Call of Leadership

The Call of Leadership

In this episode, Andy Jacobson, Tasting Room Manager for Mari Vineyards, shares with us not only some of their great wines but also how to do a proper tasting at a wine room. We talk about how to properly clean your pallet, what to focus on with aromas, and how to take the stress off of tasting wine.

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Cliff Duvernois: So what makes Michigan a great state? I’m glad you asked. 

Cliff Duvernois: My name is Cliff Duvernois and I’m on a quest to answer that exact question. After 20 years, I’ve returned to my native Michigan, and I’m looking to reconnect with my home state. I’m talking to the people who are behind Michigan’s great businesses and top destinations, the same people who work hard every day to make our lives a little bit brighter.

Cliff Duvernois: And you Michigander are coming along for the ride. 

Cliff Duvernois: This is the Call of Leadership podcast.

Cliff Duvernois: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another episode of the Call of Leadership podcast.

Cliff Duvernois: And today is a very special episode. And what he did is if you go back to episode 12, I talked to Sean O’Keeffe from Mari vineyards and he walked us through the process that he uses to actually start to create, uh, the wonderful wines that are for sale at Mari vineyards. Well, I also made contact with, uh, gentlemen by the name by Andy Jacobson, who is the tasting room manager.

Cliff Duvernois: And I said, you know, I would really like to do an episode about how to do a proper tasting cuz so many times, and I’m even guilty of this myself. I see people come in, they go to a tasting room, they get a glass of wine. They, they dump it in their mouth. They treat it almost like a shot at tequila. And they’re like, oh, I don’t like this.

Cliff Duvernois: I don’t like that. Whatever. So what I wanted to do is I wanted to really take some time today to kind of explore not only some of the wines that Mari vineyard has, but also kind of like the, the, the process so to speak. So anybody who’s coming in, even if you don’t have a pallet that’s designed for wine could come in and enjoy it.

Cliff Duvernois: So with that being said, please welcome to the show. Andy Jacobson, the tasting room manager at Mari vineyards. Andy, how are you? I’m

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: well. Thanks cliff.

Cliff Duvernois: Awesome. Great. So before we get started here, cause I know we’re gonna actually sample a couple wines, which I’m also excited about. Why don’t you talk to us a little bit about if, when somebody comes in and they’re thinking about trying some wines, what are some of the things that they should think about?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Sure. First and foremost, one of the big things when somebody comes in, I think to keep in mind is that it’s a tasting. And so really if you peel back a little bit of, of what people’s perceptions of a tasting are, I think one of the things is, is step outside your comfort zone.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: It’s okay with the tasting to not like every wine that you’re gonna sample. Right. But you’re not in for a big commitment if you don’t like it. It’s okay to pick a few things that you might see as like comfort wines. Like if you know, you like drinking, Sauvignon Blanc, if a place has it, by all means, try it. And one of the other fun things you can do is throughout your journey.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: If you’re visiting a few tasting rooms is you can try Sauvignon Blancs from a couple different places and get a, it gives you a feel of what a winery’s kind of wine making is all about. And you might be able to hone in even like, wow, I really like the way, you know, Mari vineyards is making their wine stylistically versus maybe another tasting room that you visit.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So I always encourage, you can try some things the same from different places, but try some things you like, but then also look at the list. If there’s things that seem peculiar, ask your person, your server, ask the person pouring you wines. Is there anything you are known for your winery?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Is there anything that you make that’s just different or interesting? Those are some very I think obvious strategies to us like behind the bar that we think about when we probably approach wine and wine tasting and enjoying wine at other wineries when we visit that sometimes just get lost in translation.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I think there’s a little bit of this feeling that exists in people that it’s like, they’re, you’re putting money down on this. So it’s, there’s a, you wanna value out of it. And not just an experience. And I think coming with that, maybe more value centric line of thinking. You’re like, I’m gonna pick five wines that I, I recognize, or I know I like, and there’s a comfort there and I get the most bang for my buck. But really stepping outside of your comfort zone is the name of the game with tasting.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: It it’s really about, jumping out and being like, man, I, I don’t normally drink this type of wine, but I’m gonna try it. And because maybe my tastes are evolving or maybe this winery is making it in a way that’s different from any wines I’ve had in the past that are maybe representative of, of the grape that I might recognize, or just in a Northern Michigan sense.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You know, you’ve tried some Northern Michigan reds and you’ve been like, just, nothing’s really kind of hit. Or landed really well with me. Right. You know, give it a shot here if you’ve never been, and you’ve never explored reds, that might be a great thing to attack our list for. I mean, it’s one of those things we’ve been known for, or kind of building a little bit of steam with.

Cliff Duvernois: So let’s talk about, uh, something you said earlier tricked a thought in my head.

Cliff Duvernois: Let’s talk about the taste evolving. Yeah. Okay. So I have my own theories on this, but I would really love to hear from, from your perspective. So if somebody’s brand new yeah. And they’re coming in and they’re, they’re wanting to, some, try some things, where would you steer them and then, from there, what, how would their journey go?

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. If somebody kind of approaches and they’re, we’re new to this, we’re we maybe don’t have a lot of experience with wine, but we’re trying to get into it. Or we’ve never been to a winery before. This is our first visit to a tasting room. Anytime I hear some of those markers, like the first thing I think of with these people is just to be like, cool.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Tell me a little bit about your own wine drinking experience and whether it’s very vast or it’s very minimal. It’s that allows us to pull a little bit of information from them so we can get it a little bit of an idea of maybe what they’ve had. And if there’s like likes and dislikes, cuz we can build on that in any way, even if it’s not very vast, like I had said have they tried dryer stuff?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: If they told us they like sweeter stuff, we can hit some of those markers where our wine list generally skews a little bit more on the dryer side. We can pull some things out that it might be dry, but might still be surprisingly like fruit forward and crisp and very easy to drink and very palatable for somebody that might be a little bit new to the game.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So for me, there’s a certain amount of enjoyment and fun in, in talking and chatting with those people and pouring for those people, because those are where you get those like light bulb moments where they’re the wheels are turning as they’re trying the wines and things are clicking and they’re like, oh my gosh, I, I never, would’ve probably tried this on my own, but I like it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And that’s right there. That’s kind of what we wanna do. That’s how you’re exactly. Yeah. That’s where like it’s the most enjoyable, I think for us,

Cliff Duvernois: you know, you bring up a really good point there, and that is talking to the people. There’s a lot of times where I will come to a vineyard in Michigan and I’m handed a menu and they say mark off the four that you would like to try.

Cliff Duvernois: And I do that, but I don’t ask any questions about it. It’s kind of based a little bit on the descriptions. Yeah. So from my personal example, I am not a big Oak guy. Sure. Now there’s been some where it’s, you know, they’ve said, oh, you know, fruit forward and da, da, and I’ve checked that box and it’s like drinking an Oak tree.

Cliff Duvernois: Sure. And I almost feel like I wasted that pouring. So I think that’s very valuable to actually speak to the people behind the counter and say, Hey, I’m thinking about trying these for what are your thoughts? What are some things that I should know about them?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. And that’s I tell people with those coming from that angle cliff, I always tell people it’s, it’s absolutely okay to make selections, but you can also ask questions before we start pouring.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: If you’re picking wines and you’re like, Ooh, this one seems interesting, but I’m not a big Oak guy. We might say, Ooh, okay. Well, like let’s look at that and I’ll, I can tell you a little bit about this wine, cuz it is gonna be an Oak for some amount of time, but look at it as, as much as you could say, all wines are not created equal.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You could also be like, all Oak aging is not created equal or, or all, fermentations are not created equal in the

Cliff Duvernois: sense, certainly,

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Just because the wine spent some time in Oak, we’re doing some very different things with some of ’em and so the Oak, while it might be present in part of a wine’s production, like from our wine making it may not be the big, like over the top hitch over the head tasting a lot of the wood flavors that are there.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Cause we’re doing some things that are just a little bit different, I think, than what some places are with some of the Oak and some of that has to do with just the vessels that we’re using. So, right. Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah. So what you’re saying is keep an open mind.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Exactly, exactly.

Cliff Duvernois: Beautiful. So let’s go ahead and jump into one of your wines.

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So I’m gonna start, this is actually gonna be our 2018 GRÜNER Veltliner that we’re making. And this is a kind of like, we’ll say like a little more middle of the wine list there, but as far as our white wines go this is one of the very, peculiar white wines that we’re making in a sense. And I, and I say peculiar, and maybe that doesn’t pitch it in the best light, but really what I’m getting at with this is it’s, there’s always a certain amount of like consistency and flavor or like a like representative sing or aesthetic with wines from an area, I think and that’s that belief of like teir, you can taste where a wine is from essentially is what people are referring to in a nutshell.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Right. And really when you’re tasting white wines, I, I always will jokingly tell people that you could really like shot in the dark tasting a white wine blind. You could throw out a couple markers for flavor, maybe more in the fruit world apples pears. And you could be as broad as that.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And, and people could maybe to a degree be like, okay, this person is kind of, they’re dialed in a little bit. They might know what they’re talking about a little bit. Grüner is fun for me because it kind of takes a left hand turn very much away from a lot of that. This wine’s flavor markers are less fruit forward and a little more like savory in nature.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So thinking things like basal celery seed, it’s got this really nice touch of almost like a white pepper kind of subtle kind of spice driven taste to it on the finish. 

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So it’s, it’s very fun for us to kind of put this in front of people. 

Cliff Duvernois: So I wanna ask two questions here real quick and we’ll dive, jump into this. off,

Cliff Duvernois: When we first started this interview, you dump some moisture crackers down on the bar, which not everybody does.

Cliff Duvernois: Sure. So why is this important?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I think it’s a good way to start things. Now we do let the customer dictate this a little bit based on their own their approach to it because every there’s gonna be lots of different things that people have you know, pallet cleansers, a yay or a nay as far as necessity.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And that’s essentially what the crackers will function as rinsing glasses between wines. That becomes another thing. Yay or

Cliff Duvernois: ah, okay.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: can touch base a little bit on that. So if I get off track on that, don’t try and remember to remind me a little bit, cuz cuz I have my own opinions on it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Right. But for the crackers right away outta the shoot, people are gonna come in here, right from breakfast. They’re gonna come in here right from their hotel. Maybe they did or didn’t have breakfast. Maybe they just brushed their teeth. Maybe they, if they’re a smoker, maybe they were out smoking in their car right before they came in.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: All of those things will have an impact directly on the wine that you’re gonna taste. And so the crackers become a nice, quick kind of pallet cleanser in the sense of like, if somebody. We’ll use the toothbrushing, example, I think, cuz that, that becomes the most, I think it’s just easy to kind of reconcile that it’s, you know, if you just were brushing your teeth and it was the last thing you did before you came in here, you’ve got that toothpaste taste in your mouth, which is great.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You’re chatting to people were up close and personal it’s not a bad thing. The downside is, is toothpaste will definitely have an impact on how your wines are gonna taste. Definitely. I mean, think about it as you’re brushing your teeth and then the whole having orange juice analogy that everybody’s all too familiar with.

Cliff Duvernois: yes.

Cliff Duvernois: All too

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: The same thing is gonna happen when you’re tasting wines, they will just be off. And so the crackers are a great kind of hay, whether they grab at ’em right away or not, we’re usually not like, Hey, let’s start with a couple crackers. I think the easiest tactic is to just simply be like, okay, like we have ’em there.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: If somebody wants ’em and, and generally speaking, most people will start to nibble on ’em even just subconsciously. Right. But it’s basically that it’s a pallet cleanser. You can do it right before you start tasting. The other thing is in between each wine, you can do a quick reset, with your own kind of taste buds in your own pallet to just a quick cracker or two in between each one.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Water doesn’t hurt either. Not so much in the sense of, like I mentioned earlier, like maybe rinsing glassware but even just a quick sip can help reset that a little bit to, cuz going from wine to wine, we try to, as best we can keep people in an order for tasting that makes sense.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Mm-hmm where the next wine should build from where you were and not have the previous wine have overpowered it. So there is a method to the man is when a staff member’s trying to have you pick wines and then guide you through ’em they’ve got a little bit of a strategy in their head that they’ve learned in the sense of, we have an order for that.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: We think it’s gonna be best that you try our wines in that we can of not have the wines. Just do things to one another and maybe we can present them in a way where we think it’s it’s gonna progress and it’s gonna be the best way for maybe, hopefully having you enjoy the wines, but also maybe take some home, say, Hey, beautiful.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: We really like these. We like the way they tasted. They’ve of worked through this tasting and we’re gonna NAB a couple to take with so

Cliff Duvernois: beautiful. for this actually very beautiful looking white wine that you poured for us when we approach this and we want to taste it, why don’t you walk us a little bit through how we should taste it?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. Tasting, I often look at, if you, if you wanna say sensory wise it’s gonna directly relate to four of ’em and then and you really can say, I mean, I guess if you wanna believe, we’ve got that sixth, that umami, that savory sense, you could say six senses.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Four of which five, sorry to include that in mommy. You’re gonna directly use with tasting really the only odd man out in a wine tasting is your, is your hearing. But I guess in the sense of like you’re listening to a server, you’ll hear people, or sometimes we often see people that when they taste before they taste, they’ll cling their glasses together.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yes. Some of the reason for that is people are like, Hey, it just gets, it’s another little sensory thing it now has we get to hear that nice kind of sound of the glass clinking before we evaluate a wine. But really what you’re looking at is getting everything else involved.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Right away you can start site, hold the wine up. Most of the times you’re given a paper menu, you can look at the menu from a sense of, as a background to the wine. So hold the wine up right over that sheet of paper. And then what are you looking for? Obvious color gradient.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: What are you seeing again, white wines are gonna have a really wide spectrum of, of how they look and, and how they present can maybe. just fundamentally tell you some different things about it. Does it have a very deep dark hue to it? Are you drinking a wine that’s maybe a little bit older as wine’s age, they can develop almost like a patina of, of aging where you’ll see more richer colors.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Was the wine in Oak that’s gonna probably have a little bit of an impact on the color. Was it not an Oak? Just the grape itself. Was there any skin contact maybe that kind of happened during processing that would have a little bit more pigment to it? Cuz you could see white wines, in the case of this Grüner for those listening, obviously it’s harder to gauge something like this, but it’s gonna be a somewhat pale white wine maybe in comparison to some of the other whites that we have.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: The next biggie that you’ll see is, is usually a lot of swirling, as people are gonna start to wanna smell the wine and take in a little bit of those aromas in that bouquet, if you will, so you’ll see people give it a swirl in the glass now, swirling that we see can be from the very violent to just the very delicate, and I would kinda.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: It doesn’t take much the shape of a wine glass is usually going to taper or kind of narrow out of that bowl. And the idea for that is to not have those aromas just fly out of there. So fast.

Cliff Duvernois: So let me ask you this question. Why do we even do this in the first place? Why do we swirl the glass?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Sure. So what happens when you swirl is there’s a little bit of a friction between the glass and the wine that causes a little bit of evaporation. When that happens, those aromas are released out of it. And that all has to do with, scientific properties of alcohol and other things that are in the wine.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: That’s essentially some of what’s happening is that evaporation effect from the friction of the wine swirling around the glass, a lot of times people will observe things like legs in the wine,

Cliff Duvernois: of mm-hmm to

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: the glass. That’s also a mechanism of that when you’ve swirled the wine around, you’ve changed that wine that is clung to the glass, very, in a very slight way, albeit but enough that the wine kind of clings to the glassware a little differently.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And so you start to see these tears run down. Yes. That can be a whole separate side discussion on, on wine tears in, in, in all of the, the thoughts and thinking behind all of that, whether good bad does it equate to quality?

Cliff Duvernois: we’ll keep it simple. We’ll keep it simple.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: But that’s one of those things where you’re kinda say, and then really, if there’s anything I tell people too, is is that this point where you’re swirling and you’re going to smell the wine, get right in there.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And I can’t emphasize that enough, get your nose right in there. I like that because you’re not gonna, you’re certainly of all places, you’re not gonna look weird in a tasting room, really jumping in there and smelling that wine. And then really it’s, breathing it in there. And I always do a nice, drawn in through my nose, a little bit of an exhale through my mouth.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You have your old factory nerve is back there and that’s, you’ve got a lot of sensory stuff happening there. And so when you’re smelling then now is where you peel back a little bit. I always think start broad. What are you smelling? And I like to tell people, this is a little bit more of a comfort thing.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: There’s no right or wrong. But really it’s, it’s that swirling and then it’s like, get your nose right in there.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Very broad. Are you smelling fruit? Does it smell like apples? Does it smell like something different? Does it smell more herbal? Does it smell? And I always like to think very broad first, because then you can start to dial it in and be like, okay, if you’ve honed in, you think it doesn’t smell like apples, it doesn’t smell like fruit.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: to me

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Okay then what? Okay, so maybe it smells a little more herbal. Okay. Well, if we think herbal and some characters like that, what are we now thinking? Cuz there’s lots of different things. Is it more, in those herbal sense, is it green? Does it smell like leafy, like basil celery seed, things like that, or, you can think of it from a spice standpoint, and then really I like to diverge that into two different pathways.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Spices can both be spices that get, that make you think heat, or they can be spices that make you think baking. So like baking would be your savory things, cinnamon, coriander, those types, clove, your more heat spices would be, black pepper, white peppers, those type, that type of stuff that maybe is it’s spice driven, but it’s definitely a little bit different than like your conventional baking spices and things like that.

Cliff Duvernois: So let me see if I follow. So we’ve had our crackers. That’s helped to clean the toothpaste off my tongue.

Cliff Duvernois: right. So I, I look down and I should get a picture of this for the website, but look at the color against something white.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: what does the wine look like? It’s a white wine, obviously, is it, and I would say this one and definitely a little more pale or a little more light in color.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: It doesn’t have maybe that rich yellow to. That you might see with a wine that’s maybe a little bit more aged. If a wine had a little bit more skin contact, if a wine had some Oak contact to it, all of those things might contribute a little bit more towards color versus something like this being a little bit lighter, a little bit softer program, cuz believe it or not, this actually does spend a little bit of time in Oak.

Cliff Duvernois: Beautiful. And then we swirl it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: We’re giving

Cliff Duvernois: in a swirl, not, not like a wash machine,

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: right. It can be very, it can be very delicate. It doesn’t have to be crazy.

Cliff Duvernois: And then you put your nose right in.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Breathing it in.

Cliff Duvernois: That’s a neat trick. I didn’t even know. I didn’t even catch that before breathing in, through the nose and out through the mouth. I can really taste it on the back of 

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: my tongue.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. You’re gonna feel that. Yep.

Cliff Duvernois: gonna, yeah. All right. So I’m ready. I’m ready to taste

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And then it’s tasting if you want too. Thanks. And then, so tasting kind of brings its own other set of things. Obviously you’re gonna take a sip of the wine at this point. Doesn’t have to be a micro sip. Doesn’t have to be where you chug the whole sample in there either. I usually think of a tasting pour again, this will vary a little bit from winery to winery to winery.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I usually think of it as something where I might be able to do at least two, maybe three sips where I can evaluate the wine, cuz sometimes it just takes more than one sip, especially as you’re progressing through a tasting and through a wine list. Sometimes it might additionally to the crackers, it might take a little bit of getting the next wine to coach your tongue.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Right. And that’s the next thing you’re looking to. When you sip the wine, get it in there, let the wine kinda roll all over your tongue a little bit. You sometimes will hear people slurp a little bit. That’s you’re getting a little bit of oxygen, a little bit of air into the wine, which is gonna also open up the wine’s flavors a little bit and allow you to again, mix a little bit of the sense of smell and taste together, cuz they’re very much linked together.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: But then now you’re kind of going off of what are the things you’re feeling in your mouth?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: What are you feeling? Things, are you tasting things? And this becomes, I think really the heart of what people know a tasting to be when I taste it, what do I actually. But there’s also things that are identifiable in a wine that maybe aren’t associated with flavor one of 

Cliff Duvernois: one 

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: the obvious things I get and you might be getting this a little bit cliff, but if not, it’s okay.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: One of the obvious things I feel with this one is maybe a little bit of warmth. Yes. Warmth is gonna be a marker for alcohol content. If a wine is a little bit of this warmth to it, albeit it’s not like this big, I’m not, I don’t feel like I’ve got like this, like I just took a shot of

Cliff Duvernois: something yeah, shot a

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: but

Cliff Duvernois: or something.

Cliff Duvernois: Yes.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: subtle kind of nuanced kind of heat or this perception of warmth. That’s, it’s gonna be a good marker for, for alcohol. And one of the things I mentioned with our GRÜNER VELTLINER is that it’s a dry wine with being as dry as it is. You’re fermenting sugar out of it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: If I just go off of the top of my head a little bit on this one, it’s probably one of the higher white wines that we have as far as alcohol content, which creates that certainly sense of warmth or that feeling of warmth that you can get.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: The other thing is what are those other subtleties that you’re tasting to me again? Not a lot of fruit here. I’m not tasting apples

Cliff Duvernois: Neither am I? Yep.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Nothing like that. What am I tasting? Do I identify fruits? Do I identify other things but not to be lost in there, like I said, is, is the alcohol that’s happening that warmth, and another fun thing that can happen with the tasting in one of those sensations that not being related to flavor at all would be acidity.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Acidity is a trigger to make us salivate a little bit, right?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So high, nice high acid, bright acid wines. 

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And I’m a big guy. I like cheese. You know,

Cliff Duvernois: acidity. Oh yeah.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: acidity tends to be a nice kind of cleansing thing when you’re eating cheeses that are a little more, with dairy and things like that, they have a little bit of a coating feel on your mouth. Acidity can be a nice kind of cleanser to that fat content that’s gonna coat your tongue and your taste buds a little bit, a nice high acid wine can wipe that all away and almost reset your taste buds a little bit.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So just in my own little, world of wine drinking, I tend to really like, nice high acid things. So

Cliff Duvernois: now what I like to do is when I’m tasting a wine, is I actually, you know, when I taste it, I think about the flavors.

Cliff Duvernois: The very next thing I do is think about what would I pair this with? Absolutely. Or could it stand on its own? Yeah. Sometimes a wine is so beautiful or it’s got enough sweetness to it or something like that where I’m like, you know, what if I had some friends over and we just wanted to celebrate, we could crack open this bottle of wine and we’re all good.

Cliff Duvernois: So what would be. For this particular wine, what would be like maybe like one or two dishes yeah. That we would think about that would go good with this,

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And that, I think of becomes I’ll back up a little bit to what you had said in there, cliff. I like to really look at wines, as you had said, standalone pair it with something really. I always approach it as the, I think that’s a you’re dialed in.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I think that’s a wonderful way to look at it. I think you can also use that as a challenge,

Cliff Duvernois: Ooh,

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: have a wine on its own as a standalone, but also any wine you’re thinking, man, this is a wine. I just like to drink why, but if you enjoy it that much, why not try and pair it with something, you know, it’s, that’s part and parcel, I think, to what we’re doing at the tasting bar.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And when we’re talking with people and we get this, this opportunity to present the wines, I think that’s not, it’s not just come in taste. ’em hopefully enjoy ’em maybe buy one, but it’s you, you almost can. And this maybe gets a little fluffy for some people, but put ’em in a moment. Okay. You’re here.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You won’t be always,

Cliff Duvernois: it’s true.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You find some wines, you find some favorites, you’re back home. You have a favorite dish. You like to prepare, you like to sit out on the back porch in the summertime, in the evening, the sight and sounds of your neighborhood, your backyard cheese plate, or a dinner. What do you having with it? Sure. It could be beer summertime. You enjoy wine. Clearly you, you were here. Throw something out like that. We always like to tell people it’s like, think about these wines, later down the road, if you’re the type that wants to do something, and you’re entertaining that it’s almost like a gorilla marketing in that sense, these people can be like, oh my gosh, we were at ma and we had this wonderful wine.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And when we were there, the staff told us about having it or trying it with this dish. We happen to like that dish. Boom. They’re off that’s, that’s the idea, right. For something like a GRÜNER VELTLINER, given some of the flavor profile to it, I, I would think. You know, stick with you can go is this is a, a very much a like German Austrian influenced wine.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You can go very like stock things Wiener, schnitzel type stuff. I think a wine like this would go well with a dish that might have ginger is part of it or

Cliff Duvernois: corn. Ooh, that’s interesting.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I also think there’s a little bit where if you wanted to push a little bit of an, an opposites attract kind of idea with a wine like this as it’s so savory, with those more like Sacious characters to it, think about like a, lemon pepper dish, or if you’re doing like lemon and herbs as a dish, let the wine be the herb part and go with something, maybe like a lemon can addressed chicken or salmon, something, or, or even doesn’t have to be salmon, even just like any kind of, a lighter fish maybe coming off the grill a little bit, certainly.

Cliff Duvernois: So let’s move on to wine number two. 

Cliff Duvernois: So start with the crackers to clean my palate.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: have a cracker if you want.

Cliff Duvernois: So let’s

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: do that for me. I don’t know about ECL.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I can definitely still feel a little bit of that, that Grüner there, that some of that warmth from the alcohol, a little bit of that savory component. So a cracker’s definitely gonna help. Now. The next wine that I poured is actually on the back side of our menu here. This is gonna be the second one down in this section.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: This has got a wonderful kind of copper color to it. There’s almost light copper kind of tin to it. And that’s a little bit of a mechanism of this wine’s production, but we didn’t really have a good spot to put it on the list. It’s certainly not gonna look the part of a white wine.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: It’s not gonna look the part of a red wine. So where does it go? It just seemed to kind of make the most sense to put it on the wine list in this rose category.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. Categorically speaking, but it’s

Cliff Duvernois: we go ahead and swirl

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: give it a little bit of a swirl. Now this one’s gonna definitely be an interesting wine from a sense.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: We’ve already looked at it and it’s got a very interesting appearance already. It’s it doesn’t look probably like a lot of wine people are used to seeing. And then the smell on this is gonna kind of keep that going.

Cliff Duvernois: Put our nose. in there

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: now now I’ll, I’ll pick you a little bit on this cliff with smelling this. What are you thinking a little bit on this one? What are you smelling again? Just like with anybody there’s no right or wrong.

Cliff Duvernois: So I definitely am tasting fruit

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Sure.

Cliff Duvernois: In there for sure. I don’t, I don’t think my P is refined enough sit there oh, this

Cliff Duvernois: you’re not off.

Cliff Duvernois: There’s gonna be some fruit there. It’s gonna have some, some lighter, tropical fruit tastes or rather sorry, tropical fruit aromas. A little bit of a light pomegranate to this, the other big thing, at least as far as my nose. It’s almost this sense of like a, a tea or a tea leaf kind of aroma to it.

Cliff Duvernois: And I think that’s one that gets very driven into people, especially in the summertime is maybe there’s a little bit more of like a, sun tea in those types of things being drank or even just like a light kind of tea leaf sense. This is 100% this wine, the best area remodel is 100% Pinot Grio, but we fermented on the skins for a little bit of time.

Cliff Duvernois: So what you see kind of swirling in there is a little bit of the fruit that the Pinot Grigio is gonna kind of bring to the table as far as its own flavor profile goes, but then this other kind of subset of flavors that are gonna come from the skin contact. And that’s also where this really wonderful kind of copper color comes from in this wine.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: But let’s get into tasting this one a little bit, cuz I think this one is kind of a fun one. Oh wow.

Cliff Duvernois: And I will state for the record. I’m absolutely loving smelling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Mm-hmm

Cliff Duvernois: So now that you’ve explained it, I actually understand a lot better. What’s going on in my mouth

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yes. It definitely feels like it’s drying out a little bit. Yes.

Cliff Duvernois: the first, the first wine that we tried was very clean. Yes. Like here today, gone tomorrow. Yeah. Right. So I would, I would guess then that the tannin level inata is really low.

Cliff Duvernois: Yes. Compared to this, like you said, when they had the skin contact. All of a sudden the tans go up now I’m tasting a lot more on the back of my tongue that tasted lingering, so to speak.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: yeah, exactly. You you’re spot on, I think in that, in that assessment Cliff, actually. So your taste buds are also going to a little bit with a wine, like this kind of confirm, I think I said this earlier, what’s your nose, nose, so when we tasted this, we talked a little bit about fruit.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I talked a little bit about tea. So I’ll call back to both of those things with tasting this one, two things I think, shine through a little bit for me and you hit on the first one, the tannins. So when I think of tea, tea, to me has a little bit of that residual bitter taste to it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Like you, you taste it and it can be kind of flat. Now, if you’re adding in things like lemons and sugar, you’re obviously changing and manipulating a little bit of the way that’s gonna. But think of like tea, whether it be hot or something that you’ve done, like where you’ve done, like the sun tea, it’s sat on your porch with the tea bags in the water.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: If ever those things sit too long, the tea has a very flat, almost like bitter taste to it. Yes. Again, it’s the tannins in some of the components that go into teabag, that kind of cause a little bit of that this wine has got the same kind of thing from the tannins coming from the skins at play.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So it’s the tannins that I taste. The other thing is, is a little bit of almost with some acidity there, like a pars and an acidity to it. So with the tannins, it’s also this balance between it tastes like it drives my mouth out a little bit, but then also I maybe just a slight amount of salvation happening, and that’s driven a little bit by acidity.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: That’s gonna be of present in the wine, like we were talking earlier. So to me, I get some of the tannic quality to this that makes me think things like, tea leaves, things like that. Almost a little bit of. Like an, an IPA kind of bitterness to it, or,

Cliff Duvernois: There we go. A

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: tartness. Right.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: For us, this becomes a fun wine to get in front of the beer drinking crowd, do you guys make any, do you guys make any beer? Do you guys have any bud light? We hear those types of things, you know, on a daily basis. And this, I think is a fun wine put in front of somebody like that.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: If someone’s like, I tend to like a lot of craft beer as well as wine. This is another one that’s like, okay. The craft beer world, is definitely not shy about trying different things and really creative kind of funky things, just, and that beer can have some quick turnaround and it can be made and you can have a batch out relatively fast.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I think it’s, it’s rife for a lot of experimentation where wine is a little bit more of a slow kind of long game, in a sense the experimentation happens, especially with a wine like this, but it’s, it’s maybe a little bit more slow to get out in front of people. Right? So for us, this is always a fun wine to get out in front of people and be like, check this out.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: This is gonna be something that if you like different, if you like unique, you want a little more funky, you’re a craft beer drinker any number of those things, if not just one of those things I think allows us to get a wine like this, right out in front of somebody and be like, check this out, see what you think, it’s gonna be a little bit of a weaving of how the wine world can make some things that are maybe a little bit less stock and a little more funky.

Cliff Duvernois: I love that. Let’s move on to wine. Number three, we’re

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: gonna jump into a red wine on this one for sure.

Cliff Duvernois: Beautiful. I’m a red wine nut.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Perfect. Now this becomes almost a little bit of a, a bane and a blessing as I kind of get into, kind of consideration, when we started this, you were, we had talked a little bit, know, some minds that are very representative of ma and there’s probably one that I, that really is always gonna stand out with me and I think jumps out and becomes kind of the obvious one to do.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: But with that also, I think it becomes a little bit of a bane and a blessing kind of thing. Cuz it’s a wine it’s very unique in its history. It’s very small in its production, but it’s a little bit of what you know is part of what makes Mari special. I mean, there’s obviously a lot of things but this is definitely one.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: I think that’s gonna really drive home a little bit of that uniqueness.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: us, certainly

Cliff Duvernois: so let me go down the process. I’ve already had the crackers. Yes. Clean off my palate. Yeah. So now I’m gonna look at the.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: color. Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois: Okay. So one

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: can look at now is we’re, we’re dealing in red wines now, is these again, like white wines, could, huge gradient in color on this. One of the things I like to look at again, using the menu a little bit as your background is, can you see through it?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Can you read the words on the menu through it? You’re seeing a little more richness in color on this. can see text through it, a little more like as we talked rim variation earlier a little more is, is the, wine’s like out into a thinner spot, but if I’m in kind like that heart of where the wine is probably at its deepest or, in the glass, it’s definitely a little harder to see through there, you know?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So that right away is gonna tell me some things a little bit more. Pigment in the wine. This is, this is our Row Seven is the name of this wine. Now we, we started talking a little bit before I poured this about something, very representative of Mari and something very, I think, representative of what we want to do and what we want to kind of show people.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: It’s from our original vineyard planting that our ownership did back in 1999. Oh, so though the winery has only been open six years as far as a brick and mortar presence wines grape wise have been growing for some time out on the peninsula here, as well as, even on a small scale before the building existed, some wines were available commercially through some channels in town.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: When this wine came about when the grapes were purchased in the grapes arrived here on old mission P.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: The family had friends and family help them plant this vineyard. And there was a little bit of an urgency to do so, based on kind of the state of the grapes, when they arrived without getting too much into the detail, they just, they needed to be put in the ground pretty quick. Right? So with the strength of friends and family, they set out to start this planting and that’s where things went sideways and this wine became the result of a little bit of a happy accident that occurred.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Friends and family were planting the grapes a little bit arbitrarily. And so the rows of this vineyard were being planted, not in a way where every row is made up of the same thing

Cliff Duvernois: Oh, interesting.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: all of the camp, front grapes for the rows until you exhaust those things were being mixed up.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Well, it was eventually realized after about an acre or so of grapes were planted at this point.

Cliff Duvernois: Do we go back and fix it? Do we just keep on rolling?

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: even at that, how do you fix it at this point? There are all these little vine cuttings there, there, young baby vines They are gonna look pretty much one and the same sticking out of the ground.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: That’s true. And so at this point they course corrected and realized what had happened. They just left it as it was knowing that they had all of this big block planted, and they knew a little bit of what was planted in there because all of the grapes came marked and labeled and identified as what they were, they were planted, they were mixed up, nothing really had any kind of mark on it anymore.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: There were no tags, nothing was labeled at this point. They left that one acre as is. And as they say, sometimes good things can come out of, happy accidents or kind of misfortune this row. Seven is a result of that. We make this particular red wine out of only that acre, that was mixed up

Cliff Duvernois: hence row seven.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. The center marker of that part of the vineyard that’s mixed up is the seventh row in the vineyard. So it’s kind of the namesake of that. And the mixed up fruit goes out in both directions for a little. Now another thing that we do, that’s a little more unique to Mai vineyards with our grape growing in, in fully impacting a wine like this.

Cliff Duvernois: Now we’re going for the smell. We’ve swirled the glass. Ooh. I can see the fingers a lot more. It’s

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: got those like little tears or wine legs too. You’ll hear people call,

Cliff Duvernois: see those.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: is another one that’s gonna be probably a little bit up there. As far as alcohol content, row seven has always existed for us.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Again, warmth when you’re tasting, being a little bit of a marker for that, but also alcohol being a marker for rightness showing that we were dealing with some fruit that was just tremendously ripe. Right. I mean, to get that kind of alcohol content you’re dealing with some fruit, that’s gotta have a certain amount of sugar to have that produced during fermentation with the yeast kind of metabolically consuming the sugar out of the wine to dry it and creating the alcohol as a byproduct.

Cliff Duvernois: So I did smell the fruit in this again. I don’t think I could sit there and say, oh, well it’s cherry or something else like that. 

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: But, but you’re not often the sense that, cherry would be one of those things that when we were talking white wines, but feels like so long ago. And I mentioned, you could say markers like apple. pear. And people are gonna be like, all right, this person kinda knows what they’re talking about. Really Berry or cherry tend to be some things that, that really a lot of noses will pull out of red wines. And I think some of that is just, they’re very familiar aromas, because I think we’re inundated with cherry and Berry flavored things in our everyday life cherries, especially in an area like this.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Oh yeah. But yeah, it’s Berry cranberry, I think a little bit of a, a Berry and little bit of, tartness for me drives that a little bit. I feel like this wine also is gonna have a little bit of that,

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Maybe a lighter kind of earthy smell to it. This wine being composed of a lot of different grapes, you know, would be referred to as a field blend, in that we took everything that was growing in this plot and put it together.

Cliff Duvernois: Okay. So for this one here, very heavy on a Tanin

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yes. Very, very tan.

Cliff Duvernois: I can very, yeah, very, very cuz I could, I can feel my mouth drying out. Yes. Like you were talking about before. I definitely feel the flavor lasting on the back of my tongue. Yeah. For a long time.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yep. Little and that’s a little more body to this wine.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: It’s got a little bit of a fuller feel, which is, which is gonna contribute to that flavor. Not just being there and then going really fast.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: But you had talked about the tannins on this one. Yeah, right away. That’s like the first, I think, notice one of the first noticeable things that really kind of gets your grips.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Ya. It’s also driven not just by the grapes that are in this, and then that the pump over process where we’re of continually, every so often gonna mix the skins around a little bit to do some of the color and tannin extraction and, and really create these kind of layers of complexity in the wine.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: But then also that, that two years of aging in new barrels, Oak barrels also have tannins

Cliff Duvernois: it. Yes.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So the two years of Oak are also gonna kind of contribute and accentuate to that high tannin quality in this wine. And really for those at home kind of thinking, outside of just that the structure and bitterness of, of the tannins in a wine, what’s the benefit.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: The, one of the easiest, obvious answers is aging. The tannins are gonna help provide a structure to the wine that will help the wine age. Well over time. I mean, this is a wine as we’re tasting through this one, this is from 2018. Just released within the last handful of months spent two years in Oak.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So the grapes grew in 2018. It went through all of this wonderful fermentation process and pump overs. And then it goes into the barreling ages for two years. And so it doesn’t see a release until 2020 or even later. Right. So how long will it last? You’re sipping a wine now that’s been two years plus into its lifetime four years.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Really? Now that we’re sitting in 20, 22 almost but a wine like this with those tannins and some acidity there, I mean, this could wine, this could age 10 years and as it ages, the tannins will help keep that wine holding up over time. But the tannins will also soften out a little bit.

Cliff Duvernois: Yes, absolutely. Wonderful. So

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: process of process

Cliff Duvernois: have something crackers available. Yeah.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois: Then when they pour the wine, take a look at something like with a white background.

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah. Looking at the color against something white

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: and the menus are, like I said, the menus are always a handy little thing for this. It’s not, doesn’t have to just be that piece of paper in front of you that you’re marking on or taking notes on, use it, you can observe what that wine really looks like against a kind of white, bright background

Cliff Duvernois: swirl it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois: like a wash machine swirl. It let some of those, we’re

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: some of those aromas kind of right

Cliff Duvernois: the aromas going,

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: of the glass and the nose right in there,

Cliff Duvernois: breathe through the nose, out through the mouth.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. Just a great way to kind of make sure you’re getting the, those, those aromas over the olfactory nerve.

Cliff Duvernois: I say, that’s the best part of this, to be honest. I, I love that so much. And then from there taste it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Yeah. Then that’s, that’s the, probably the, the pay dirt part of it, I guess, where, you’ve done all this work of looking at it, observing it very patiently swirling smelling. Maybe that payoff then is now we get to actually taste this, get this wine rolling over the taste buds a little bit.

Cliff Duvernois: Beautiful. I absolutely love it.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And I really mean, I almost feel like I can’t drive home enough, a couple things with the, with all of the tasting in the process. And that’s, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone a little bit. And then also that other part of the smelling it, get your nose in there.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: We, you will not look silly to any one of us, whether you feel it. It’s really where all of, I think the, the good stuff starts to happen with the wine is, is in the aromas. And then again, by actually tasting it, ideally, you’re gonna confirm again, what your nose, nose, and that you, you maybe be able to smell.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: And taste some things that are very interwoven in that wine, in, in the sense of balance for how that wine all comes together as the smell and taste. So really after the swirling, get your nose right in there.

Cliff Duvernois: still think that’s my best part. I got some friends of mine that are gonna be so jealous of this one.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: This is, yeah, this is again, this is our 2018 row seven. And, and really, if there is a wine and you come in the doors here at ma outside of a lot of wonderful things we make, if there’s an opportunity to taste this one, even if dry red wines, maybe aren’t your cup of tea yet, we’ll say yet, this is a fun one to taste.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: Cuz you get to see a little bit of, of what MA’s kind of doing, what we’re all about in what can be, for, from a, a sense of. Michigan wines and Northern Michigan wines and Mari vineyards wines, and all of those things at once, you know?

Cliff Duvernois: So for our audience, that’s listening to this podcast episode, we’ll make sure to have links to all of these wines that we’ve tested here today.

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah. But if our audience does wanna find you, yeah, Andy where’s the best way for them to find you online, look for you.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: They can just go just to the main website, ma If you’re looking to do a visit you can definitely find a lot of information as far as what we’re doing as far as our wine tastings and our other services that we’re offering as far as, coming in enjoying a glass of wine, sitting at a table and enjoying a flight and taking a little bit of a journey on your own where it’s a little more self-guided.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: We do ship wines. We have a web store that you can find on the website though. Shipping can kind of be limited to certain states. Um, it’s definitely something that there, there is that mechanism. We do a little bit of distribution around the state of Michigan, as well as into. Some other states, like I know, were in like the Metro Chicago area.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: So for those that might be listening, you know, you might be able to kind of find some wines and stuff through some of our distributor partners there in Michigan, we’re using a company called Eagle eye. And then we use actually a company called Maverick that distributes for us in Chicago, in the Chicago area.

Cliff Duvernois: beautiful. And for our audience, we’ll make sure to have all those links, uh, in the show notes down below Andy, this has been a real treat.

Cliff Duvernois: Thank you so much for, for cheering all your knowledge with us today. It’s been wonderful and I’ve learned a lot today, which is, which is actually really good. So thank you for that.

Andy Jacobson, Mari Vineyards: You’re welcome. Yeah, my pleasure.