Normally there seems to be a rhyme or a rhythm to our choices of wines that we drink, but this is not one of those articles. It seems that wines that I write about are following a certain path, or we had similar wines, but these two wines are just grouped together as they were tried in two succeeding days, which is about as much of a theme as I can fathom from them, as you will see.
The first wine was a bottle of wine that my Bride received as a birthday gift from one of her girlfriends, and she was raving how this wine has become one of her favorites, and she is known for usually drinking only Chardonnay wines. It is from Big Little Wines on the Leelanau Peninsula in Suttons Bay, Michigan, and that whole area has just grown and grown with wine makers and vineyards, since the first days that we have driven up there. The wine makers are a “big” and “little” brother that have developed a vineyard and are using the facilities of another winemaker to make their own wines. Hence we had Big Little Tire Swing Sparkling Wine Brut NV. This is a multi-vintage sparkling wine that had a very festive feel to it, and is a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir varietals, all which seem to grow quite well in that area of Michigan. There were 186 cases of this wine produced and I would enjoy another bottle or two of it again.
The other wine that I had was a wine that I have not had; perhaps subconsciously I have avoided it, since my youth. I received four bottles of home-made wine, that I will show a picture of three of the bottles in a brown shopping bag, as the wine bottles, which were sterilized still had the original wine labels from another life on them. This wine, in my area where I grew up, and I am sure in other areas, is commonly referred to a “Dago Red” wine, while perhaps not “politically correct” is an endearing and traditional name for this wine. I had asked him, the “wine-maker” if he had used Primitivo, like they did back in the old country and he told me “no” as that it was too expensive, so he was using Zinfandel from California. I laughed and told him, that the two varietals have been discovered to be one and the same and that made him smile. I have not been a fan of Zinfandel wines in general, from the memories of the bitter wines that I remember were made in the old neighborhood, but I graciously accepted the gift, because that is my nature. When I told my Bride about the wines, she kind of made a face, but I said, let us try them, as we have nothing to loose. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth this gentleman’s wine was, it had none of the harshness that I remembered, though there were not any nuances of terroir either. My earliest memories of “Dago Red” wines were of the foul nose of egg whites that always bothered me from back in the Sixties, and this wine exhibited none of that, which was a pleasant surprise. What was even more surprising is that my Bride actually had a couple of refills of the wine, and she was impressed at how well balanced the wine was. So now I shall look more respectfully at this type of wine again, and not always presume it will always be the same, and that all wines are reliant on the quality of the “vintner” and his artistry.