|Eighth 2017 Ann Arbor Tasters Guild Event
MICHIGAN'S MASTER WINEGROWER
Winemaker Dinner with James Lester
Proprietor-Winemaker, Wyncroft Estate
TUESDAY, August 15, 7:00 pm
|at Grange Kitchen, 118 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor|
From Edible Michiana: ‘In the early 1980s, James Lester had a hunch that Michigan could be producing better wine. He had read about pioneering New York winemaker Konstantin Frank’s somewhat unexpected success with classic French styles in the Finger Lakes, and despite being told that it was impossible to replicate in the Mitten State, Lester contacted Frank.
‘I thought, ‘If he can do it, I can do it too,’ says Lester, ‘so I called him up. He had a little nursery, and he sent me some vines. That’s how I got started.’
‘The Seattle native had relocated to Michigan in 1976 to pursue a master’s degree in theology at Andrews University in Berrien Springs after graduating from Walla Walla College, auspiciously situated in Washington State’s budding wine-producing region. During that time, he began to taste and learn about exceptional wine, exchanging letters with winemakers in the early days of their careers in places like Napa Valley and developing an affinity for superlative French wine.’
I’ve known James Lester from his earliest days of winegrowing on rolling glacial hillsides near Buchanan. I took a bottle of one of his first chardonnays to a wine judging in Sonoma, and it just astonished the panel of leading American wine merchants. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength. His low-yield, estate-grown wines more closely resemble their European models than any others produced in Michigan.
In 2013, thanks to repeated requests from his customers, including me, Lester added to his Wyncroft Estate portfolio a small range of wines from purchased grapes, which he named Marland (Land Near The Lake). They’re all vinifera from talented southwest Michigan grower friends of his and from young vines at his new property south of Fennville.
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