leave your inhibitions at the door
I went to one of The Produce Station’s monthly wine tastings a couple of weeks ago at The Last Word. I was only 50-50 on whether I’d write a post on it, but had such a great experience that I couldn’t NOT give them a shout-out.
My buddy, and fellow Wine Ninja, Jorge introduced me to this winery a couple of months ago and I was instantly hooked. This Traverse City winery is fairly new, having been a cherry farm until 2006. It’s named after the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the very famous geologic event whose receding 10,000 years ago revealed the whole Leelanau Peninsula. Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either. Anyway, the peninsula is on the 45th Parallel and has with fossil-rich soils, giving it great potential for wine. I’ve had several of the local wines before and found them serviceable – not overly impressive, but not bad. However, I think that these guys along with 2 Lads are both starting to change that with some really good wines. And with the area’s emergence as a foodie haven, I think I’m going to make this an annual trip.
As I said, I wasn’t planning on writing a post on this, so my notes aren’t that complete.
2011 Laurentide Chardonnay – Dry, light to medium-bodied, unoaked, with fresh acids. Aromas of gooseberry and apple. A little thin and the acids may have been out of balance. In comparing notes with others, it may have been served too cold. I have some here, so will try later. $16.99
2011 Laurentide Pinot Gris – Dry, medium-bodied, crisp, very fruity. Round texture, with nice minerality. Well-balanced with a long finish. $16.99
2011 Laurentide Riesling – This only has 0.3% residual sugar, so I found it somewhere between dry and off-dry. Green apple on the nose, with only hints of petrol. I thought that the minimal sugar added to the round mouthfeel and made it nicely balanced. $16.99
2011 Laurentide Sauvignon Blanc – This is their flagship wine. I got a lot of gooseberry and floral aromas on the nose. Dry, crisp, with beautiful acidity. A ton of lime, lime, and more lime to go with strong minerals on the finish. I think it was more in the lines of a Sancerre. Whether it actually compares favorably… that’s gonna take some side-by-side “research.” $26.99
2011 Laurentide Emergence White – This was their blend. With 1.5% residual sugar, it was off-dry. Easy-drinking. They described it as a nice, “everyday” wine. I dunno, for the price, I’d easily take the Pinot Gris or Riesling over this. Not bad, though. $19.99
2010 Laurentide Pinot Noir – Some cherry on the nose. Dry, light to medium-bodied, some oak. A little thin, which was fine. $23.99
NV Cherry Wine – I wasn’t a fan, but it could be because I don’t dig on cherry wine. I’ll give it this much, it wasn’t cloyingly sweet and not overly tart. Someone made a suggestion that this could be good for sauces. I can see that. $14.99
Overall, my favorites were the Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blancs. The PG and Riesling were excellent and I would actively seek these out to buy again. The SB was very good, but you can get very nice ones from New Zealand for less. But then again, this is a local wine so that’s worth it to me. This might be only their 2nd or 3rd vintage, so there’s definitely room to improve.
The Last Word
The first time I went to The Last Word, I was pleasantly surprised and mentioned it in my classic post – One for the Hipsters. They’ve got a great cocktail list, even better selection of Belgian beers, and (at least for that night) a terrific playlist. I didn’t realize that they had started serving food there, and I already ate that evening. So, since I already talked about the bar before and I was full from dinner, I definitely wasn’t planning on posting on them.
I then saw Scott, the chef, whose food I’ve had elsewhere in town. I remember him being very good at his craft and decided to order a couple things.
Tete de Cochon – Roulade of braised pork on toasted brioche, topped with a poached egg and tomato jam. Those of you who are French will know what the name translates to. But then again, if you are French, you probably don’t give a rat’s ass what it is. Trust me, it’s absolutely delicious. And it’s not a rat’s ass.
Cremeau – Single origin chocolate blended with locally-sourced cream, dressed in Mas Amiel reduction. Absolutely fabulous.
The table next to mine shared the charcuterie board and that looked excellent. I didn’t take a picture, because I’m not THAT creepy. I also want to go back and have the Tacos al Pastor.
Who’s with me?