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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Vintage models

A look at the winners of the 2014 Michigan Wine Competition

by Michael Brenton
The 37th Annual Michigan Wine Competition was held last month at East Lansing’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. It was the most recent iteration of an event whose genesis was the Michigan State Fair Wine Competition in 1977. Back then, wines from the state’s fledgling wine industry were judged at the Detroit fairground’s coliseum adjacent to pigs and cattle. One wonders whether wines in those competitions were notable for barnyard aromas.
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Wednesday, August 6,2014

Mission: unmissable

Old Mission Peninsula wineries provide world-class vintages

by Michael Brenton
Last month I reviewed recent winery additions on Leelanau Peninsula. A few miles away, across the West Bay, lies the equally picturesque Old Mission Peninsula, a narrow, rolling finger of land: 19 miles long and up to four miles wide. Jutting out into the moderating waters of Grand Traverse Bay, the marine influence, glacial soils and rolling hills make this one of the grape-friendliest places in the state.
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Wednesday, July 2,2014

Delight of life

The Leelanau wine loop has grown into a world-class attraction

by Michael Brenton
Winery hopping through Leelanau Peninsula is beginning to feel a bit like traveling through Sonoma a couple of decades ago. Lots of scenic beauty, winding roads, friendly tasting room staff, wines achieving international recognition and a rapidly expanding roster of wineries. The Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (lpwines.com) boasts 25 winery members, with more set to come next year. One can no longer plan to visit all the wineries in just a weekend — rather, plan for several extremely enjoyable weekends on the peninsula.
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Wednesday, June 4,2014

Festivals for the rest of us

Get in the spirit with festivals dedicated to Michigan wine and craft beer

by Michael Brenton
Summer is nigh, and that means celebrations of fermented juice will soon be in full swing across all regions of Michigan. In fact, some have already started. The Michigan Beer & Brat Festival over Memorial Day weekend showcased the growing vitality of the Great Lake State’s beverage producers. New Michigan wineries, cideries, meaderies and breweries continue to sprout up, boasting some awesome and creative beverages at the festivals.
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Wednesday, May 7,2014

Miura magic

World-class sommelier’s Pinot Noirs are pure enchantment

by Michael Brenton
What happens when Emmanuel Kemiji, a world-class sommelier, establishes a winery and gains access to fruit from California´s most highly regarded Pinot Noir vineyards? Miura Vineyards happens.
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Wednesday, April 2,2014

Choose your own thirst quencher

Amended Michigan liquor code allows customers to bring wine to restaurants

by Michael Brenton
You walk into a restaurant, intending to order a nice bottle of wine with dinner. You check out the wine list, but can’t convince yourself to spend $35 for a wine you recently purchased for $12 at the retail store. Or you see a better bottle of wine that you splurged on for $40, but here it’s $80 or $90. So what do many wine consumers do? Order a beer. The restaurant misses out on profit from the wine, and you don’t get what you really want.
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Wednesday, February 5,2014

Acclaim of Rhônes

Sampling the new releases from renowned French wine region

by Michael Brenton
The Rhône Valley of Southeast France, named for the river with headwaters in the Swiss Alps, winds its way into France and then bisects the valley for 250 miles on its path to the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to hearty vines, hearty wines and hearty people, and for years it was relatively undiscovered. That is no longer the case, but it remains home to some of the greatest wines wines of the world.
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Thursday, January 9,2014

Champagne finance reform

Annual farmer fizz evaluation back with new picks for 2014

by Michael Brenton
Sparkling wine is made in virtually every wine-producing region, but Champagne is made only in the Champagne region of Burgundy, France. Champagne can be made from a single grape variety or a combination of up to three: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
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Wednesday, December 4,2013

Club Nouveau

Annual arrival of French specialty wine a treat for both newcomers and connoisseurs

by Michael Brenton
The anticipated annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived. Beaujolais Nouveau is always the first press from the annual French harvest, and by French law, it cannot be released until the third Thursday of November.
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Wednesday, November 6,2013

Out of South Africa

Sampling the imported wines from Bouchard Finlayson

by Michael Brenton
A 2012 Bouchard Finlayson Sauvignon Blanc was a good example of this principle. This wine could be the offspring of a marriage between a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a French white Bordeaux.
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