Monday, July 7, 2008

Larry Mawby's Sparkling Wines

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 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.


  1. First off, I love your blog here. I have been trying to cultivate a more sophisticated wine palate on my limited budget. Your posts have given me ideas.

    I was just at L.Mawby last weekend so I really enjoyed this post.

  2. Hey Miranda. Our paths may have crossed. We were at L.Mawby on Saturday as well.

    Sitting on the deck overlooking the vineyards and sipping "champagne" there any better way to spend a summer afternoon?

    I was very pleased with the quality of the Mawby wines; they are getting better each year, it seems to me. I have only two complaints:

    1) the Mawby Redd is now aN M.Lawrence rather than an L.Mawby wine and not nearly as good as it once was. It's no longer mostly Pinot Noir and no longer made in the traditional style. This was once my favorite Mawby wine, and I bought three cases of it for my daughter's wedding. My stock is running low; please Larry, start making the old style Redd again!

    2) another long-time favorite of mine, the L. Mawby dry Vignoles has also been discontinued. The 1983 Mawby Vignoles stands out in my memory as one of the finest Michigan wines I have had. It was oaky, to be sure, but had the fruit to stand up to it. For the past several years, Larry has made only small quantities of this still wine, and I have always tried to get to the winery in time to snap up a few bottles. But no longer...

    I understand. Mawby wants his Pinot Noir grapes for his Blanc de Noir. And he wants to devote full time to sparkling wine production.