We were completely blown away by the awesome, quirky, thoughtful, detailed, interesting, entertaining — you name it, we saw it — emails we received over the last week in response to our challenge: Tell us your "Michigan wine CRUSH." We found ourselves nodding in agreement — and adding some wines to our "must-try" list!
As always, we turned to the trusty number generator at Random.org to select the winner of two tickets to CRUSH Birmingham 2012 Wine and Food Classic, an amazing charity event set for Sept. 22 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, as well as the exclusive after-hours party. The tickets, supplied by the event organizers, are valued at a whopping $500! And the winner is ... CHRISTINE BAESE of Northville! Please email us at email@example.com to claim your prize a.s.a.p.!
Read on to see what fellow wine lovers professed as their "Michigan wine crushes," and check out details on how you can purchase your own tickets to CRUSH Birmingham, which supports a great cause: the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan.
What's your Michigan wine CRUSH?
Here's how our readers answered (get ready to take notes!):
"My Michigan wine crush is Sandhill Crane’s Traminette. Just the right amount of fruit. Perfect wine for a warm sunny day!"
— Allison Wright, Redford
"I'm sad to say that my MI wine crush is now sold out and not found on shelves ... as I stare at my dwindling stash, I feel the grip of fear of running out but also the lust to open another bottle. The affair began last spring at Sandhill Crane winery. I expected the fruity wines, the pineapple and berry notes wafting from the tasting glasses. I hadn't expected the deep rich tobacco-infused blackberries and leather bound black raspberries that were in this wine. It was a 2007 Merlot from Sandhill Crane. So simple and unassuming in the bottle, but a brilliant and deep wine in the glass. I've drank it straight from the glass, paired with various cheeses, and most memorably with a mushroom bruschetta topped with poached eggs. Every sip is a liquid embrace."
— Katy Meyers, East Lansing
"My wine crush would have to be Sex by L. Mawby. I like the taste, the slightly sweet richness, the bubbles, and above all, the name is fun."
— Alicia Belrose, Norton Shores
"I love Michigan bubbly. When I find Detroit by M. Lawrence, I have to have it! It has the perfect flavor, bubble balance and works with almost anything. It is also a great gift for friends near or far."
— Christine Baese, Northville
"My husband Mike and I love Michigan wines. We recently spent a week in Sawyer, Mich., and enjoyed visiting the wineries in the southwest area of the state. Our new CRUSH is on Fenn Valley Meritage 2010. It is a well balanced and very enjoyable blend!"
— Mary Anne Kenerson, Clarkston
"Unwooded Chardonnay from Forty-Five North is our new go-to wine! The flavor is fantastic and it pairs well with everything. My husband and I joined the Forty-Five North wine club in hope that this Michigan favorite will make it into every bi-monthly shipment. So far, August was a win!"
— Stephanie Wiggins, Canton
"I consider myself to be a wine enthusiast and without a doubt my Michigan wine crush is J. Trees Dry Riesling. My reasons for loving this wine are simple: it is moderately priced, it over-achieves, it is crisp and clean with a hint of fruit on the finish, and it is extremely versatile with food. If I am ever invited to a dinner party and am unsure of the menu this is my go to wine and it is always a crowd pleaser! I love J. Trees Dry Riesling."
— Marvin Williams, Ferndale
"My wine crush is Block II Riesling from Bowers Harbor. It is my favorite one because it is so different from the others. I think it starts sweet, ends dry and really reminds me of a sweet tart!"
— Sherri Adcock, Bay City
"Right now, I am gaga over L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs! I was excited to find it on the wine list at Zazio’s in Kalamazoo, and have now gone there twice just to have another glass or two (thank you John Korycki and staff!). At the Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition reception, I started and ended the night with Blanc de Blancs – Best in Class Winner for Sparkling Wine. A winner, hands down."
— Judy Hanna, Kalamazoo
"We recently went to a fabulous wine tasting event at L. Mawby called 'Our Coolest Event Ever'! Larry poured lots of bubbly from magnums, which he says are the best, proper wine bottles to get the most delicious flavor from the bubbly. He introduced a brand new, never before seen, limited edition Domaine Leelanau, Skita! Which is my NEW Michigan wine CRUSH! It's super sparkly and slightly sweet! Simply scrumptious!"
— Gina Kittle, Fruitport
"My new Michigan wine CRUSH is: Oh Hell Yeah! Red!, from Baroda's Founder's Wine Cellar. It's a real delicious sweet red and berry taste with a nice soft finish! We have a hard time keeping this one stocked, because it also makes for a fun 'gift-wine'!"
— Paul Kittle, Fruitport
"My Michigan wine crush has to be the fine wines from St. Julian Winery. The only varietal I can find in my city is the Blue Heron and that is a rare find. I especially love the Red Heron and the sparkling. I can't help but detour off of Exit 6 on my trips between Chicago and Grand Rapids to grab a few tastings and a few bottles for home."
— Genevieve Gonnigan, Chicago
"My Michigan wine crush? Oh! There are so, so many! I guess if I had to choose one I would say L.Mawby’s new Connect. I always enjoy a sparkling, no matter what the occasion. The drier the better, and M. Lawrence has really hit the mark w/this one! A friend recommended it after trying it at their tasting room on her birthday. A few weeks later, my husband and I hit their tasting room on my birthday and it was spot on. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this wine! D’Vine Wines in Flint Farmer’s Market is even going to start carrying it for me!"
— Colleen Stephenson, Flushing
"My Michigan wine crush is Green by M.Lawrence. Its crisp, refreshing taste pairs well with Twizzlers to lobster and everything in between!"
— Connie Wiescinski, Bay City
"My Michigan wine crush would have to be Left Foot Charley’s Riesling. A great-tasting wine for any occasion/with any food!"
— Barry Wiescinski, Bay City
"My wine crush is Traverse City's very own: Bowers Harbor's Gewürztraminer!"
— Casandra Jones, Lincoln Park
"I have fallen in love with Vice from Chateau Chantal. I got VIP tickets to go there and it was one of my favorites. I bought a couple of bottles to bring home. I will be having to order me more because I haven't been able to find it locally. It's sweet, but not too sweet."
— Beverly Clark, Allegan
"I am a German who moved to Ann Arbor last November. In Germany, I lived in riesling heaven along the Mosel, so naturally my preferred Michigan wine so far has been a riesling. I would have to go with the Chateau Grand Traverse Select Semi-Dry Riesling. It just has everything that I am looking for in an everyday riesling, and is affordable (I am spoiled by low German wine prices). I first fell in love with Chateau Grand Traverse wines over their Late Harvest Riesling, but the wine I keep going back to is the Select."
— Oliver Windgätter, Ann Arbor
"I have to go with the Left Foot Charley Pinot Blanc. Consistently good every year. Great flavor with nice acidity and mouth-feel. I know the grower well and I often help with harvest. Bryan and Werner make a great grower/winemaker team."
— Bill and Margaret MacDonald, Ann Arbor
"My Michigan wine crush is Black Star Farms Late Harvest Riesling. It is the PERFECT sweet and refreshing wine to satisfy my wine-thirsty taste buds on a warm Michigan day. I don't know what they do to the grapes over on that lovely Suttons Bay Farm, but I hope they never stop!
— Lauren Duvall, Rochester Hills
"Oh, do I ever have a 'crush' on Brys Estate's Pinot Noir Riesling. It's not every day that someone puts together your favorite red and your favorite white in a single wine! In fact, I am pretty bummed that there is not even one bottle of it in my house right now. I might have to go up to Traverse City soon and rectify that …"
— Lindsay Allen, Midland
"Though it is a very tough choice to pick just one, my wine CRUSH is L. Mawby's Blanc de Blancs, because it is even tastier than any Napa California or upstate New York wines! Something so great, close to home in our great state!"
— Rachel Partain, Birmingham
"I'm SO excited to share about my FAVORITE Michigan wine! Tweeting and Facebooking about how much I love Michigan wines will never get old … and reading about your description of the wine you 'can't walk by on the shelf' … fits perfectly for me. My CRUSH, my beyond-infatuation, my LOVE of Michigan wines, was born of Black Star Farms Arcturos 2011 Sur Lie Chardonnay. Without question. I love it so much, I'm anything BUT 'surly' when I consume it; it just provides a calm, quiet effect to my not-so calm nature. Filled with the tastes of the rolling Michigan hills where the grapes are grown, it finishes like the summer sun setting on Lake Michigan. When you hold it in your mouth to discern the flavors, you're tasting Pure Michigan. Crush turned to a deep, committed love of a fabulous Michigan wine."
— Robin Case Naeyaert, Mason
Get CRUSH details:
The Sept. 22 event represents the fifth annual installment of CRUSH Birmingham, with proceeds benefitting CLF, a statewide nonprofit organization that supplies information, financial assistance, emotional support and various services, to patients and families impacted by leukemia, lymphoma and related blood disorders in Michigan. Fundraising is critical to perpetuating the organization's mission, and all money raised in Michigan stays in Michigan.
During CRUSH, attendees have a chance to stroll through a series of wine and food pairing stations featuring fare prepared by highly acclaimed chefs from well-known restaurants, along with wine that complements the flavors.
This year's featured guests include:
- Honorary Wine Personality: Bartholomew Broadbent of Broadbent Selections in San Francisco, Calif.
- Honorary Executive Chef: Brian Polcyn, chef and proprietor of Cinco Lagos in Milford and Forest Grill in Birmingham
- Honorary Pastry Chef: Michael Laiskonis, chef at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York
Guest culinary masters include:
- Myles Anton, executive chef at Trattoria Stella in Traverse City
- Jim Barnett, executive chef at Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit
- Jim Bologna, executive chef at The Rugby Grill at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham
- Dave Campbell, executive chef at Tallulah in Birmingham
- Michael Connery, executive chef at Capital Grille in Troy
- Luciano del Signore, executive chef at Bacco Ristorante in Southfield
- Steven Grostick, executive chef at Toasted Oak Grill in Novi
- Paul Grosz, executive chef at Cuisine in Detroit
- Guillame Hazael-Massieux, executive chef
- John Korycki, executive chef at La Becasse in Maple City
- Matt Millar, executive chef at Reserve in Grand Rapids
- James Rigato, executive chef at The Root Restaurant and Bar in White Lake
On the wine side, master sommelier Ron Edwards is the event's honorary wine director, and master sommeliers Madeline Triffon and Claudia Tyagi are serving as wine ambassadors.
Besides the main pairing event, there's also a private preceding champagne reception, sponsored by Brooks Brothers, and the After Hours post-party, sponsored by Rémy Cointreau USA, which will feature music, "luxury spirits" by Rémy and "midnight bites."
Get CRUSH tickets:
Patron admission tickets — which include the private champagne reception, the main wine/food pairing event and After Hours — are $350 apiece. General admission for the food/wine pairing event and After Hours is $250. There's a reduced general admission price for young adults, ages 21-30, of $125.
- To purchase patron admission or general admission tickets, visit http://www.crushmichigan.com/tickets/crush-birmingham.
Admission to just the After Hours event is $65.
- To purchase After Hours tickets, visit http://www.crushmichigan.com/tickets/crush-after-hours-night-moves.
- CRUSH Birmingham: https://www.crushmichigan.com/events/crush-birmingham-2012.
- Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan: http://www.leukemiamichigan.org.