From the Shore Inbox: "The 6th Annual Southwest Michigan Wine Evaluation, hosted by the Michigan Grape Society, was held on February 5, 2013 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Matthew Moersch, winemaker at Free Run Cellars and Round Barn Winery, took first place in two of the categories; Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir.
The wine tasting event was led by three Master Sommeliers, Ron Edwards, Kathy Morgan and Brett Davis, who guided participants through blind tastings of a variety of wines from the Lake Michigan Shore Appelation, along with world class benchmarks of wine styles from their traditional "home" regions. At the end of the blind tasting evaluation, the sommelier panel provided feedback and ranked the local Michigan wines alongside their benchmark wines.
First up, Free Run Cellars' 2011 Dry Gewurztraminer took first place in its category. This winning wine was hailed as "Very complex, very well done," by Master Sommelier Brett Davis. And Kathryn Morgan commented, "Textbook. Rosewater right on nose - citrus and tropical."
Next up, sister winery to Free Run, The Round Barn Winery received the "Best in Category" award for its 2010 Pinot Noir, beating out all other local Pinot Noir.
Additionally, the Chardonnay from Round Barn was described as "New world Chardonnay, very good fruit-oak balance" by the panel, while its Merlot commanded comments such as "Balanced, savory. Simple, with underlying complexity." Free Run's Pinot Menunier was hailed as "Oxy and foxy" (new tag line, perhaps?) and "Fine wine, very likable" while its Syrah was touted as having "Bright, red fruit profile."
Round Barn and Free Run's winemaker Matthew Moersch proudly extends recognition and credit to his team as well as his crops saying, "I couldn't have made these wines with out the help of those around me, my assistants Isaac and Robbie and of course my dad who has taught me everything. We're pleased to see our dedication is paying off...our goal is to continue to work hard to make really great wines." One of Matt's areas of expertise is producing wines from the Alsace region of France, where he has traveled and studied, and which shares similar growing conditions to the Lake Michigan Shore Appelation.
Background on the Master Sommeliers
Ron Edwards, well known as one of America's most distinguished and approachable wine ambassadors, is a decorated member of the exclusive Court of Master Sommeliers. Kathy Morgan is an award winning sommelier and Wine Director who currently teaches classes for wine professionals and consumers. Brett Davis has built wine programs in fine dining establishments across the country since the mid 1970's. After studying with the Court of Master Sommeliers for 10 years, he received his MS diploma in 2009."