Tag Archives: Pinotage

Trip Report – Michigan’s Thumb

On Saturday, I was able to hit 4 wineries in the Thumb (the big peninsula on the east side of the state).  One in particular stood out – details below.  Several of them are close to Lexington, a small but picturesque resort town on Lake Huron about 80 miles north of Detroit.

3 North Vines is a real treasure – they’ve been in operation for less than a decade, but every single wine I tasted there was a winner.  And what’s especially dear to me is that they plant Pinotage, the South African grape that I’m a huge fan of.  There are fewer than 20 plantings of Pinotage in the US, and one of them is right in my back yard!

Unfortunately, they are just about sold out of their 2013 Pinotage, and the 2015 won’t be bottled until early spring.  You can bet I’ll be making a return trip as soon as the ’15 is available.  I’ll be posting detailed notes on the Pinotage shortly.

I also visited these wineries on the trip:

  • Green Barn Winery
  • Westview Orchards Winery
  • Blue Water Winery (tasting room in downtown Lexington)

I hope to make a couple of visits to the southwest Lake Michigan shore region between now and the spring, which will get me enough material for an e-book about everywhere in Michigan except Traverse City, the northeast, and the UP (I’ll need a full week to finish covering those).  Stay tuned!

Eikeboom Pinotage

Eikeboom is a 5th generation family-owned and operated winery, dating back to 1873 when their partriach, Thomas Bain, lived on the property while constructing the railway line from Nuwekloof to Tulbagh.

Eikeboom Pinotage (2011) Western Cape, South Africa – $16

Photo0372Color: Purplish-red, and a touch on the dark side for Pinotage.

Aroma: dark and oaky, with some spice, leather, tar, and stewed fruit.

Taste: gentle up front, then building to heftier and spicier in the mid-palate. Towards the back of your mouth, the oak kicks in, and you think it’s going to end up tight, but then the finish is the most complex part, with spice, a touch of heat, berry fruit, and vanilla.

I opened this before dinner. Let’s see what an hour of air and a spicy sausage pizza can do for this…

This has helped. More smoke and fruit up front, a little more complex in the mid-palate, softer on the finish. A nice bottle, but not quite good enough to get awarded recommended status.