What better place to savor Larry Mawby's sparkling wines than on the deck of the winery, overlooking the vineyards, near Sutton's Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan. After tasting four of his top cuvees side by side there last weekend, I hold to my previous assessment that the Blanc de Blancs is particularly good this vivtage.
The L. MAWBY CREMANT ($22)--100 percent estate grown Vignoles--has strikingly fruity, yeasty aromas and flavors and a creamy feel on the palate.
The L. MAWBY TALISMON ($30) is a blend of Vignoles, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. This wine has a decidedly toasty character--a bit too much for my taste but a good backdrop for a broad array of flavors. Like the Cremant, the juice is fermented first in small oak barrels and puncheons and then again in the bottle according to the traditional method.
The L. MAWBY BLANC DE BLANC ($18), 100 percent Chardonnay, is particularly fresh and zesty but also has the rich, yeasty character of a fine Champagne. It is produced from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes, fermented first in stainless steel and later in the bottle.
L. MAWBY BLANC DE NOIR ($18): I usually prefer a Blanc de Noir, and Larry Mawby makes a particularly good one from 100 percent Pinot Noir. It's made like the Blanc de Blanc and has a similar elegance and class...plus a touch more complexity. This is a wine that grows on you with each sip. In any other vintage, I'm sure I would prefer the Blanc de Noir; in the vintage that's now on the market, my vote still goes to the Blanc de Blanc.