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Wednesday, April 4,2012

Rhone retrospective

To truly enjoy Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, drink them before they become too old

by Michael Brenton
The Southern River Rhone Valley region in Southeast France is home to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, where some of the world’s great red wine is grown. Thanks to hot summers and strong winds, the rocky soils absorb heat by day and gradually release the heat to the grapes during the cool nights. Typically, the wines are bright, rich, and deep, made in a style that minimizes oak influence, if oak is used at all.
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Wednesday, March 7,2012

Getting to know Pinot

A ‘blind tasting’ of various Pinot Noirs revealed some surprising discoveries

by Michael Brenton
Pinot Noir is renowned as a grape variety that can be challenging to grow and even more challenging to turn into great wine. It is the signature grape of the Burgundy region of France and thrives in cooler grape growing regions where it achieves a wonderful balance of tannin, sugar and acid.
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Wednesday, January 4,2012

What’s in a (French) name?

To understand exactly what you're drinking, learn what's behind your wine's label

by Michael Brenton
France is the most prototypical example of strict growing and labeling regulations, which also simplifies ordering French wine once the rules are understood.
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Wednesday, December 7,2011

California dreamy

A Napa Valley trip leads to delectable discoveries at Burgess Cellars

by Michael Brenton
As we turned east off of Napa Valley s Silverado Trail and started the winding trek up Howell Mountain, a brisk brilliant blue-sky day welcomed us to Napa Valley s famed and historic Burgess Cellars. In an era in which so many Napa Valley wineries are small cogs in sprawling corporate wine conglomerate empires, the perpetuation of a multi-generation family owned winery is a refreshing change of pace.
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Wednesday, November 2,2011

A Trail worth following

There’s something tasty at every stop along Michigan’s Pioneer Wine Trail

by Michael Brenton
These wineries boast many medalwinning wines and are attracting loyal followers. Geographically, the northernmost winery on the trail is Burgdorf s Winery, east of Haslett, and the southernmost is J. Tree Vineyards, near Blissfield. In between, six other wineries span from Dexter on the east side to Albion on the west.
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Friday, October 7,2011

Viva Verterra

Michigan's newest vineyard is creating bewitching (and prize-winning) wines

by Michael Brenton
As fall colors explode in full splendor, and freshly picked grapes begin their metamorphosis into fine wine, what better time to enjoy a weekend excursion to one of Michigan’s fine wine trails? And there is no better time for an introduction to Michigan’s newest winery and tasting room, Verterra Winery.
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Wednesday, August 3,2011

The state of Michigan wines

Leland Festival provides a tasty picture of our area wine makers’ latest creations

by Michael Brenton
Mark Carlson of Suttons Bay’s Silver Leaf Vineyard poured his 2009 reserve Chardonnay, aged 18 months in French oak. Fans of full malolactic, barrel-aged Chardonnay will enjoy the buttery, vanillatinged flavors, broad palate and creamy mouth feel.
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Wednesday, July 6,2011

Cheers to beers

Thompsonville’s annual Beer and Brat Festival provides a chance to sample some of Michigan’s most notable brews

by Michael Brenton
Craft beers. Micro brews. Whatever you choose to call them, appreciation for craft-brewed beers and ales and other specialty beverages, such as hard cider and mead, is expanding in Michigan.
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Wednesday, June 1,2011

Not just any port in a storm

A recent tasting revealed the many types and tastes of the popular wine

by Michael Brenton
Although a variety of wine styles are produced in the Douro, when most people think of port, they think of a sweet red wine, fortified with neutral grape spirits to increase the alcohol content and stop fermentation while plenty of sugar remains in the wine.
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Wednesday, May 4,2011

Peninsula pleasures

Leelanau’s vinters rebound gloriously after weathering a tough season in 2009

by Michael Brenton
The annual spring media event sponsored April 16 by the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association provided ample support for the buzz about the 2010 wine vintage in northwest Michigan.
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