Wine Reviews: Brengman Brothers (Michigan)

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-10-2018

I’ve been aware of quality wines coming out of Michigan for years now, but I haven’t visited the state’s wine regions or tasted more than a handful of wines over the years. So I was pretty excited to receive an extensive range of wines from Brengman Brothers, located in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula AVA.

The peninsula, which juts into Grand Traverse Bay northwest of Traverse City, is home to more than 20 wineries. Cool climate grapes (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc) thrive here, and the wines I’ve tasted show tart, leaner profiles and lots of freshness and spicy characteristics.

Brengman owns three estate vineyards, the 25-acre Crain Hill Vineyard (which is the source of fruit for most of the wines I tasted), the 30-acre Timberlee Vineyard, and the 5-acre Cedar Lake Vineyard. Their first harvest was 2007, and after a decade, they have quite a large lineup of wines, with some impressive results (and I only tasted some of their wines).

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2016 Brengman Brothers Riesling Spätlese Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $30
Light gold color. Aromas of lime, lychee, clover, spicy white tea, nettle, a lively a spicy aromatic display. Medium-bodied with light sweetness to balance out the zesty acidity. Yellow plums, guava, drizzled with lime, rich but lively fruit with notes of spicy white pepper, nettle, honeysuckle, hints of stony minerals. A surprisingly delicious and balanced Riesling. (88 points)

2016 Brengman Brothers Riesling Auslese Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $35
Light gold color. Nose oozes with guava, lychee and yellow plums, with honey and clover. Plump texture, rich sweetness, medium acidity, flavors of sweet melon, guava and pineapple abound. An interesting mix of spicy white pepper, clove and new tennis ball, with some sweet honey and candied almond. Pleasant, sweet, plush, yet some freshness to it, too. (87 points)

2016 Brengman Brothers Riesling Beerenauslese Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
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SRP: $35/500ml
Light gold color. Aromas of yellow flowers, tons of lychee, with some lime, clean laundry and candied ginger. Rich and sweet with a waxy mouthfeel and medium acidity. Orange marmalade and lychee candy mix with notes of cinnamon, ginger and graham cracker. Rich, honeyed finish. (87 points)

2016 Brengman Brothers Chardonnay Artist Series Unoaked Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $30
Medium yellow color Aromas of creamy yellow pears, whipped butter, white flowers, spicy green tea notes, hints of grass. Zesty on the palate, medium-bodied, slight creaminess to the texture. The fruit (green pear, green apple, apricot) shows a light, crisp aesthetic, with notes of dandelion and chalk. While there’s not a ton of depth, it’s a fresh and likeable style with some complex elements. (86 points)

2016 Brengman Brothers Block 65 Blend Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $25
Medium yellow color. Aromas of oranges, apricot, lychee, with spiced white tea, honey, baby’s breath. Rich textural depth, yet fresh acidity, with orange marmalade, guava, lychee, apricot. Waves of fruit mix with nettle, baby’s breath, honey, almond, white pepper. Wow, I am surprised by this, it is rich but crisp, fruity but fresh. I’m curious how this may age. A blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. (87 points)

2016 Brengman Brothers Gewürztraminer Gary’s Reserve Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $25
Rich yellow color. Bursting aromatics of guava, lychee and white peach, mixed with daisies, honey and ginger. Plush and slightly waxy on the palate but lively acidity. Peaches and guava, topped with some lime juice, and tossed with lots of spicy elements (ginger, white pepper, spiced tea, clove). Waxy but fresh, showing some impressively complex flavors. (87 points)

2016 Brengman Brothers Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $35/375ml
Medium gold color. Aromas of honeycomb, spiced apple cider, guava and shaved ginger – lovely complexity on the nose. Full and rich on the palate with medium acidity and bold, sweet flavors of apricot, orange marmalade, yellow plums, guava. Complex flavors of candied ginger, clove, spiced tea and sweet honey. Very pretty, rich but balanced. (89 points)

2013 Brengman Brothers Pinot Noir Artist Series Crain Hill Vineyards- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $40
Pale ruby color. Aromas of cool strawberries and cherries, rhubarb, white pepper, some rose petals. The palate is lean and tart with very high acidity, light dusty tannins, not exactly “balanced” but I like the tartness, and the red currant and strawberries. Notes of rose rips, cola, rhubarb, along with light roast coffee and some earthy, clay soil notes. Interesting expression of Pinot Noir. (86 points)

2013 Brengman Brothers Right Bank Blend Crain Hill Vineyard- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $50
Light ruby color. Tart red cherries and currants, smoky graphite, violets, incense sticks, bell pepper, wet leaves. Bright acidity on the palate, medium-light tannins on a light-bodied frame, but not weak on flavor – lots of fresh cherries and red currants, rose petals, rhubarb, violets, cocoa, some tart red flowers, loamy earth and green herbs. Impressive depth and structure 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot. (88 points)

2013 Brengman Brothers Cabernet Franc Crain Hill Vineyard- Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
SRP: $50
Deep ruby color. Aromas of red and black currants along with mushroom, leather, bell pepper and musky cologne, cedar. Crisp and zesty on the palate with medium tannins, fresh and silky, along with red cherries, cranberries and dark plums. Notes of mushroom and celery seed. Lighter style, tangy and fresh but not weak. Aged 16 months in French oak. (88 points)

Comments (3)

  1. I love Michigan wines

  2. When we moved to the Traverse City, MI, we discovered Brengman Brothers and was greatly surprised buy the quality of their wines. Their wine were heads over many of the others in the area.

  3. Experiencing the evolution of these peninsulas’ wine as a visitor for 10 years was an education. Discovering truly excellent wines after moving here is a blessing. Brengman Brothers produces an array of vintages that can compete with any in the world, as their many medals attest. The joy of real wine at affordable prices is a phenomenon Americans need to know about. We need a Real Wine movement in this country.

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