Preliminary Tastings

BarrelsWinter in Michigan is a special event, those of us who have experienced it form a common bond with fellow winterites. Pristine knee deep white snow, cerulean blue skies, and air that is inhaled slowly to assure a non-heart stopping shock, are remembrances of winter at its best. Floridians, woosies at best, have no clue as to these sensorial experiences. Three generations of Grossnickles, grandfather, father, and son, and best friend, visited the winery under these exact conditions. We tasted the still young wines that Shawn and David have perfected, and I must say they are spectacular. Was it the weather, the familial brotherhood, or just the wine influencing our prejudicial tasting? We all agreed, it was the wine. We tasted from the driest to the sweetest, Pinot Gris to late harvest Vignole, and in the end all saluted Shawn, the winemaker and our cellarmaster, David Hill for their efforts. They showed us all how to tap the 1500 gallon tanks, a mistake on their part, and we all being quick studies, made the best of the new found knowledge. He had to help us, however siphon sample directly from the French Oak barrel aged Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Prejudiced, yes, but yummy and spectacular are the adjectives we all used.

Into the barrel roomThe bottling line arrives in 10 days and as the wines rest in bottles, Shawn and David will be busy with the fruit wines: cherry, apricot, apple, peach and pear. We also finalized the sparkling of several of these, the bubbles take the olfactory experience up one logarithmic unit. My son, Forty-Five North’s webmaster and newest Master of Fine Arts, Eric, created the labels and will soon begin working on our official website. Our final tally for wine varieties was eighteen give or take two depending upon the sparkling styles. They include Pinot Gris, a dry and semi-dry Riesling, Chardonnay (one aged in oak and one aged in stainless), Pinot Noir and Carbernet Franc (both oak aged), late harvest Vignole, Pinot Noir Rosé, a white blend of Cayuga, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris sold as Forty-Five White, the above mentioned fruit wines, and sparkling varieties of five of them. Shawn’s major objective, other than only the finest quality, was a wine for everyone.

More barrelsAlso while there, we finalized the conservation easement with the Leelanau Conservancy which mandates the maintenance of the farm for agricultural purposes only for perpetuity, in most cases a long time. I would like to thank everyone a the Conservancy, Tom Nelson, Brian Price, Carolyn Faught, the surveyors, and the whole staff, as they made the process an easy one. The invitation is open to all to visit us and make a visual memory of a part of Leelanau County that grandchildren and their grandchildren will forever see.