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Experience the Latitude – 2007 Forty-Five North Cabernet Franc

There are three places in the country that have gotten into my bones, destinations that cause pangs of desire if I do not visit annually.

Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego where my dear friends Ed and Jen live in the Guy Fleming House inside the park is one place. It is a stunning setting with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the twinkling lights of San Diego’s north coastline out the living room window. 

Ed is something of a wine mentor and good times and good wine with laughs are always shared.

New York City is another place where the snapping electricity on the street makes me feel alive; the shot of energy is like taking in pure oxygen causing inspiration to tackle the infinite realm of possibility. 

The final place that gives me pause for wistful fondness, though I have been there just a few times, is Northern Michigan, in particular the area around Traverse City: the Leelanau Peninsula and the Old Mission Peninsula, on the bay, near Glen Arbor where friends have a lake house on Glen Lake.

Aside from the scenic rolling beauty of an area refreshingly undeveloped, it is a bonus that the area includes 30 + wineries clustered around the protected climate of Lake Michigan, nestled around the 45th parallel with climatic similarities to other global 45th parallel denizens like Bordeaux, Piedmont and the Willamette Valley.

Several months back I jokingly noted on this site that a blog about the 45th parallel was the last thematic opportunity left for a wine web site.  Lo and behold, I got a comment from somebody at budding wine magazine, The 45th, focused on wines and leisure in Northern Michigan on the 45th parallel.

Touché.

Michigan wine, in my estimation is about seven years behind New York wines, and one of the wine regions that will be on equal footing with Oregon, Washington, and the then renowned New York area in the next 20 years.  Throw Virginia and Texas into that conversation, as well. 

In Michigan today, quality is impressively high and the cool climate creates wines of varietal distinction.  The area is not a one trick wine pony, though, hanging its hat on one varietal.  Alsatian whites, Pinot Noir, Champagne and other reds like Cab Franc all share center stage in Northern Michigan.

One of the newer wineries in the Leelanau Peninsula is Forty-Five North.  The winery, still a baby, is a classic story of second career passion-building.  I also happen to work with the nephew of the owners of Forty-Five North and I received a bottle of the ’07 Cabernet Franc during the holidays on a pass-along.

The 2007 Cabernet Franc is a stunning piece of work for any wine, let alone a first year of production. Hats off to winemaker Shawn Walters.

If you are interested in Michigan wine, an upcoming region, with impressive existing quality, consider subscribing to the brand new The 45th magazine, or requesting a free guide to Michigan wine country.  You can find out more about Forty-Five North winery at this link.

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Posted in, Good Grape Wine Reviews. Permalink | Comments (17) |


Comments

On 05/04, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Jeff:  Thanks you for those comments on Forty-Five North. I am somewhat prejudiced as the owner, but the cabarnet Franc is an exceptional wine.  Cab Franc is a classic grape that grows well on the 45th parallel, it requires cool nights at 45 degrees which retards sugar production, that is, we don’t need raisins, and allows the terpenes and other flavonoids to continue to concentrate under the skin.  The judges at the Pacific Rim Wine Comp agreed with your assessment, they gave it double gold (first on all judges cards) and a Best of Class.  Thanks again, in vino veritas Steve Grossnickle

On 05/05, Dylan wrote:

Half way between the Equator and the North Pole. Jeff, could you enlighten me on the fascination with latitudes and winemaking. I’ve noticed quite a few wines that focus on that aspect—is it marketing or is there something to grapes that would be grown along that latitude. I’m sure longitude must play an equal role.

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On 12/23, Stacey wrote:

Very interesting. I had never considered the correlation between specific longitudes and latitudes and the quality and timing for the grapes grown there. It makes sense though, seeing as how geographic location(i.e. Napa vs. New York) has always been a factor. As a bit of a wine connoisseur myself, I love having this information. I believe that if one is going to truly enjoy something, he should invest something of himself.

On 12/30, SMS wrote:

Aaron:  Thanks you for those comments on Forty-Five North. I am somewhat prejudiced as the owner, but the cabarnet Franc is an exceptional wine.  Cab Franc is a classic grape that grows well on the 45th parallel, it requires cool nights at 45 degrees which retards sugar production, that is, we don’t need raisins, and allows the terpenes and other flavonoids to continue to concentrate under the skin.  The judges at the Pacific Rim Wine Comp agreed with your assessment, they gave it double gold (first on all judges cards) and a Best of Class.  Thanks again, in vino veritas Steve Grossnickle

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