If you missed the Gold Medal Reception for the 2010 Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition, you missed out on great company, great wines and great food — including the most cheese I've ever seen in one place. The Aug. 5 reception highlighted the Best of Class as well as double gold, gold and some silver medal winners from the competition, held earlier in the week.
Chefs at the Kellogg Center, on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, whipped up a bevy of tasty appetizers specially prepared to complement the Best of Class wines. Offerings included spiced pork, bacon-wrapped scallops, smoked duck crostini and Asian salmon. (The standouts for me were the seafood soup, the tiramisu and the Mediterranean-style gnocchi.) Thinly sliced salmon with serve-yourself garnishes of capers and onions, vegetables with dip and cheese platters were also laid out on both sides of the room, but beyond the typical cubes of mozzarella and cheddar, there was also a lavish Michigan Artisan Cheese table, sponsored by Meijer, that encompassed an impressive array of specialty cheeses, presented and served up by local creameries.
And, of course, there was plenty of wine. A booklet received at the door contained far more tasting tickets than the average attendee needed; many lay half-used around the room at the end of the night. Wines were arranged by white/red and sweetness level, with tons to choose from. (My only disappointment was missing out on Chateau Fontaine's much-hyped Woodland White, the Judges' Merit award-winner that was quickly depleted at one of the white station.) For me, the standout of the night was Forty-Five North's 2009 Blanc de Pinot Noir; for Shannon, it was the 2007 Bowers Harbor Cabernet Franc, Erica Vineyard.
The top winners were:
Best of Class Dry White:
Black Star Farms - 2009 Arcturos Pinot Gris
Best of Class Dry Red:
Bowers Harbor Vineyards - 2007 Cabernet Franc, Erica Vineyard
Best of Class Semi-Dry White:
Black Star Farms - 2009 Arcturos Riesling
Best of Class Semi-Dry Red:
Lawton Ridge Winery - AZO
Best of Class Sparkling Wine:
Black Star Farms - 2008 Sparkling Wine
Best of Class Dessert Wine:
Fenn Valley Vineyards - 2008 "42" Ice Wine
Best of Class Fruit Wine:
Uncle John's Fruit House Winery - Franc-N-Cherry
Best of Class Rosé:
Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery - 2009 Blanc de Pinot Noir
Chateau Fontaine - 2009 Woodland White
For a complete list of winners, visit the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council website.