Tuesday, April 6, 2021

L. Mawby Leelanau Reserve Vignoles, 1984

 This is a wine in the "dead or alive" category. It has been resting in my wine cellar, taking up precious space, for way too many years. I have learned never to pour such a wine down the drain without tasting it to see if there is any pleasure left. One taste led to another and eventually a couple of glasses. The color has turned from white to rose, indicating oxidation, but I don't smell or taste any of the objectionable traits that I associate with a maderized wine. And I do find the dry Vignoles traits that I have missed since L. Mawby decided to become a dedicated sparkling wine producer. Rich, full body but with lively acidity. Pineapple and tropical fruit but very dry, almost tart. It's too old for Donna, but I like it and may even come back to it tomorrow night.

When this Reserve Vignoles was first released, I remember an enthusiastic Village Corner tasting note saying, in effect, "why buy White Burgundy?" When I poured it for the late Trevor Mast, the legendary Australian winemaker, his immediate reaction was "Seguin Moreau," and he later called it "that very good Michigan wine you showed me." When I asked Larry Mawby, he admitted that, yes, the wine had been aged in Seguin Moreau French oak. Even though Trevor Mast is usually associated with high-quality Shiraz, there was a time when he was involved in seeking out suitable oak for aging Chardonnay wines for Best's winery. As it turns out, the Seguin Moreau worked pretty well for this wine, preserving fruit traits without leaving oaky qualities.

Unfortunately, good dry Vignoles from Leelanau is no longer available, at least to my knowledge. The late Bernie Rink, another legendary and beloved winemaker, was my last source. Alas.

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