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Reviews for 2016

May 2016 - Midwest Wine Challenge

May 2016 - Midwest Wine Challenge
This month's Wine feature is Midwest Wine Challenge Wines

Midwest Wine Challenge Reviews

Illinois Sparkling Co. 2013 Extra Brut Illinois
94 points
$24.99
Bright medium golden straw color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of pineapple soufflé, baklava, and delicate fresh herbs with a glycerous, tangy, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length kiwi and lemon, tart green apple, and praline finish with crunchy, fine, fruit tannins and no oak. A lovely, crisp, and invigorating Cava-like sparkler.
Awards: 2016 Best Illinois Sparkling Wine
94 points $24.99
Forgotten Fire NV "Hot Mess" American
93 points
$15
Best Buy
Bright medium ruby color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of honeyed sour cherries, toasted cranberry-orange bread, and hint of mint with a soft, lively, off-dry medium-to-full body and a warming, amusing, medium-length finish with fruit tannins and no oak. A delicious, well-poised cherry wine that’s not too sweet and will be great with pork.
Awards: 2016 Best Wisconsin Fruit Wine
93 points $15 Best Buy
Calico Skies 2014  Chambourcin
93 points
$18.95
Best Buy
Dark deep purple color. Bright, creamy, fruity aromas and flavors of blackberry chutney, creme brulee, fines herbes, and dried flowers with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, elegant, medium-long craisin, pencil shavings, vanilla nuts, and coconut milk finish with light oak. A delightfully savory, earthy and spicy red wine with a great complexity and sense of place.
Awards: 2016 Best Iowa Red Wine
93 points $18.95 Best Buy
Illinois Sparkling Co. 2012 "Frankens" French Hybrid Brut Illinois
93 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Bright light pink coral color. Bright, fresh, fruity aromas and flavors of peaches in cream, strawberries shortcake, and lemon chiffon with a soft, lively, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-length cranberry sauce on crepes, citrus marmalade, and custard finish with fine, crunchy tannins and no oak. A very pretty, flavorful and refreshing rosé sparkler.
93 points $19.99 Best Buy
Stone Hill 2013  Chambourcin
92 points
$12.99
Best Buy
Bright medium nearly opaque deep color. Delicate, savory, fruity meaty toasty aromas and flavors of dried berries, smoked ham, and melted chocolate with a glycerous, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, medium-long tart sour cherries, praline, and chocolate creme brulee finish with chewy tannins and light oak. A chewy, fruity, nicely balanced red wine that will cover a lot of bases.
Awards: 2016 Best Missouri Red Wine
92 points $12.99 Best Buy
Calico Skies 2014 "Deebo" Iowa
92 points
$24.95
Nearly opaque violet color. Bright, attractive aromas and flavors of warm chocolate covered nuts, pecan pie, and loganberry jam on dark toast with a satiny, crisp, fruity medium body and a smooth, complex, medium-long dried sour cherry, spiced blood orange and beets, creamy vanilla nougat, and cedar finish with well-integrated, chewy, dusty tannins. A concentrated, structured red with lots of ripe fruit and a captivating, savory twist.
92 points $24.95
Lemon Creek 2013 Meritage Lake Michigan Shore
92 points
$25
Ruby black color. Bright, attractive, interesting aromas and flavors of chocolate turtles, baked raspberries, smoked nuts and peppercorns, and tobacco with a silky, racy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, complex, medium-long cranberry, tapioca, slate, and sandalwood finish with moderate oak. A delightfully snappy and appetizing red blend that will be great at the table.
Awards: 2016 Best Michigan White Wine
Lemon Creek 2013  Malbec
92 points
$36
Nearly opaque violet color. Rich, sweet, fruity attractive aromas and flavors of watermelon sorbet, Montmorency cherries, and honey with a supple, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a graceful, intriguing, medium-length pomegranate, ripe blackberries, nutskin, and cedar finish. A vivacious, zesty malbec with a great range of pure and unique fruit flavors.
Awards: 2016 Best Michigan Red Wine
Calico Skies 2014 Cranberry Iowa
91 points
$17
Best Buy
Bright light Siam color. Fruity aromas and flavors of fresh cranberries and relish and toasty brown rice tea with a silky, tart, off-dry medium body and a smooth, compelling, medium-length tamarind, hibiscus tea, and chalk finish with coating, fine tannins. A very pure and nuanced cranberry wine.
Awards: 2016 Best Iowa Dessert Wine
91 points $17 Best Buy
Calico Skies 2013  Frontenac
91 points
$18.95
Garnet color. Rich, attractive, fresh aromas and flavors of milk chocolate covered strawberries, granola, and black raspberry pie with a silky, vibrant, fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length spiced cherries and cranberries, nut brittle, cedar, and earth finish with light oak. A fun, refreshing red with lots of attractive tangy red fruit and chocolate flavors.
91 points $18.95
Lemon Creek 2013 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon
91 points
$28
Garnet black color. Bright, spicy, toasty aromas and flavors of spiced berries and nuts, cedar, and suede with a supple, tangy, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, refreshing, medium-long pomegranate-lime compote, almond skin, marinated beets, and pencil shavings finish with crunchy, well-integrated tannins and light oak. A zesty, refreshing cabernet with deft use of oak that will excel at the table.
Easley 2015 Unoaked Chardonnay
90 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Pale silvery emerald straw color. Bright, tropical aromas and flavors of tropical fruit salad, grapefruit custard, and spiced apples with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, reduced lemon, fresh fruit cocktail, and nuts finish with no oak. A vibrant, savory chardonnay with a lot of sauvignon-blanc-like character that will shine at the table.
Awards: 2016 Best Indiana White Wine
90 points $9.99 Best Buy
Calico Skies 2014  Geisenheim
90 points
$16
Best Buy
Silvery emerald straw color. Bright, interesting, spicy savory floral aromas and flavors of pickled melon, spiced peaches, and violet candy with a silky, crisp, fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, lime preserves, green apple, lychee, and limestone finish with fine, crunchy, fruit tannins and no oak. A wonderfully refreshing and flavorful white wine that will be very versatile.
Awards: 2016 Best Iowa White Wine
90 points $16 Best Buy
Stone Hill 2013 Late Harvest Estate Bottled Vignoles
90 points
$19.99
Bright medium old gold color. Bright, fruity, inviting aromas of peaches & cream, lemon honey, green nectarines, and golden raisin with a supple, bright, sweet full body and a polished, medium-long finish with soft tannins and no oak.
90 points $19.99
Lemon Creek 2013 Estate Grown Pinot Noir
90 points
$20
Light ruby color. Bright aromas and flavors of dried cherry, honey roasted nuts, and spice with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, compelling, medium-long nutskin, cocoa, cedar, and blood orange finish with light oak. A crisp, clean, nicely articulated pinot noir with attractive dried cherry flavors.
Calico Skies 2012  Marquette
90 points
$32
Garnet black color. Bright, smoky aromas and flavors of charred nuts, dark olives, cranberry-orange relish, and hint of newspaper ink and iron rich blood with a supple, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a silky, interesting, plum, blood orange, praline, and beets finish with moderate oak. A somewhat rustic red with a lot of flavor twists and turns that ultimately resolves on a savory high note.
Calico Skies 2014 Raspberry Iowa
89 points
$14
Best Buy
Dark ruby garnet color. Bold, fresh, fruity pure aromas and flavors of ripe raspberries and raspberry compote with a satiny, tart, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, charming, easy hints of grilled apple and melon finish with dusty, fine tannins. A nice pure raspberry wine.
89 points $14 Best Buy
Stone Hill 2013 Estate Bottled Norton
89 points
$18.99
Opaque dark bright deep purple color. Bright, fruity, funky toasty aromas and flavors of blackberry compote, caramelized bacon, and hint of charcoal and crayon with a supple, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-length plum and char-roasted nuts finish with firm, well-integrated tannins and moderate oak. A dry, savory norton for the table or cellar.
89 points $18.99
Stone Hill 2014 Estate Bottled Chardonel
88 points
$11.49
Best Buy
Emerald straw color. Delicate, fruity aromas and flavors of ripe pineapple and spiced apple with a silky, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, charming, medium-length praline and vanilla finish with light oak. A rock solid chardonnel sipper with nice balance of fruit and oak.
Awards: 2016 Best Missouri White Wine
88 points $11.49 Best Buy
Calico Skies 2014  Brianna
88 points
$16
Bright yellow straw color. Fruity, funky aromas of grapey, peach pit, roasted turnips, and scorched lime peel with an crisp, off-dry medium-to-full body and a warming, delightful, fleeting finish with papery tannins and no oak.
Calico Skies 2013 Blueberry Iowa
88 points
$17
Garnet violet color. Lively, spicy aromas and flavors of fresh ground nutmeg and blueberry cobbler a la mode with a silky, crisp, off-dry light-to-medium body and a sleek, stimulating, breezy hint of nougat, pressed flowers, and minerals finish with fine, dusty tannins and no oak. A crisp tangy blueberry wine; try in cocktails.
Stone Hill 2009 Blanc de Blanc Missouri
88 points
$18.99
Bright light golden straw color. Lively, earthy aromas and flavors of dried fruits and rubber leaf with an even, tangy, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a graceful, distinctive, medium-length gooseberry puree, lemon-lime curd, and chalk finish with dusty, chewy, fruit tannins and no oak. A vibrant, appetizing sparkler with racy acidity that will cut through rich foods like a knife.
88 points $18.99
Lemon Creek 2013  Cabernet Franc
88 points
$20
Ruby black color. Delicate aromas and flavors of sweet pickle relish, spiced cherries and loganberries, and herb blossoms with a supple, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and an effortless, breezy melon rind, mulberries, nutskin, and cedar finish with firm, earthy tannins and moderate oak. A bright, refreshing cabernet with good varietal character and fine acidity for the table.
Lemon Creek 2013  Merlot
88 points
$20
Dark garnet color. Delicate, savory, herbal aromas and flavors of carob nut bar, baked and dried berries, leather, and dried herbs with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, easy craisin, roasted nuts, and earth finish with chewy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. A nice, dry, savory, table friendly merlot.
Easley NV Reggae White Blend
87 points
$6.99
Best Buy
Bright pale light yellow straw color. Lively, fruity aromas of spiced ripe green apples, key lime custard, dried leaves, and gauze with a chewy, crisp, sweet medium-full body and a smooth, engaging, brisk finish with cottony tannins and no oak.
87 points $6.99 Best Buy
Easley 2015  Riesling
87 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Silvery straw color. Delicate, fresh, fruity aromas and flavors of white peach, ripe yellow apple, and clementine with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, stimulating, breezy finish with fine, fruit tannins and no oak. A tasty, fruity riesling that is an easy sipper.
87 points $9.99 Best Buy
Stone Hill 2014 Steinberg Red Blend Missouri
87 points
$11.49
Best Buy
Ruby violet color. Bright, fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of caramelized red berries, chocolate rice bar, and melon with a satiny, tangy, off-dry medium body and a smooth, charming, cheery berry jam on toast and caramel pear finish with no oak. A nice uncomplicated off-dry red sipper that will be good with ’cue.
87 points $11.49 Best Buy
Northleaf Winery NV Sunnyview Orchard Blush Rosé American
87 points
$12
Best Buy
Minutely hazy dull coral orange color. Lively, odd, sourish aromas and flavors of pomegranate-cherry gastrique and white toffee with a soft, bright, fruity medium-full body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length honeyed sour cherry, yellow apple, and nuts finish with well-integrated tannins. A carefree sipper.
87 points $12 Best Buy
Calico Skies NV Sweet Licks Iowa
87 points
$16
Brilliant clear ruby color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of red berry nut tart and grape popsicle and seltzer with a silky, tangy, petillant, off-dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, buoyant cranberry and sour cherry sorbets and red grape skins finish with soft, crunchy, fruit tannins and no oak. A nice, grapey off-dry wine with mouthwatering acidity.
Stone Hill NV Brut Rosé Missouri
87 points
$18.99
Bright light medium steely pink color. Lively, fruity aromas and flavors of berry sorbet and jam and waxy honeycomb with a soft, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, layered, medium-length mulberries, aloe, yeasty brioche, and chalk finish with dusty, chewy, fruit tannins and no oak. A very crisp and tangy, mouthwatering sparkling rose.
87 points $18.99
Lemon Creek 2013 Reserve Merlot
87 points
$25
Brown brick red color. Delicate aromas and flavors of chocolate berries and nuts, olive tapenade, and toasted herbs with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, engaging, breezy dried cherries, nut skin and shell, vanilla and spice, and birch bark and beer finish with crunchy, barky tannins and light oak. A chewy, zesty merlot for the table.
Easley NV Cranberry Jubilee
86 points
$7.99
Best Buy
Bright medium light steely pink color. Delicate, fruity aromas and flavors of cranberry toffee and relish and delicate fresh herbs with a satiny, lively, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a peppery, delightful, medium-length cranberry-orange sorbet, chalk, and faint medicinal herbs and barks finish with dusty, fine tannins and no oak. A pure, tangy, and vibrant cranberry wine that will be great with cheeses and desserts.
86 points $7.99 Best Buy
Illinois Sparkling Co. 2011 Brut Illinois
86 points
$19.99
Bright light medium yellow straw color. Lively, herbal, exotic umami aromas and flavors of prickly pear, exotic tropical citrus, Asian herbs and incense, and aloe with an even, racy, finely carbonated, fruity full body and a peppery, interesting, brisk white cranberry, green nectarine skin, menthol-eucalyptus lozenge, and Meyer lemon finish with fine tannins. A very distinctive and exotic herbal aperitif sparkler; try in cocktails too.
86 points $19.99
Stone Hill 2012 Port Missouri
86 points
$19.99
Medium bright burnt sienna color. Bright, grainy, fruity minerally aromas of sweet breakfast cereal - "captain crunch", mulberries - cedar, river gravel bars, and cherry licorice with an tangy, moderately sweet full body and a warming, refreshing, brisk finish with barky, crunchy, firm tannins and moderate oak.
86 points $19.99
Easley NV Barrel Red Wine
85 points
$7.99
Bright light medium dark ruby color. Bright, jammy, funky aromas of grapey - cherried mash up, gauze, and lemon pith with an crisp, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, interesting, breezy finish with soft tannins and no oak.
85 points $7.99
Humble Bee Vineyards  Southern Bell Honey Wine Lake Erie
85 points
$9.99
Pale yellow straw color. Rich, fruity, green aromas and flavors of chestnut honeycomb, spiced peaches and plantains, suede, and pressed flowers with a soft, fruity full body and a warming, appealing, fast grape skins and pips, melon rind, birch bark, and spring water finish. An intriguing and rather elegant, lighter styled aperitif mead or for cocktails.
85 points $9.99
Stone Hill 2014  Vignoles
85 points
$11.49
Bright medium golden straw color. Bright, fruity, tropical aromas and flavors of spiced pineapple, grilled mango, and honeysuckle with an even, vibrant, off-dry medium-full body and a warming, delightful, breezy green apple sauce, peach-vanilla custard, and nuts finish with firm tannins and no oak. A very fruity and appealing white that will appeal to chardonnay fans.
85 points $11.49
Stone Hill NV Dry Rosé Missouri
85 points
$11.49
Bright medium ruby color. Delicate, savory aromas and flavors of dried berry and banana and nut brittle with an even, crisp, fruity medium-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-length strawberry and yellow apple finish with fine tannins and no oak. A pleasant, nicely balanced rosé.
85 points $11.49
Easley NV "I Think" Red Blend
85 points
$14.99
Bright medium dark garnet color. Lively, fruity, toasty jammy aromas and flavors of warm berry custard and compote, pencil shavings, carob nut bar, and Playdoh with a soft, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a tingling, engaging, brisk blood orange, lime powder, chalk, and bark finish with crunchy tannins and no oak. A nice tangy, appetizing red with perky acidity and tannins.
85 points $14.99
Falling Waters Winery NV Blueberry Wine Michigan
85 points
$15
Bright medium garnet color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of cranberry-blueberry relish, pickled melon, and flower patch earth with a glycerous, tangy, off-dry medium-to-full body and a tingling, relaxed spicy blueberry chutney, candied citrus, and honey finish with crunchy, earthy tannins and no oak. A crisp, pure, spicy fruit wine.
Stone Hill 2014 Estate Bottled Vidal Blanc
84 points
$7.99
Silvery straw color. Delicate, earthy, fruity aromas and flavors of melon sorbet and bruised apple with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a graceful, brisk citrus and earth finish. A pleasant light white quaffer.
84 points $7.99
Stone Hill 2014 Estate Bottled Traminette
84 points
$11.49
Bright pale light yellow straw color. Bright, green, tropical fruity aromas and flavors of green apple on the tree, papaya, and melon with an even, tangy, petillant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, brisk apple skin, clementine, honeycomb, and limestone finish with dusty, fruit tannins and no oak. A slightly spritzy apple-y white that is reminiscent of a fruity vinho verde.
84 points $11.49
Forgotten Fire NV "White Hot Mess" Vignoles
84 points
$15
Bright light yellow straw color. Aromas and flavors of sweet pickle juice, rubber sap, nectarine pit, and kiwi and guineps with a chewy, bright, off-dry medium-to-full body and a tingling, compelling, medium-length honeyed melon balls, apple sauce, lychee, and Asian pear finish with dusty, crunchy tannins and no oak. A very fruity quaffer of bbq wine.
Awards: 2016 Best Wisconsin White Wine
Northleaf Winery NV Town Square Series Semillon
84 points
$15
Bright gold color. Earthy, floral aromas and flavors of dried flowers in a vase and bruised melon and apple with a soft, tart, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, brisk kiwi and nutskin finish with no oak. A snappy semillon for the table.
Calico Skies NV Sun Dog Iowa
84 points
$16
Bright medium light ruby color. Lively, fruity, citrusy sulfurous aromas of red rhubarb, cherry licorice, cherry taffy, and asparagus - lemon pith with a crisp, medium-to-full body and a peppery, engaging, brisk finish with chewy tannins and no oak.
Forgotten Fire NV "A Sinful Pear" Pear Wine American
84 points
$16
Bright pale white gold color. Delicate, fruity, earthy aromas and flavors of dried pear and tree leaves with an even, tangy, off-dry medium-to-full body and a tingling, engaging, cheery honeyed melon rind, earth, and nutshell finish with dusty, earthy tannins and no oak. A pleasant, off-dry pear wine for cheeses.
Forgotten Fire NV "Glowing Embers" Traminette
83 points
$15
Bright light medium emerald straw color. Bright, earthy, grassy aromas and flavors of fallen apple, nutskin, melon rind, and chalk with a lean, lively, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, brisk apple bobbing water, lemon spritz, starfruit, and lime powder finish with dusty, leafy, fruit tannins and no oak. A dry shellfish wine.
Calico Skies 2013  Traminette
83 points
$16
Golden yellow color. Delicate, earthy, floral aromas and flavors of carnation and geranium, green nectarine, and lychee with a soft, dryish light body and a polished, fast nut oil, rose water, green apple skin, and flower patch finish. A dainty, delicately floral dry white wine sipper.
Northleaf Winery NV John Alexander Warehouse White Gewurztraminer
82 points
$12
Bright gold color. Delicate, toasty, fruity yeasty aromas and flavors of apple-peach custard pie, brazil nut, and lime yogurt with a soft, dry light body and a smooth, short-lived apple and nut skins, fruit pith, and moss finish with dusty, cottony tannins and no oak. A very dry and lean white table wine.
Northleaf Winery NV Savage White Sauvignon Blanc
82 points
$13
Bright gold color. Mild, interesting, unusual aromas and flavors of smores, granola in Greek yogurt, and spiced nuts with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, interesting, breezy baked apple and lemon and grassy earth finish. An intriguing white for the table.
Falling Waters Winery NV Waterfalls White Michigan
81 points
$13
Bright light white gold color. Bright, earthy, fruity citrusy funky aromas and flavors of rice cracker, fresh cut grass, dried fruits and mushroom, and lanolin lotion with an even, lively, off-dry medium-to-full body and a smooth, stimulating, brisk green apple skin, green persimmon, and moss finish with dusty, fruit tannins. A crisp, lightly fruity quaffer.
Calico Skies 2013  Frontenac Gris
81 points
$16
Golden straw color. Bright, toasty aromas and flavors of honeyed raisin toast and dried peaches with a lightly tannic, puckering, sourish light-to-medium body and a tingling, perplexing, short lemon juice, green apple skin and core, and nutskin finish with no oak. A very tart dry white wine for oysters.
Falling Waters Winery NV  Vignoles
81 points
$17
Pale silvery emerald straw color. Bright, green, savory aromas and flavors of herb muffin, dried peach and papaya, coconut flake, and canvas tent with a lightly tannic, tart, dryish medium-to-full body and a tingling, brisk gooseberry, mulch, and gherkin finish with cottony tannins. An angular, savory white for the table.
Lemon Creek 2013  Shiraz
81 points
$22
Garnet black color. Bright, savory aromas and flavors of briny olives, baked raisins, and leather with a lightly tannic, crisp, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, quick charcoal, charred peppers, cedar mulch and bark, and acorns finish with moderate oak. A very dry and austere red for the table.
Lemon Creek 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc
81 points
$25
Dusty garnet color. Mild, woody aromas and flavors of cedar and dried berries with a supple, bright, bone-dry medium body and a sparse whole nuts, pomegranate, and mulch and bark finish with firm, barky tannins and heavy oak. A lean red with a lot of oak and tannins.
Stone Hill NV Golden Rhine White Blend Missouri
80 points
$7.99
Bright light yellow straw color. Lively, weird aromas and flavors of char-grilled pineapple husk and insecticide with an even, soft, very sweet medium-to-full body and a tingling, brisk melon, guanabana, and mossy earth finish with dusty, earthy tannins and no oak. A funky, medicinal, off-dry white.
80 points $7.99
Stone Hill 2014 Steinberg White Blend Missouri
80 points
$11.49
Pale yellow straw color. Delicate, citrusy, fruity toasty tropical aromas and flavors of baked tropical fruits and apples and spiced nuts with an even, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, compelling, brisk bruised apple and pear, honey, overripe melon, and rattan finish with dusty, leafy tannins and no oak.
80 points $11.49
Falling Waters Winery NV Nights on Noquebay Michigan
80 points
$17
Bright light silvery emerald straw color. Mild, earthy aromas and flavors of dried fruit pits, damp earth and chives, and flour sack with a lean, crisp, dry medium body and a tingling, brisk melon rind, apple core, lemon pulp, and rice paper finish with dusty, papery tannins and no oak. A dry, rather austere and earthy white for oysters.
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