California. Oregon. Washington.
Those are the states most commonly associated with fine wines.
Then there’s a second tier. For me, those states would be, in no particular order, Texas, Virginia and New York.
After that, quality can vary widely among a state’s winegrowing regions and from winery to winery.
But after visiting the state several times in recent years, and checking out two to three different wineries each year, I’ve come to the conclusion that a third tier of American wine states would have to include Michigan.
Each year we visit, the quality seems to improve. Fruit wines continue to be the stars at some estates, but traditional vinifera wines and cold-weather hybrids are getting better and better. In many cases, the improvement has come through matching the right varieties and the right clones to the right climate and soil.
If you happen to live in or near Chicago, you can put my assertion to the test on Monday, August 29 when the Michigan Wines Showcase is held downtown at The Gage.
The Gage is located along Chicago’s “Cultural Mile,” and is a popular after-work destination for commuters who would rather grab a bite to eat and perhaps an adult beverage than fight Chicagoland’s legendary traffic. It’s just steps from Millennium Park, the Art Institute and the Chicago Cultural Center, and should be a cool venue for the Showcase.
More than 15 Michigan wineries will be represented, and in most cases, the winemakers themselves will be doing the pouring of sample tastes. There’s no better way to learn about wine than by talking to the person who made it.
The Showcase will run from 5 to 9 p.m., and tickets cost $35 in advance or $40 at the door. For further information, or to purchase tickets, click here.
There’s a possibility that the event will sell out, so advance ticket purchases are encouraged.
In case you missed our recent blogs on this year’s Michigan winery visits, here are links:
Is Michigan worthy of third-tier status? Have the wines improved enough to move the state up to the second tier? You can decide for yourself on August 29 in Chicago.