Tag Archive | fruit wine

Traverse Bay Winery Cherry Riesling

For the last couple of evenings, I have been enjoying a Michigan wine.  It is the Traverse Bay Winery’s Cherry Riesling wine, a blend of 25% Cherry wine and 75% Riesling. 

Their website describes it as a “unique and flavorful wine was made from our Semidry Riesling Wine and Northern Michigan Cherry Wine. Simply put, this enchanting semidry wine displays crisp, fruity style with a delicate hint of cherry. We recommend serving this versatile wine slightly chilled as an accompaniment to picnic or barbecued fare, as well as cheese and fruit. This is a sweeter-style blush wine with crisp Riesling flavors and just a hint of fresh cherry.”

Traverse-Bay-Cherry-Riesling(384x640)

At only $9, it is a great mid-week sipper, offering something different than a typical Riesling with its light cherry flavor.  While it is a bit late in the season for outdoor picnics, it is a nice, sweet wine that reminds me of summer.  If only the summer would return!   

Cheers to the impending return of the weekend!  One more day!

MI Road Trip: Douglas Valley Winery

Every vacation begins with a catalyst.  That “thing” that makes you decide that you are going to go there…  It could be a theme park, a museum, a fabulous hike, a concert, a beach – you get the idea.  Or a winery.  Let me explain…  Back in the spring, I won a prize – redeemable in Manistee, Michigan.  The value wasn’t much, but it got me thinking that maybe we could go visit the area.  We were heading out to visit family in Michigan anyway, so a little detour might be perfect!  A road trip was born…

In my last post, we checked out downtown Manistee – after our coffee we headed out to visit Douglas Valley Winery, just outside town. Douglas Valley’s tasting room is located in a historic building – an old bunk house along the railroad line at the turn of the century. The property is surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards.

A rusty farm wagon at Douglas Valley Winery

A rusty farm wagon at Douglas Valley Winery

UPDATE: My Dad, who grew up on a farm, let me know that the photo above is not a wagon.  Rather, it is a manure spreader…  So don’t go on a hayride in it, mmm-kay?

When we arrived, there was one couple wrapping up a tasting, and then we were all alone with our server. Tastings are normally $5 per person for 7 tastes (including a souvenir glass), but we had a certificate for a free tasting thanks to a prize from the Michigan by the Bottle blog. You can also opt for 2 complementary tastes, but $5 is very reasonable.

The Douglas Valley Winery Tasting Room – inside a historic bunk house

The Douglas Valley Winery Tasting Room – inside a historic bunk house

We picked out what we wanted. Here’s what I sampled (Jon and I tried to pick different wines and then shared, so there are more than 7):

  • Bunk House White – A semi-sweet blend of un-oaked Chardonnay, Vignole, Riesling and Pinot Gris, with flavors of apricot and peach.
  • 2013 Lakeview White – A semi sweet blend of Chardonnay and Riesling.
  • Bunk House Blue – A tart blueberry wine with spice on the back of the palate.  One of my favorites.
  • Bunk House Cherry – A sweet blend of tart and sweet cherries.  Also very good.
  • Northeastern Sweet Red – A light, semi-sweet red wine; a blend of Foch and Chambourcin grapes. It had some Pinot Noir characteristics.
  • Bunk House Red – A blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Merlot with flavors of raspberry and blackberry.
  • Stone House Sparkling Cider – A low alcohol (7%) sparkling cider made with several apple varieties from the Douglas Valley orchards.  Excellent.
  • Stone House Semi Sweet Cider – A blend of Jonathan, Macintosh, and Northern Spy apples. Fruity with flavors of apple (duh…) and honey.
  • Caramel Apple Cider – One of two specialty ciders that they had on tap and available for sale in growlers, this had a nose of heavy caramel, but the caramel flavor was very light on the palate, with pleasant, light bubbles.

Our server was very friendly and offered information about the wine, and the history of the property.  Currently Douglas Valley grows the fruit and grapes, and the winemaker from another Michigan winery, Black Star Farms, makes the wine.  I think there is a plan to begin making their own wine at some point in the future, but this method seems to work well, as there were several good wines.

I purchased my favorites… The Northeastern Sweet Red, the Sparkling Apple Cider, the Bunk House Blueberry and the Bunk House Cherry. Thinking back, I should go find one of these bottles to open tonight…

Douglas Valley also had a large selection of local food products, and since it was close to lunchtime, we decided to get a picnic lunch to go. We picked out some Great Lakes tortilla chips, beef jerky, cajun beef jerky, Michigan made jalapeno pickled asparagus, asparagus salsa, and a big bag of fresh Winesap apples.

Apples at Douglas Valley – Waiting to be Picked

Apples at Douglas Valley – Waiting to be Picked

We said our goodbyes and headed out on our way to our next destination – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  En route, we found a roadside viewpoint with a picnic table and enjoyed our picnic lunch.  The weather was still cold, but had warmed up enough to allow us to sit outside for 20 minutes and enjoy our chips and salsa, beef jerky and asparagus.  What a great lunch!

A few of our Michigan Picnic Lunch items – YUM!

A few of our Michigan Picnic Lunch items – YUM!

But we couldn’t linger too long, because I couldn’t wait to see Sleeping Bear Dunes!

 

Mt. St. Helens Cellars – Huckleberry Wine

Jon and I had dinner last night with my parents and my uncle who was up visiting from Oregon.  The topic of wine came up (because really, doesn’t it always?) and my uncle mentioned that he is not a fan of wine.  Too bitter.  We got to chatting about very sweet wines, and I told him that there was a wine that tasted to me exactly like Martinelli’s sparkling cider.  I must say, he sounded intrigued.

It got me thinking that there are a couple of fruit wines that I have around the house and need to get to, since they aren’t going to last a long time.  Once we got home, I hunted around for a few minutes and found the Mt. St. Helens Cellars Huckleberry Wine.  Jon and I had stopped at this small winery on the way home from one of our many trips to Portland to see family.  It is owned by a retired man and his wife, who decided to try their hand at a second career making wine in the shadow of Washington’s most active volcano.

Gary makes some fruit wines and some grape wines, and we sampled several that day.  I liked some of the grape wines, particularly their Albariño, but was very impressed with the fruit wines.  They have something for everybody, whether you like a sweet wine or something more dry.

Gary has a great sense of humor, giving his wines names like “The Volcano’s Last Syrah,” “Kick Ash Red” and “Sasquatch in a Bottle”.  When you live near the site of the largest landslide ever recorded, I suppose you have to have a sense of humor about it!

The Huckleberry wine certainly is sweet, but still has a nice balanced tartness that cuts through the sweetness.  It is made from high altitude huckleberries from Mount St. Helens, which is impressive, considering that they aren’t very big, and you are competing with bears, coyotes and cougars for the berries – hopefully they aren’t looking for dinner during harvest!  Let’s just say there aren’t that many cases of this wine produced.

So, if you ever find yourself bored on that long stretch of I-5 between Olympia and Portland, take a break at Castle Rock and stop by Mt. St. Helens Cellars.  And let me know if you see a Sasquatch…

Hey! It Tastes Just Like Blackberries

For the last week, I’ve been nursing a bottle of wine.  I had to work late several days this week, so by the time I got home each night I was exhausted.  I only had the time and the energy for one glass of wine before collapsing into bed.  Jon was working the late shift all week, so he wasn’t around to help me split a bottle.

I had a bottle of Blackberry Wine from Pasek Cellars that had been hanging around for awhile.  Pasek Cellars began in 1995, with its first tasting room opening in 1997 in Mount Vernon, Washington.  They grew steadily through the last several years, expanding to a total production of more than 15,000 cases.  Pasek produces mostly fruit wines, although they do have a Chardonnay, Syrah, Viognier and a Muscat Canelli too.  Cranberry Wine is their top seller, but they also make Blueberry, Loganberry, Raspberry, Pineapple, Passionfruit and an Arabica Coffee Wine.

Pasek Cellars Blackberry Wine

Pasek Cellars Blackberry Wine

Jon and I had picked up our bottle of Blackberry Wine when we visited the tasting room.  We liked all of their wines, but many of them are very sweet and not really our style.  We purchased the Blackberry Wine that day partly because it wasn’t as sweet as the others.  On Monday night, I popped it open.  It is produced from 100% Oregon Blackberries.  This wine is a sweet wine, bordering on dessert wine, but it isn’t overpoweringly sweet.  I was quite pleased with it.  And the nice thing about this wine is its staying power.  I nursed this bottle all week, and six days later it is still delicious!

Pasek Cellars produces about 3000 cases annually of the Blackberry Wine, and pretty good distribution in Washington and Oregon, plus some limited distribution in some other states.  If you like a sweeter wine, and can find this one, be sure to try it out!