Many of us think wines are supposed be old, gathering flavor and body as it gathers dust. But newly released wines can be just as wonderful as well resulting in big sales. Take it from some of the wineries dotting Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan.
“One of our newest is our 2013 dry Riesling—people really like it,” says Alex Quijano, sales associate at Lemon Creek Winery in Baroda describing the wine as having light floral aromas accenting fresh crisp notes and having a bright honey-crisp apple flavor.
“We’ve had some phenomenal years,” says Joe Butler of the family owner Butler Winery & Vineyard in Bloomington, who manages the Butler Winery Tasting Room in Chesterton. My personal favorite is our 2013 Variant, a dry red blend Chambourcin and Marquette, both French hybrid grapes grown in the Uplands of Indiana.”
Butler also favors their 2013 Butler Vineyard Chardonel, a dry white from their vineyard aged in French oak yet which has a nice fruitiness on the palate followed by a lovely, lingering finish.
Though Butler likes dry wines (those with less sugar), he’s not disdainful of their best-selling fruit wines—blueberry, blackberry and apple wine. The latter two, he says, are often bought to blend together creating a wine mix he calls “blapple.”
“The 2011 Butler Vineyard Terra Rossa is a ruby port-style made from our own Chambourcin grapes picked during 2011 harvest,” he says noting that it’s a great wine to sip after a meal.
Carnell Mitchell, the wine maker at Anderson’s Winery in Valparaiso says one of their popular newer releases, Red Diamond, is a cabernet sauvignon ice wine—a dessert wine made from grapes left of the vine and untouched until after the first frost. Red Karma, a blend of Foch, deChaunac and Rougeon grapes with hints of Zwegielt, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin and Chancellor, is a semi-dry red that has flavors of dark cherry, wild berry and raspberry along with a taste of plum.
Shady Creek Winery in Michigan City has two new wines out—their Traminette, which owner/wine maker Tim Anderson describes as fruity and sweet.
“We also have a delicious Petite Syrah,” he says. “It’s a dry red with a hint of blueberry on the palate.”
Coming up later this year, Anderson’s will be bottling GSM, a classic blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes known for their bright fruit, aromas of ripe fruit, dried sage and other herbs, and boasting a pepper-and-herb finish that matches the wine’s aroma.
“We’ll also be bottling our remaining Grenache, which is a 100% varietal,” says Anderson. “All of them are made from grapes that are very popular.”
New releases at Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant in Buchanan include their 2014 Noir Nouveau, a varietal made with Zweigelt, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Lemberger grapes.
“Because of the four wines we use, it’s very fruit forward,” says Paul Landeck, general manager at Tabor Hill about the deep red color of the wine noting the special release wine is so sought after they will be selling out shortly. “We’re also re-releasing our Cherry Red which everyone wanted but we were sold out of. “
Landeck describes their recently releases Lake Michigan Shore Viognier as a white wine that is more dry then sweet—with a taste that is popular for many palates.
And, of course, their classic Demi-Sec continues to be the #1 award winning wine and the Midwest's best-selling wine.
At Contessa Winery in Coloma, owner/wine maker Tony Peterson says that sweeter wines like Dolce Vita, Bianco Bello and Prediletto Blush, tend to be their best sellers but number one is their Cabernet Franc, a well-balanced red with a rich-peppery, smooth finish aged in Hungarian Oak and Tre Tenores, a full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes Bordeaux style wine.
“We also have several new releasaes including a 2013 Pinto Grigio and Chardonay and our 2013 Cabernet Franc, 2013 Merlot and 2013 Tre Tenores,” says Peterson.
“We just bottled our 2013 Braganini Reserve Chardonnay and it is beautiful! It is barrel driven with new French oak and blended with a hint of our 2013 Chardonnay that was aged in stainless steel. It makes for a wonderfully smooth, creamy and complex Michigan Chardonnay,” says Cassandra Pone at St. Julian Winery In Paw Paw. “Our 2014 Braganini Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is coming along wonderfully. It is 100% Estate grown at our Mountain Road vineyard in Coloma. The cold temperatures definitely stressed the vines last year, however, our Mountain Road vineyard had minimal damage and the wines from there are better than ever.”
Pone says in March they will also have Cherry Gunga Din Hard Cider and Cinnamon Gunga Din Hard Cider and a 100% Michigan Blueberry Wine later in the spring.
“One thing I am really excited about is that we will be offering our Wine Club members a Dry Rosé this spring,” she says. “Extremely limited production. I was in the lab with Nancie and Elyssa (assistant wine maker) and they had just perfected the wine. Delicious! Crisp with the perfect combination of fruit and acidity.”
Vigneron James Lester of Wyncroft Winery, a family owned, estate winery in Buchanan, says the shores of Lake Michigan provide a unique micro-climate perfect for growing the noble vitis vinifera grapes from which the world's greatest wines are made. Recently Wyncroft created Marland, a new line of wines for the retail market. At the 2014 Michigan Wine Showcase, both their 2013 Rosé of Cabernet Franc and Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé were honored for their drier, Provencal style.
According to Dave Miller, owner and wine maker at White Pine Winery with a tasting room in downtown St. Joseph, they’ve recently released 2013 Pinot Grigio, described as having a crisp acidity able to support a palate of honey dew melon and apple along with a hint of lilac blossom and Traminette, a cross with Gewurztraminer, with deep, rich aromas of apricot, orange zest, honeysuckle and rose. Also new on their list are White Pine Ice Wine and their Dry Riesling, known for its Granny Smith apples, peaches and pear aromas and flavors with a hint of lime zest.
Though well known for their wines (along with distilled spirits and microbrews), here are a few that might not be yet on the radar from the Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery in Baroda. Farm Market Apple Fruit Wine. There’s also Farm Market Blueberry and Cranberry wines, all made from fruit grown in the surrounding orchards says Christian Moersch, wine maker at the family owned second generation business.
“Fruit wines continue to be favorites,” he says.