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Explore The Pour July 2014 : Page 21

Q&A Michigan red wine is making gains, and Shady Lane Cellars winemaker Adam Satchwell is helping lead the way Northern Michigan is known for its white wines, most notably Rieslings and Pinot Gris, but the region is gaining recognition for its reds. Adam Satchwell, winemaker at Shady Lane Cellars in Leelanau County, is among those who believe that the state’s increasing amount of red wines are just as good (and in some cases even better) than those bottled elsewhere. Satchwell, whose nearly 40 years in the industry includes time in California, recently received recognition for his winemaking skills; his wines earned top honors at the 2014 Riverside International Wine Competition and included two Best of Class awards for red wine that were up against wines entered from all the major states in the U.S., including California, Washington, Oregon, New York and Michigan, among others, as well from as France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and Canada. “This is a pretty big deal in the wine world, confirming these wines are indeed of world-class caliber,” he says. At Shady Lane, red wine is close to 40 percent of its overall production. This compares to about 10 to 15 percent of production at wineries across the region, he says. We caught up with Satchwell to learn more about the state of red wine in Michigan. Q. A. Q. A. First, please tell us why you’re so interest-ed in creating red wine here in Michigan. There are a couple of reasons. One is that at the core of this, I am a natural born contrarian. I’m given to it. So if I’m told, ‘We don’t do that, you can’t do it,’ that’s the first thing I’m looking at. There’s that. And secondly, I am a huge lover of cool climate red wine. It comes from different walks in the wine life that I have undertaken. This is my 39th year in the business and I’ve been exposed to different parts of the country—I’ve worked in retail wine store management and have been exposed to great wines from all over the world. I have this soft spot for cool climate reds. What is the difference between cool climate reds and warm climate reds? There are many different classifications and one is climate. Warm or cool—those are the technical terms and it’s exactly what it sounds like. You think of warm climate with California, some parts of Australia. Cool climate, you tend to have a cooler annual climate—it doesn’t mean it’s much cooler in the growing season though. The annual climate is the length of the growing season. Photography courtesy of Shady Lane Cellars 20 { July 2014 } { The Power of Red Q. A. How does it affect the grapes? In cool, it’s exactly why we do the whites so well—that’s just handed to us. We’ve got just a world-class cool climate region for growing those varieties. There are certain red wine varieties that do well in warm climates, some that do well in cool climates, some that do well in both. What you see is a different expression of the resulting wine. The way I describe the resulting wines: in warm climate, red wines specifically, you tend to have higher alcohols, lower acids and the fruit quality of the wine tend toward denser or jam-y fruit. In cool climate, there’s lower alcohol, higher and brighter acidity and the fruit qualities of wine express themselves as juicy, ripe fruits—think of fresh, juicy ripe strawberries. That’s the difference between the wines—not that one is better that the other. They’re different.

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