I recently had the pleasure of hosting Jim and Rae Lee Lester along with a group of DC area
oenophiles for dinner and wine tasting at OYA Restaurant.
And whom might Jim Lester be, you ask? He's the brainchild behind Wyncroft Winery, a boutique operation located in Southwestern Michigan.
MICHIGAN MAKES WINE? Hell yes they make wine up there and some pretty amazing bottlings I might add...stuff that makes your head spin and wonder whether you have a fine California Chard or an elegant Burgundian Pinot Noir in your glass.
The evening proved to be one of discovery for most...discovering that yes, indeed, Michigan can produce some stunning wines and that for myself, I totally dig a killer red Burgundy with some decent bottle age. The group not only tasted through Wyncroft's Riesling, Gewurz, Chard, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux style blend, but also an array of wines brought in by various members of the party...Chablis, Alsatian Riesling, White Burgundy, Red Burgundy, and a big Napa Cab.
If you can get your hands on Jim Lester's wines, do it. You will not be disappointed. They are available in select locations around Michigan and Chicago and also via mailing list. Soon both the Chardonnay and Riesling will be on the wine list at OYA so I can claim yet another state added to OYA's eclectic list and in hopes of luring our friends from Michigan on Capitol Hill to pay a visit to OYA and enjoy a bottle of wine from the home front.
2004 Wyncroft 'Madron Lake' Riesling, Lake Michigan Shore--done in the dry Alsatian style with notes of peach, apricot, mandarin orange peel and lime zest. Fat and silky with an amazing wet stone minerality inter-played with the fruit. Big, intense yet elegant to boot.
2003 Wyncroft 'Madron Lake' Gewurztraminer, Lake Michigan Shore--done in the dry Alsatian style with rose petals, lychee and grapefruit jumping from the glass. Rich and smooth palate followed by an amazing savory/earthy notes that I've never encountered in a Gewurz. Long and dry finish.
2003 Wyncroft 'Avonlea' Chardonnay, Lake Michigan Shore--smells like a Meursault with intense notes of pear, apple, spice along with a hint of citrus and smoke. Creamy and elegant palate with mineral, vanilla and caramelized notes on the finish. A showstopper for sure and worth every penny. I might venture it has better structure and elegance than the Kistler Sonoma Coast Chard.
2004 Wyncroft 'Avonlea' Pinot Noir, Lake Michigan Shore--Burgundian in style with sweet dried cherry, red currant spice, and violet aromas followed by leather and wet earth on the palate. Smooth and velvety on the finish.
2003 Wyncroft 'Avonlea' Shou, Lake Michigan Shore--blend of 79% Cab Sauv, 17% Cab Franc, 4% Merlot--intense aromas of black currant, plum, dark chocolate and black pepper followed by black cherry and brown spice. Silky tannins. Medium bodied.