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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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Wednesday, September 4,2013

Best of the best

Sampling the top drawer at the Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition

by Michael Brenton
Michigan vineyards continue to expand, Michigan wineries continue to multiply and Michigan wines continue to reach new qualitative heights. With every new vintage, it gets harder to be the best of the best.
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Tuesday, August 13,2013

On a mission

Touring the wineries of Traverse City's Old Mission Peninsula

by Michael Brenton
Jutting north from Traverse City is Old Mission Peninsula, a jagged tendril of land separating the west and east arms of Grand Traverse Bay and home to some of the finest vineyards in Michigan. Its rolling hills and varying soil types, combined with the moderating influence of Lake Michigan, create a superb environment for growing fruit which reflects its terroir.
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Wednesday, July 3,2013

If you seek a pleasant peninsula wine...

Leelanau rolls out some winners for summer tasting tours

by Michael Brenton
Leelanau Peninsula is one of four federally approved viticultural areas in Michigan, and the winery scene there continues to expand and impress. An early core of four wineries — Boskydel Vineyard, Leelanau Wine Cellars, Good Harbor Vineyards, and L. Mawby Vineyards — has expanded to a growing list of 25, including some names not yet familiar to Michigan wine enthusiasts.
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Wednesday, June 5,2013

Brats and crafts

Festival highlights Michigan-made beer, specialty sausages

by Michael Brenton
On May 25, the Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville, Mich., was once again the backdrop and showcase for Michigan's burgeoning craft brew industry at the 8th annual Michigan Beer and Brat Festival.
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Wednesday, May 1,2013

A Star is born

Leelanau Peninsula's Black Star Farms dazzles with wine dinner

by Michael Brenton
Traveling north from Traverse City on M-22 always promises to be an exciting vinous adventure. The Leelanau Peninsula wine scene continues to expand, with this year's new wineries bringing the count up to 25 — one-quarter of Michigan's total.
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