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WYNCROFT WINERY VISIT - Michigan (8/28/2015)

Vino Me, as part of our gourmet weekend, set up a Friday afternoon tasting with Jim Lester of Wyncroft Winery. Jim and Dawn were gracious hosts, pouring many wines and spending a few hours taking us through the lineup. Thank you very much for hosting us!

Riesling
  • 2009 Wyncroft Riesling Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    From a cool vintage in which some of the grapes were allowed to hang into November, this pale Riesling diplays notes of grapefruit/citrus, lime zest and unripe stone fruit with underlying sulphur and mineral nuances. The fruit on the palate is very nice- pear and stone fruit, with quince and mineral qualities as well. There's good acidity keeping it balanced and lively. We revisited it later on and it had warmed slightly, becoming a bit more rich with a nice honeycomb and pear blossom qualities, but maintaining balance on account of the underlying acid. Impressive. 90-91 pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2011 Wyncroft Riesling Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Another cool vintage, this was tighter than the '09 but displayed great varietal character with stone and diesel notes under orchard fruit qualities. Flavors of limestone and orchard fruit on the palate, developing an earthy clay-like quality as it opened and warmed. Not as bright as the 2009, I felt the acidity was softer and the wine suffered slightly as a result, though I think I was a minority of one with this opinion. Still, a very solid Riesling. (88 pts.)
  • 2013 Wyncroft Riesling Wren Song Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Brief impression only. Somewhat similar fruit profile to the '13 Avonlea with unripe peach notes dominating, though there's an orchard fruit quality underneath. This seems to be more mineral-driven and I think I prefer it to the Avonlea.
  • 2013 Wyncroft Riesling Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Brief impression only, tasted after the icewine. Aromas of unripe peach and basil with a savory edge on the palate. as enough acidity and a nice finish. (89 pts.)

Chardonnay
An added bonus, we tasted the Pinot Grigio from the Marland label- Jim's second project.
  • 2013 Wyncroft Chardonnay Cuvée Rae Lee Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    A rich Chardonnay, this pours a deep yellow and shows banana, pear and apple aromas. The palate follows the bouquet, with banana, pear and spice flavors. It has a lengthy finish. (88 pts.)
  • 2011 Wyncroft Chardonnay Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Similar to the Rae Lee with an initial aroma of banana, which turns to vanilla crème, stone and apple. Flavors of orchard fruit and blonde butterscotch with a subtle earthy/dirty quality. We came back upstairs and had a chance to revisit a few wines, this among them. This has opened very nicely- the obvious tropical fruit and banana has faded to a background note and orchard fruit and honeycomb aromas have come forward. There's a nice Meursualt-like nuttiness on the palate now as well. Initially I rated this a few points lower, but I am enjoying this much more now. Give this a couple of hours to open if consuming now. (89 pts.)
  • 2013 Wyncroft Chardonnay Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Barrel sample. This sees 20% new wood. Aromas of banana, spice, orchard fruit and tequila- I find it very interesting. Banana and orchard fruit on the palate with a long finish. There's good potential here. (89 pts.)
  • 2014 Marland Pinot Grigio - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    I'll start by saying I enjoyed this quite a bit. Lime and grapefruit notes followed by hints of marshmallow and a Gewurtz-like lychee/gooseberry thing. Rich texture, with good balancing acidity and flavors of spice, melon and grapefruit. 89+ pts. (89 pts.)

Pinot Noir
  • 2012 Wyncroft Pinot Noir Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Deep color with aromas of tea leaf, cherry, Asian five spice, cardamom, and rose hips. Develops a nice earthy quality as it opens in the glass. Good structure; flavors of cherry, red berry fruit, spice and just a hint of wood. Lovely, with a lingering finish. Very impressive. 91-92 pts. (91 pts.)
  • 2013 Wyncroft Pinot Noir Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Bottled in June, this displayed aromas of clay, spice, black raspberry and cherry. Medium tannins; structured, but with nice fruit too. Flavors of cherry, Christmas spices and cocoa nibs. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Wyncroft Pinot Noir Glenn Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore, Fennville
    Barrel sample. Made from grapes purchased from the Glenn Vineyard in Fennville. Most impressive. Aromas of cherry, lavender and florals, spice and dark fruit. 13% abv, harvested at 22.2 brix. Flavors of cherry, spice and violets with a lingering finish. Nice underlying acidity. 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 2013 Wyncroft Pinot Noir Cuvée Dr. Stan Howell - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Weighing in at 14% abv, this fruit was given to Jim after significant hang time. Control of the vineyard belonged to Michigan State University, and they gave the grapes to Jim and then ripped out the vines. The grapes got ripe and it showed. Aromas of black fruit and sassafras with hints of raisin underneath. Flavors of dark fruit, spice and cola. This style will have fans, but I am not among them. (85 pts.)
  • 2013 Wyncroft Pinot Noir Trillium Springs Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    From barrel. Made from a two acre site planted 50% to Dijon 115 clones, with the rest a mix of Swan, Chalone and Hansel clones. This has spent six months in a new Cadus barrel. It shows cinnamon, black cherry and tea notes with a subtle raisin background quality. The tannins overwhelm the fruit on the palate at this stage, but hopefully the fruit will come out with time in bottle. difficult to rate at this stage of its evolution.

Bordeaux blend
  • 2013 Wyncroft Shou Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    Barrel sample dominated by Merlot (60%), which was co-fermented with 10% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark color. Aromas of blueberry, black cherry, pepper and dried herbs. Blueberry, black cherry, plum and spice flavors on the palate. Medium tannins with a rustic edge. (88 pts.)
  • 2013 Wyncroft Shou Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    From barrel, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc. Aromas of green tobacco, herbs, clay and black fruit. Cassis, black currant, dried green herbs and dusty earth on the palate, with firm tannins. Nice length in the finish. Again, slightly rustic. 88+ pts. (88 pts.)
  • 2013 Wyncroft Shou Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    A blend of the two previous samples which will end up being the final blend, and the sum of the parts was better than the components. There are seven barrels for the Shou, two of which are new in which the wine will have spent nine months. Aromas of blueberry, black currants, perfume/potpourri, clay and green tobacco. Tannins are firm but fine-grained. Flavors of dark fruit, berry and green tobacco. Very nice. (90 pts.)
  • 2012 Wyncroft Shou Avonlea Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Aromas of licorice, graphite, black fruit and macerated berry. Structured, with plenty of fruit underneath. Medium tannins. Black fruit, pepper and red berry qualities with a good finish. 91+ pts. (91 pts.)

Sweet
  • 2013 Wyncroft Riesling Icewine Wren Song Vineyard - USA, Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore
    The grapes for this wine, of which one quarter were botrytisized, were harvested on January 2nd when the temperature was a balmy 7F. The bouquet is amazingly complex and so very lovely, featuring peach, wildflower honey, violets and apricot. I love the bright floral edge here. The palate is rich and layered, but never cloying or heavy as there's plenty of underlying acidity. Apricot and ripe peach flavors linger on the finish. A legitimate show stopper. (95 pts.)

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