Pentamere Winery Lake Erie Chambourcin

It is Monday night in April and we have a great deal of new snow on the ground.  It started last night and lasted through about noon today. We Michiganders know and expect an April snowstorm so we are taking it in stride.

I chose this local Michigan wine for our dinner tonight. The label states that this wine is dubbed “Great Lakes Chianti” which is understandable because this drinks very much like an Italian table wine. Lots of oak on the nose and the finish with strawberry and cigar smoke on the palate. The texture is thin with an acidic quality. We purchased this wine locally at a winery in Tecumseh.

For dinner, I am baking a dish I’ll call “macaroni & cheese chicken & broccoli” bake. I started by stir-frying chicken and onions (I cup up chicken breasts in small chunks). In a separate sauce pan, I browned flour in butter and added milk and chicken broth (with cayenne pepper and paprika), then added cheese to melt (and a dab of spicy mustard). Then, combined everything with cooked pasta and broccoli and put it in the oven to bake.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and wintry, too. Another good night to plan a cozy meal and cuddle up and stay warm.

Cherry Creek Cellars Proprietor’s Reserve

I have been saving (hoarding) this special wine for a long time. The Cherry Creek Montage has been my absolute favorite Michigan wine and I was waiting for a special occasion to open this Proprietor’s Reserve, which we purchased during a wine-tasting expedition to Cherry Creek Cellars. John Burtka, the winemaker, does not disappoint! The wine is complex and acidic with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. The Cabernet contributes color and tannins; the Pinot contributes the soft and velvety feel in the mouth. This is an old-world tasting wine that reminds me of the Italian wines we have enjoyed. This is the opposite of the Australian fruit-forward wine — complex and tantalizing.

It is the close of Memorial Day weekend so that is one reason to celebrate. The other reason is that this is the weekend that Tom & I met (years ago) via being introduced by mutual friends. Who knew that a blind date could be so wonderful? Thank you, Will & Shirley, for getting us together that memorable Memorial Weekend.

Longview Rustic Red (2007)

Tom and I first tasted this Longview Leelanau Peninsula Rustic Red 2007 in Longview Winery’s tasting room in Cedar, Michigan. We were on a mini-vacation get-away to the gorgeous and serene Homestead Resort in Empire.

On one of the days, we drove to the Dunes and climbed the sandy mountain to the top to view Lake Michigan. It was breathtakingly beautiful. After running and jumping our way back down the dune, we drove to Cedar to visit the Longview Winery and had a pleasant hour or so standing at the polished-wood bar sampling the wines. We ended up purchasing a couple bottles, including this Bordeaux-like red with a rich berry taste and supple tannins. We had this wine last night with barbecued ribs, corn on the cob, and broccoli salad.

I can’t finish this post without also mentioning a wonderful meal we had while staying up north at the Homestead. On Thursday evening, Tom & I ate at Trattoria Funistrada in Burdickville (near Glen Arbor). We knew we were going to love it the moment we walked into the friendly and cozy dining room. We had wonderful service and started our evening with a martini, served generously in a chilled stem-less martini goblet. The special that evening was any two pasta dishes AND a bottle of wine for $40. Tom had a spicy sausage pasta dish and I had angel-hair pasta with grilled chicken. Both were mouth-wateringly delicious. When it came time to choose the wine, we were able to choose from a variety of bottles that were displayed on the bar. We had a Rosso (I will have to look back at my written notes to be more specific). The entire meal from start to finish was everything I could wish for in a meal. We can’t wait to go back the next time we head north.

Shady Lane Serenity (2004)

Shady Lane Serenity 2004Alert the media: Tom and Melody are blogging about a white wine!

We picked up this Shady Lane Serenity 2004 at Shady Lane Cellars during a trip up north to the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan, and what with Thanksgiving and turkey and everything, even dedicated red-wine drinkers like us end up opening white wine sooner and later.

And this Shady Lane Serenity 2004 is delicious. It’s a blend of 57% Vignoles, 25% Chardonnay, and 17% Auxerrois. It’s fresh and big tasting, with a taste of pears, full of fruit but still sharp and tangy. It tastes like Chardonnay on steroids. An excellent white!

Sleeping Bear Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Sleeping Bear Winery Cabernet SauvignonWe are enjoying this bottle of Sleeping Bear Winery Cabernet Sauvignon from Cherry Creek Cellars. This Cabernet is complex. On the nose is a bit of red licorice and chocolate. On the palate is raspberries and green grass. The finish is bursting with cherries. It is medium body and fairly dry. Delicious!

I have made a pot of chili for dinner. I picked about 10 tomatoes this morning from my garden and decided to use them for a pot of soup. So I cooked ground beef, garlic, and onions, and then added a very large bowlful of chopped, fresh tomatoes, black beans, cannelli beans, and lots of spices. I also baked a loaf of whole wheat bread. It smells yummy! This wine will go well with the chili.

Tom: This Sleeping Bear Winery Cabernet Sauvignon is very nice, with a nose of dark chocolate and cherries. It is medium bodied with medium tannicity. A pleasant, tasty, and unique version of a cabernet.

Cherry Creek Cellars Montage 2003

Cherry Creek MontageOur son Tommy, a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University, came by for dinner last night. I asked him to choose a wine for dinner and he chose this one — my absolute favorite Michigan wine! (Smart son.) Tom and I are finishing the bottle tonight.

I’ve posted before on this wine (see previous posts here, here, and here) and nothing has changed. I still love it. What really impresses me now is that, even though I have had dozens and dozens of other wines, when I open this one, I am never disappointed. It always lives up to my high expectations.

Thank you, John Burtka – Cherry Creek Cellars wine maker!

Three different red wines

threeTonight was a night to finish off the last of three bottles. We started with the Sleeping Bear Winery Merlot, then finished the rest of the Valréas Côtes Du Rhône Villages, and then, finally, the Reserve De L’Estey Médoc. We just decided, since we had a little bit in three bottles, to finish them. It’s a beautiful evening in Michigan and we are sitting on our patio.

For dinner tonight, I have a fresh-baked loaf of whole wheat bread, and a pot of turkey/garlic/potato/asparagus soup. (This is my own invention and it is fabulous. If you want the recipe, let me know.) Although it is a summer night, I was in the mood for a cozy meal tonight.

Sleeping Bear Winery Merlot

Sleeping Bear Winery MerlotThis Sleeping Bear Winery Merlot is a wine that we have previously reviewed. We purchased a case of red wine from this winery (Cherry Creek Cellars) and included 2-3 bottles of the Merlot. This is a lovely merlot. I do not consider myself a huge merlot fan because I prefer the bigger, bolder complexity of a Cabernet Sauvignon; however, this merlot is simply delicious. Sometimes I find merlots almost syrupy. This merlot is not that. It has a mellow taste but it is dry and crisp.

I picked this to go with our pizza tonight. It’s pizza and movie night at the Werner household!

Cherry Creek Montage (2005)

Cherry Creek Cellars Montage 2005This big Cherry Creek Cellars Montage red has always been my favorite Michigan wine. We discovered the wine during a wine tasting a few years ago and purchased a case of the Cherry Creek Cellars 2003 Montage. The Montage we are having tonight is a 2005 that we tasted recently at Cherry Creek Cellars winery. As my husband well knows, I‘m crazy about the 2003 Montage.

The 2005 is also very, very good. It is big and bold, but it is different than the 2003 variety. I would need to taste them both, side-by-side, to identify exactly how they are different.

I would certainly expect the 2005 to be different than the 2003. That is just one example of what makes wine so fascinating! This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chancellor Noir is simply delicious. The nose has a hint of cloves. The taste is rich and woody with hints of blackberry and a lengthy finish. I will always be a big fan of this wine. Anyone who has any doubts about Michigan producing a big red needs to taste the Cherry Creek Cellars Montage.

Shady Lane Pinot Noir Leelanau Peninsula (2004)

Shady Lane Pinot Noir 2004We have tasted this Shady Lane Pinot Noir 2004 before and reviewed it on our blog. But, as always, whenever I do a second tasting, I do not look back at my previous comments. Tonight I am roasting a chicken (stuffed with garlic cloves and lemon wedges), so Tom chose this to go with our dinner. Good choice! The nose is a bit like spearmint. The color is pale and the body is light. Interestingly, the taste at first is unassuming and then transforms into a fruity and spicy finish. This will be a lovely accompaniment to our chicken dinner. That is, if I ever take it out of the oven. I am relaxed and contented and not eager to make the final dinner preparations!

Tom: This Shady Lane Pinot Noir 2004 is excellent, delicate, with notes of cherries and berries and a strong, pleasant bouquet. The bright fruit flavors and the light body will be a great pairing with Melody’s roast chicken. Trigger is already noticing the chicken and making plans for later…