As we have come to understand it, the term wine generally means a fermented beverage made from grapes.  In better wines no sugar or other sweetener is added; only the natural sugar in the grapes is converted to alcohol by the yeast.

Rieslings —

Riesling grapes on the vine.

Riesling grapes on the vine.

Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity.”  Wikipedia

Bruce’s favorite wines tend to be Rieslings.  Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula produces a range of Riesling wines from Late Harvest (very sweet) to somewhat dry.

Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling (Black Star Farms, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan).  Of all the late harvest Rieslings we have tried, this is the one Bruce keeps coming back to.


Merlots —

Merlot grapes on the vine.

Merlot grapes on the vine.

Merlot is a dark blue-coloured wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the color of the grape.”  Wikipedia

We are always on the lookout for a red wine that Bruce likes.  Among red wines merlots are more likely to be crafted with some residual sweetness than most others.

2009 Egri Merlot (Hungary) – We discovered this wine at a wine tasting in Ann Arbor, Michgian.  It is the only wine we have ever bought by the case, and we have done that twice.


Cabernet Franc —

Cabernet franc grapes on the vine.

Cabernet franc grapes on the vine.

Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone, as in the Loire’s Chinon.”  Wikipedia

Based on our observation of store shelves, single varietal Cabernet franc (cab franc) wines are not common and we have not tasted very many.

Cabernet franc (Longview Winery, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan) – This one, however, was our introduction to the use of a “Venturi” device to aerate the wine prior to drinking.  We were able to taste this wine as it came out of the bottle (good) and then again after being poured through the Venturi (great).  The difference was amazing, and very much to our liking.


King of the North —

King of the North

King of the North grapes on the vine.

King of the North is a labrusca type grape that is winter hardy to -40F.  It is very vigorous and productive and ripens early with high acidity, but can produce a somewhat fruity, rich, aromatic, Concord-style red wine.”  Double A Vineyards

We bought a bottle of Alpha Rose wine made from this grape when we visited the Red Trail Vineyard in Buffalo, North Dakota in August 2013.  We finally opened it a year later and Bruce found it very much to his liking.  Most of our research indicates that it is not generally used as a wine grape and is considered a bit acidic for a table grape.  It is has a distinct nose and taste of grape that will not appeal to everyone but Bruce liked it and the high acidity gives it a very clean and refreshing finish.