A red wine! Ga-ga!
Can you handle it (Tell 'em, B).
Readers, it's Pancake. Now home from Traverse City, I am feeling a little blue. There are two pieces of advice I would like to give all of you: 1. Don't graduate. Ever. 2. If you go to Traverse City, DON'T LEAVE. The consequences are disastrous.
Anywho, so what's all this "womp, we're winos" about, you might be asking. Well, in the last couple of weeks, Xtina and I decided to start liking wine. To start MAKING ourselves like wine. To create a palate. Why? I suppose that the reasons are numerous. Because we are growing up. Because we need an excuse to drink together with some frequency. Because of our life theme ("Classy...to a point"). Because I dream of sitting alone in the Leelanau hills drinking a bottle of lavender wine in the warm sunshine. All of these are legit. All of these are true. We decided to begin our wine journeys, appropriately, in Michigan's wine country. Some of you may not know about Michigan's wine country. You may not know that it has a rather fantastic reputation. California gets a lot of press, so the mitten has trouble elbowing into the limelight. Michigan wine is very much worthy of exploration.
Our wining was split between two days, starting with our second in Traverse City. While enjoying a beautiful day in town, we stopped at a booze shop that advertised a SALE! SALE! SALE! Unfortunately, Michigan wines were not included in this blow-out, as they tend to sell quickly at full price. We went for one red (in homage to Lady Gaga), and one white. The red was compliments of Chateau Chantal, one of the many wineries in the Old Mission area. We oscillated between two of their offerings, one titled "Naughty" and one titled "Nice." "Naughty" was the drier variety, but the reason we wound up choosing it was simply because Lady Gaga would have wanted it that way.
I was rather persistent on selecting an ice wine for our white, knowing that it was something that my parents seemed to enjoy quite a bit. An ice wine is made from grapes that were frozen still on the vine. This makes them more concentrated (similar to what Beeardsmith did with the syrup). We walked away with Leelanau Cellars Vidal Ice Wine.
Upon returning to the condo that evening, we began the wine-liking with "Naughty." Given that I'm not yet a connoisseur, I'm not in with the lingo yet. Bear with me. I've tried red wine in sips in the past and have been unimpressed to disgusted. My face always cringes without prompting. This wine did not cause any such issues. I found it quite drinkable (if not yet LIKEABLE). It wasn't terribly sweet, nor bitter. It was just...mild, and pleasant. I drank three glasses, so I think that says a lot. We had an excellent, classy time with this beverage, as can be seen in our photogs. Classy. Friends. Wine. Classy.
Encouraged by this experience, we decided to take a break before spending the evening with the ice wine. We headed over to the main resort to enjoy the outdoor hot tub (we had it to ourselves!!) and all of the free products in the locker rooms. Free! Free stuff! Yeah! This gave our palates a chance to cleanse, and our buzzes to subside.
The ice wine was nothing short of excellent. I can't recommend that stuff enough. Bubbly, sweet, fresh...it tasted like winter and fairies. Our tastings were more limited this time, as the bottle was smaller. Such a tragedy. Had we enjoyed these wines properly, we would not have been idly sitting around the condo having arrogant conversation. Unfortunately, we didn't enjoy it as Lady Gaga would have us do so. She would have totally disapproved of our wearing pants. Sorry, Gags!
Our next foray into wine enjoyment came on St. Patrick's Day. Given that we all more or less hate this foolish yearly event, we decided to spend it doing other activities, like tea-drinking. Most notable was the evening, when we journeyed to Old Mission to do a wine tasting at Black Star Farms Winery. Just to get it straight right from the start, the property is stunning. I wish I could have stayed for ever and always. The wine tasting took place in a barn-like building. It was very classy inside. We felt equally classy (or maybe really out-of-place). A wine tasting is $3. You get to try five wines and receive a souvenir glass (if you come back with the glass, further wine tastings are free). My five selections were judged on a smiley-face grading system. I tried a sweet white called Be Dazzled, a Vintners Select, their award-winning Hard Apple Cider, the Late Harvest Riesling, and the Sirius Cherry Dessert wine. Of the Three Musketeers, I am the least exposed to wine, so my grades were often different than what my companions would have chosen. I will say this: the Late Harvest Riesling was one of the best things I've ever had to drink, and swirling the Sirius Cherry in your mouth with a bite of chocolate truffle is simply heavenly.
In the words of Beeardsmith: OHMYBORK!