Taster’s Choice

(Part three of the Thursday night adventure – check out part one and part two.)

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m rather enamored with 2 Lads Winery. My love affair began over Labor Day weekend and has been going strong ever since.  And, no, they have never asked me to write about them or given me any incentives to do so (Note: this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be willing to consider bribery).

Until recently, I thought I had to purchase 2 Lads wines from the winery directly, by either visiting or calling – then I found out that the Produce Station on Main Street carries their wares. This was super-exciting, because, as much as I would love to always buy direct from the lads and their staff, it isn’t always practical in a pinch.

Also, not only does the Produce Station have a beefed-up wine department featuring one of my favorite MI producers, they run monthly wine tastings at the Alley Bar – and March’s tasting featured 2 Lads.

The Alley Bar may not have the same breathtaking view that the lads’ tasting room offers, but hey, I wasn’t there to pick at the scenery – I was there to taste the wine. Also, this tasting had something we hadn’t yet experienced at the winery – Chris Baldyga, one of the owners, came to Ann Arbor to lead the tasting.

We started with the 2009 Sparkling Pinot Grigio, a wine I hadn’t yet sampled. It was VERY effervescent with extremely bright flavors. I thought I smelled a little, tiny bit of yeast but didn’t taste any at all.

Sampling the sparkler...ignore my creepy blue skin tone.

We moved on to the not-yet-released 2010 “regular” (as in non-sparkling) Pinot Grigio. This wine had only been in the bottle for six days. It had a very tart, green apple flavor – quite pleasant, and I can’t wait to try it after it “mellows out” a bit.

We made the jump over to Chardonnay, which had a more rich and juicy feel to it while still remaining pretty clean. The lads – like my old winemaker boss in CT, Jon Edwards – aren’t in to the “butter bomb” style of chard. A little oak enhances but doesn’t overpower the grape.

And then there was red.

Michigan is not a state where you are going to grow red grapes that need a ton of time on the vine to really ripen and develop into those rich, hearty reds you see from California. Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Michigan would never taste that great. That said, Michigan (once again, like CT) can do some great things with lighter red grapes.

Yes, please.

The Pinot Noir was a treat, just like when we tried it in the tasting room over MLK Day weekend. It’s funky – the smell is damp and dirty, which is exactly what I like about it. There’s a savoriness that really does somewhat call to mind roasting meat, which backs up the dark fruit flavors (plum, cherry) beautifully.

I almost got a little misty-eyed listening to Chris talk about Cab Franc – the main points of his speech were more or less exactly what the Jonathan Edwards crew used to say to people who came in to our tasting room: grows well in colder climates; lighter-bodied red; lots of berry flavors; typically encountered in blends rather than a straight varietal (sigh). The 2 Lads cab Franc was blended with 30% Merlot, which gave it some “oomph.” This wine had a crazy vegetal smell to it – literally, it was like smelling a vegetable garden. Delish.

The Produce Station also provided participants with plates of fresh chevre from Four Corners Creamery in Tecumseh – an extremely mild, spreadable goat cheese with a buttery flavor and little to no bite. I could see this on a bagel in place of cream cheese.

My night is complete.

After the tasting, we were able to chat with Chris a bit – it was great to finally meet him! – and even managed to snap this quick photo:

Jess, Chris, me, Diane

All in all – really great event and definitely worth the $10 price tag. It was awesome to not only get to taste the wines but to hear so much about the growing conditions, the winemaking process, and everything that goes into a bottle from 2 Lads. Thank you, Produce Station, Alley Bar, and of course, 2 Lads for such an enjoyable night out!


3 thoughts on “Taster’s Choice

  1. Hi Amy- Thanks again for showing up to represent!! I had a great time at the Alley as usual and the team from the Produce Station is a terrific resource for wine. In a shop where you only have room for 300 selections of wine – you can bet each one is pretty damn special to be there (that’s why they carry 4 of our wines!!) Shameless!


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