No Country For Old Vines

My friends and I enjoy going to wine tasting events every month or so. We’d been going to a local restaurant, but they kept increasing the price and reducing the appetizers as well as the number of wine selections to taste. We’d been looking for an alternative when we heard about the Michigan Wine Showcase. Wineries from all over the state would be present and the food would be provided by a top restaurant. We met downtown Detroit at The Rattlesnake Club after work on Monday. So many wineries packed the building lobby that we had to pick and choose what to taste.

Garnering a small, stand-up cocktail table, we plotted our moves. Careful never to leave the table without at least two defenders, we took turns dishing up delicious appetizers and purusing the information about the many wineries and tasting the most promising wines. I’ve never been to such a large wine-tasting event. we ventured off in pairs or solo to try the wines and listen to the vintners wax poetic about their boutique wineries. I learned that although the wine industry in Michigan is well established, prior to the early 1970’s it was primarily dedicated to sweet wines and fruit wines. Wines were traditionally made from native varietals, such as Concord grapes, or from fruits such as apples or cherries. The introduction of European varietals in the early 1970’s is therefore relatively new.

Michigan is better known for its whites than its reds. As a mostly a red wine drinker, I decided to search out the good ones and wandered around the tables to find the likeliest candidates. I tasted several and found some that I liked and some, not so much. I accidentally tried a white wine which I actually enjoyed. I was tricked by the name, Ship of Fools, but it was a good trick as it turns out. I later discovered through the Wine Compass Blog, that this is a unique wine. If nothing else, I’ve found myself a nice white wine for summer weather (if it ever arrives here!).

Of even more interest to me than the wines, having run twelve miles the day before, were the appetizers. I made quite a meal out of the variety of cheeses, salads, olives, nuts, charcuterie, and gourmet macaroni and cheese. Eventually, we were all back at the table and just soaked up the atmosphere. The event was quite diverse in every measure, including expertise about wine. We overheard some quite-serious oenophiles discussing the wines in terms we didn’t quite catch. There were also lots of young people there, dressed up and enjoying the evening without a worry to the proper wine terminology.

My friends and I started gathering up literature and dreaming about a girls’ wine-country trip. Michigan has two wine countries, both along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan. We are leaning towards the southwest part of the state, which is close enough that we could make a day trip but is so full of places to visit that it’s worth a weekend. As we left in a drizzling rain I was glad to have enjoyed a happy evening with friends. I found myself thinking back to my post, My Happiness Challenge, and realized I’d hit on a number of happiness boosters, including smiling, time with friends, and even vacation planning.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy of a night out with friends!

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