Having set the tone with my ice wine post yesterday, it is my pleasure to write about this particular one.
Fenn Valley winery is, according to its website, a family owned winery on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and has been in operation since 1973. The farm is spread over 230 acres (93 hectares for my European friends), quite sizeable when you consider that my usual winery at the Mosel works on between 5 and 15 hectares (between 12 and 40 acres). It has to be noted though that they also produce fruit wines (a common thing for a Michigan winery, as I had to learn when I started checking out local wineries), so not all the land is used for wine production. Fenn Valley has a proud history of exploring new varietals for the area, such as vidal and viognier, but also riesling and gewürztraminer.
Their wine list is extensive, and as you will notice the wines are all priced rather reasonably. And the wine I am going to talk about now definitely makes me want to try more of their stuff, and definitely visit the winery.
Friends of ours brought this bottle as a participant in one of our wine and cheese parties. Being the German wine snob I am, I was at first skeptical: an ice wine from Michigan…ha. Well, we’ll see…Once I read that the grapes were actually frozen on the vines before harvest (same as the method in Germany), I was pleasantly surprised. It was also my first go with the vidal grape (at least I cannot remember another instance I might have tried it). The wine has 10.5% vol. alcohol, which is rather high for an ice wine.
The color was a beautiful light honey. The nose had candied fruit and honey notes as well, which I liked a lot. Another taster remarked on tropical notes. Tastewise, it does not have the acidity structure that a riesling ice wine would have brought to the table which diminished the experience a bit, because it made the wine very very sweet without a counterbalancing acidity. The fruit however was very well concentrated and I liked the long lasting finish. I thought all in all it was a tad too one-dimensional, but it was still a great work of art and skill. When I later learned that the half-bottle is a mere $15 (that is an insanely low price), I was stunned. This wine could definitely retail at a much higher price.
Another taster who had tried the wine on winery remarked on cellartracker.com (oldest post) that Fenn Valley had agreed to produce that wine for a neighbouring land owner who, because of the economic crisis then could not buy back the finished product. So Fenn Valley retained it at a steep discount and decided to pass that discount along to customers…WOW!
This wine is a steal, and a very affordable way to try a well made ice wine. Unfortunately, it has sold out at the winery, but I have definitely seen it at a liquor store in Ann Arbor. That means it is still around, so go hunt! It is well worth it!!
[…] Michigan riesling scene. Some of them I liked or was intrigued by (see for example here or here or here), some of them, well…Now, two friends of ours got married recently and they decided to spend […]
I really enjoyed your thoughts on this wine. I have never had a Fenn Valley wine, but it sounds interesting, so I shall look for it. My wife and I have had many a pleasant trip to the Traverse City and surrounding area of Michigan tasting the wines that are offered. I think you and your wife would enjoy a holiday of this nature as well.
Thanks for your remark! I definitely want to go, especially since Nina and I are such avid winery visitors in Germany…will ask you for a couple tips before we head there.