New Releases for April, 2010 at Fenn Valley Winery

We stopped by Fenn Valley Winery, a leading West Michigan Winery offering tours, tasting, and lots of advice in the tasting room. I really like visiting these folks because they are located close to our inn, in the vineyard from which their wine is made. They offer a variety of cellar and vineyard tours throughout the year-see their website or follow our twitter account for a schedule. Reservations are strongly recommended because they fill up early.

This visit, I tasted four of their new releases: 2009 Pinot Grigio, 2009 Cabaret Rose, and 2008 Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvingnon.

The Pinot is crisp yet sweet. I don’t really go for sweet white wines, but many people like this and it is usually featured in our picnic basket-goes with many things and is good all by itself.

The biggest surprise is the Cabaret Rose. Most Rose wines are very sweet (I am thinking of White Zinn, the Koolaide of wines.) They made this wine with the “free run” juice of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvingnon grapes. I was told the term “free run” means the juice that naturally comes out of the grape as it is harvested before it gets crushed. So basically it is what is left in the container after the grapes have been removed to the crusher. These are wines with a lot of the red grape character but not the tannins. The result is a dry blush wine with some complexity, yet still light and crisp. Perfect chilled for summer barbeques.

The two reds, Pinot Noir and Cab Sauvingnon, were really good as well. I used to agree with the more snobby of my friends who would automatically reject any red wine from Michigan. Time to give these a try. According to them, most of the improvements with reds at Fenn Valley have been accomplished in the vineyard, not in the cellar. For example, the Pinot grapes are now aggressively thinned prior to ripening. Both have a balanced and tannin base, the Pinot being more fruity and the Cab being more spicy. Certainly better the the cheap reds from lands far away, these are worth a try.

The tasting room at the winery is open year-round seven days a week until at least 5pm, 6pm on some days during the summer and fall.

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