tea with a bit of dirty strawberry jam mixed in. I do get a bit of sassafras, a hint of cocoa, and a dash of dirt, all with great acid and the slightest pinch of sugar. A good deal of funk but I'd definitely call this a mostly fruit driven wine.

More of that strawberry thing, but I'm also getting some raspberry notes.

$25 isn't cheap, so it depends on your budget, but compared to many Pinots we've had at this pricepoint, this is on par in quality.

This wine was not tasted blind and the bottle was comped. These facts do not intentionally cloud my description or rating, but full disclosure is a must.

Score: 87*

2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Barrel Aged Chardonnay

This bottle retails for $14 through the winery. Fans of this blog know The Wineauxs do not like Chardonnay as a grape or oaked whites in general. This can go one of several ways, but for whatever it's worth, we don't pull punches. We tried this as part of the Tweet and Taste Michigan - search #ttmi on Twitter and check out all the tweets!

A little vanilla on the nose.

Relatively light on oak, a bit of vanilla, some lemon, definitely a fatter mouthfeel than I prefer, but compared to many Chards this probably a lighter style, which is good for my palate. This has, and I apologize for saying this, a quality that reminds me of snot. Wine fans know comparisons to disgusting things are often compliments and I do mean it as that.

More lemon and, yes, more snot on the finish.

I had a feeling just by the light color of this wine that we'd be alright with it, and sure enough we are. It's definitely a Chardonnay but the lighter style is welcome. Part of me expected to sample this and ditch the bottle, but now I'm thinking about getting some sort of fish, tuna steaks maybe, and polishing the rest off tomorrow.

This wine was not tasted blind and the bottle was comped. These facts do not intentionally cloud my description or rating, but full disclosure is a must.

Score: 85*

2008 Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling

This bottle retails for $16.50 through the winery. We tried this as part of the Tweet and Taste Michigan - search #ttmi on Twitter and check out all the tweets!

Grapefruit, I'm going to say mostly white grapefruit, on the nose.

Mostly grapefruit again, tart citrus, kind of a pomelo thing. After a bit of air, some very nice spicy pear qualities come through. I want to say this wine has a bit of sugar but the more I swirl it around and think about it, I do think this is one of these very fruity wines that gives more of an illusion of sugar than is actually present. Sugar or not, this has tons of acid - it leaves the mouth watering big time and begs for food. With a bit of air (and allowing it to warm up) I get some green apple candy - Green Apple Now and Later specifically - as well.

Yet again grapefruit on the finish, along with spice, and tons of acid - crisp indeed.

The downside of visiting the various wineries in the Traverse City area is that they all do Rieslings and they all do them fairly well, so there's an urge to try them everywhere you go - this leads to overkill and a painful tongue. That being said, this is one to check out. A solid offering, excellent balance, and a wine I'll be buying in the future.

This wine was not tasted blind and the bottle was comped. These facts do not intentionally cloud my description or rating, but full disclosure is a must.

Score: 90

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Tweet and Taste - Monday, March 8!

The Tweet and Taste is happening in just a few hours... Monday, March 8, 7 pm CST/8 pm EST. 5 pm Specific Time. In that it starts, specifically, at 5 pm on the west coast.

I encourage you all to get on Twitter at that time, you don't actually need to sign up, just search #ttmi and Twitter will keep you updated. If you sign up, you can participate at least.

If you are unable to make it, Twitter does archive everything, so you can read what people had to say after the fact.

The three wines being discussed are:

• 2008 Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling
• 2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir
• 2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Barrel Aged Chardonnay

If Twitter really isn't your thing and you want nothing to do with it, I will have formal notes for each bottle up late in the evening on March 8. That, however, will be far less fun than the tweet-tastic fun that will happen.

Immense, colossal, gigantic kudos go out to Shannon from Michigan by the Bottle and Corynn from Black Star for making this come together. Follow them both on Twitter at @MichBytheBottle and @BStar2009. Also, anytime you tell someone about Michigan by the Bottle you must sing it to the tune of Message in a Bottle.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

2007 Sopranos Chianti

I bought this for $10 on a whim - I enjoy tacky labels and I am a fan of cheap Chianti....I expected to not be much of a fan, but thanks to blind tasting I was kept honest.

The nose is like sniffing a cedar cigar box - big time tobacco and wood.

A firm punch of tobacco hit me immediately with this one - cedar comes out as well right away - cherry, plum, and some slightly underripe strawberry come through as well. Quite tart and acidic - a turn off for some, but I rather like the style. As the bottle opens, I do get a bit of a slightly sugary cola like quality - frequent readers know I am a sucker for cola, so this works nicely. Something I haven't gotten from a wine lately is that "garbage" quality I sometimes mention - difficult to describe and not necessarily (in fact, generally not) a bad thing. It's a weird sort of funk - a funkiness I associate with Italian wine - it is polarizing, but I quite enjoy it....kind of an earthy, smokey, barnyardy thing.

The finish is mostly - you guessed it - tobacco and cedar with a bit of red fruit, fading quickly, an ever so slight suggestion of menthol way in the back.

As a fan of cheap Chianti, you'll want to take this score with a grain of salt. I'm a bit ashamed to rate a gimmick wine so highly, but we keep it real here.

Score: 85

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


If you don't read Michigan By The Bottle already, you should.

Shannon and Cortney post all sorts of various news about Michigan wines as well as a video podcast every week or so where they discuss a different wine. The podcasts are short (too short perhaps) and informative. Let's be blunt, many - most? - wine podcasts out there aren't terribly good, their's is a keeper.

But the reason why I point them out now is because they interviewed me, as well as some of the other bloggers taking part in the Tweet and Taste coming up on March 8. I encourage you to read their site anyway, but if you're a reader of mine and are desperate for more ramblings, it's something to check out.