Beer and wine tastings are so much fun and relatively cheap for an hour or so of entertainment, education and libations.
I’ve been on many a brewery tour (Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee has the best tour) and wine tasting (Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, Wis.) has the best wine and most beautiful setting) throughout the Midwest, but I’ve been thinking it’s time for some new ventures.
Mindy and I met at Lemon Creek Winery in Grand Haven for a $5 tasting event last Saturday. We sidled up to the bustling bar, perused the menu and started planning the five wines we each wanted to sample.
I started with the 2008 Kerner, “a unique German varietal (that is a) cross between Riesling and Trollinger (and) creates a delicate wine with floral aromas, spicy flavors and light notes of smoke enveloped by a crisp, clean finish.” I enjoyed this wine quite a bit for a dry white, and I really could smell the notes of smoke.
I next selected the Grand Lacs Blanc, “a lusciously fruity, late-harvest Vignoles with exotic citrus flavors and a seductively smooth finish.” I liked this wine, too; I was reminded a bit of Riesling because of the dry, citrus taste.
I moved on to the Grand Lacs Rouge, “a semi-dry Chancellor wine (with) a rich aroma of cherry and butterscotch…a touch of sweetness (and) a soft, velvety texture.” I enjoyed this wine a lot for a dry red, and I really could smell and taste the hints of butterscotch.
I next selected the Silver Beach Sauterne, “a richly sweet, fruity, lightly golden wine.” I liked this wine very much and was reminded quite a bit of Moscato because of the sweet, fruity taste.
I finished with the Cherry Wine, “a (wine) with a spicy cinnamon fragrance and mouthfuls of luscious sweet cherry with a soft, smooth finish” and made exclusively from Michigan Balaton cherries. I loved this wine! I could almost feel the cherries bursting in my mouth and I could practically smell cherry cobbler in the glass. It was delicious.
Mindy and I also received a ticket for a cookout with our tasting, so we finished up our wine and headed outside to check out the eats, provided by Chef Tom Reinhart of the Real Cool Cooking School, where I went to a couple cooking classes last winter. We were disappointed first, with the lack of food in general and next, with the utter dearth of vegetarian options. But we ate nonetheless. I sampled a crispy tortilla cup filled with grilled chipotle-lime pork and mango salsa and a barbecue meatball before we both tried (and had seconds) of a Mediterranean pasta salad with ditalini pasta, red peppers, green onions, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and an Italian-inspired dressing.
We weren’t quite ready to part ways, so we headed across the street to Starbucks to chat (for almost two hours) and catch up.
I really enjoyed the Lemon Creek wines and definitely will be looking for them at the local wine shop, but I was a little disappointed with the service we received. I know they were busy—probably busier than usual with the special and the holiday weekend—but we were acknowledged by two different servers, then questioned about whether the first one actually checked our IDs, then hurried through the explanation of the tasting process.
I was so glad to spend time with my dear friend, though. We had such a wonderful weekend, and I’m so glad it’s becoming a habit that we’re seeing each other more often.