Review: 2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Ship of Fools

Crazy Are The Ship Of Fools - Crazy Good, That Is

Rating: Clean, crisp, dry, and food friendly. Impressive and a real surprise.  Bargain.  $15

The Rest of The Story: (Full disclosure: This wine was received as a press sample from the winery.) Wines from lesser known AVA's are fun.  Especially when they are good.  This wine gets an A on both counts.  And you'll never guess where it's from...
We crossed paths with Sean O'Keefe at the cheese table/munching trough at a tasting party on Spring Mountain.  Easy going and affable, he was passing through on his way up to beautiful Boonville for the Anderson Valley Alsace Varietals Festival.  Cards were exchanged, emails followed, and, before long, a sampler pack of Sean's wine arrived.

Our entree to the Chateau Grand Traverse lineup was the Ship Of Fools, a white blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir (pressed white).  Sean had cautioned that their wines are really meant for food, so a mixed cheese platter was laid out.  And, to keep things sane, the wine was served blind to a small gathering.

Super light in color and body, its off-dry aromatics keep it interesting.  In the mouth it has a very dry taste without too much minerality or chalkiness.  Crisp, clean, dry, and with acids that make this a great food wine.  Perfect with the cheese.

Unsolicited comments about the wine's freshness and likability poured forth.  Impressed gulpers then made a closer examination of the slightly grungy (in a cool, hip way) sketched label - and looks of shock and awe were exchanged when the fine print was read.

This wine is from Michigan.

Ha!  Seriously?  Michigan?  Yeah, seriously.  No joke, this wine stands comfortably in the ranks of European whites grown at higher altitude.  Think Alsace, Alto Adige, Austria, Aosta...Chateau Grand Traverse is just outside Traverse City Michigan on a peninsula that juts out into Traverse Bay.  It looks beautiful there.  Sean says the climate there is similar to wine growing regions in the hinterlands of Germany.

No, it's not a mind-bending winegasm of a wine, but it is pretty damn nice. And at $15, you gotta ask why you've never heard of it.  Get some.  You'll be glad you did.

(As a footnote, huge congratulations to Sean and his wife Stacey on the arrival of their first child Molly!)