Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bodkydel Leelanau Peninsula Soleil Blanc, 2008

Like the Loire Valley in France, the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan was once below water, and I believe that has resulted in a soil capable of producing fine white wines. With proper age, well made wines from this area are capable of developing a unique minerality. And the cool 45th parallel climate gives them the acidity to age well.

Bernie Rink at Boskydel Vineyards considers Soleil Blanc to be his finest dry white wine. I still prefer his dry Vignoles, but since that wine sold out early in the fine 2008 vintage, I decided to give the Soleil Blanc a try. It's just now beginning to show some of the subtlety and complexity that Leelanau grapes are capable of producing. Medium gold color. Slightly musky nose. Now some green apples, flowers, almonds. Nuances emerge slowly and require some attention at first but are well worth the effort. This is on the way to becoming a very good wine. Brisk acidity, a little saltiness on the mid-palate and a touch of foxiness on the finish. This is not Chardonnay nor Sauvignon Blanc, but it's a good alternative when you're looking for something different. Soleil Blanc is made with a French hybrid grape with a name you probably wouldn't recognize. But it still reminds me of Savennieres, the dry white Chenin Blanc from the Loire.

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