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Tasting a 2011 Lemon Creek LMS Pinot Noir

Thin streams of sunlight flit through the blinds on the glass door of the kitchen, making the 2011 Lemon Creek Lake Michigan Shore Pinot Noir in my glass gleam with an alluring ruby red color.

Pinot Noir [Pee-no-nwarh] is the winemaker’s wine.

It’s known for red fruit and oak aromas and flavors and its love for growing in regions with cooler climates.

The grape is notoriously difficult to grow — it has an unforgiving thin skin and is susceptible to rot and damage — but when it’s done right, it transforms into a phenomenal, seductive wine.

By the time I sit down, everyone at the table is chomping at the bit to pop the cork on this bottle of wine. My dad gathers up the glasses, one by one, and doles out a portion for everyone to sample.

It doesn’t take long for droplets of dried red wine to speckle the table top and accuse all of us of an over-eager pour.

Picking up my glass to breathe in the wine, I’m pleased to find that I don’t have to work hard to enjoy the aroma of this wine. Young wild strawberry scents greet the nose followed by subtle spicy oak.

The aroma transitions flawlessly into the mid-palate, with smooth, even and sensual strawberry oak flavors. The wine is medium bodied and isn’t overpowering in either aroma or flavor; it’s in perfect balance and is fruity only long enough for the acid and tannins to pick up enough to entice you to have another sip.

As I let the wine linger in my mouth, I’m reminded of all of the best elements of spring: the blossoming of fresh red fruit and the promise of a great year. This wine is like sitting in the ballpark on a sunny afternoon and watching your team hit a home run.

Lemon Creek captures all the classic elements of a Pinot Noir in its vintage 2011. It’s easy drinking and begs to be tasted, but nothing about it rushes you.

In my book, this bottle of Pinot Noir is a grand slam.

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