21 July 2013

Two Lads Winery is a Michigan winery that makes a very nice sparkling Pinot Grigio, but, like many lads, it doesn't keep the juice in the bottle when it should.

Another Michigan Sparkling


Earlier this week I was talking to my friend John about his trip to California and the wines he and his girlfriend tried. Having been to Sonoma earlier this year, it was nice to compare notes and hear about different wineries.

Being in Michigan, and being True to the Mitten (even if the bottom right cuff is a bit frayed), we got on the topic of Michigan wines.

I'm quite fond of sparkling wine, and was talking to John about the Mawby wines from Northern Michigan and our most excellent experience at Domaine Carneros in Sonoma.

While I've never been to the Northern Michigan wineries, despite having lived just north of them for 15 years, John has been. He mentioned that he really enjoyed the Two Lads sparkling Pinot Grigio and that it was available in Ann Arbor at a few places (The Produce Station and Whole Foods, among others).

The Beginning of the End

Happily for me, my aunt works at The Produce Station, so I emailed her to see if they had the 2 Lads Sparkling Pinot Grigio in stock.

Date: Jul 15
From: Gail
To: me

Yes, we have sparkling pinot grigio! gail


After work I went to The Produce Station and picked up some proper food and three bottles of wine. The bottles are quite pretty.

As a brief but relevant aside, it was very hot out—more than 90F—and my car was in the sun all day.

After loading my cherry tomatoes and baby carrots and sparkling wine into the car, I headed home, looking forward to dinner and sharing a glass of wine with my wife.

The distance, according to Google Maps, between The Produce Station and my house is 3.1 miles. As it turns out, a fateful 3.1 miles.

At about 2 miles, after 6 turns, I heard from the back of my station wagon the very upsetting sound Pft! Shhhhhhhhhh!. Crap. One of the bottles had done something bad. But the bottle and its badness were in the way back, and all I could tell was that the windows were dry and there was no Bellagio-style fountain show evident in the rear-view mirror. So that was promising. And the sparkling did smell pretty good, which was also promising.

Being a mere mile from home, I made the call to leave the other two (sealed) bottles back there, avoid pot-holes, and try to make it home. Also, I was in denial about the state of the back of my car.

Pft! Shhhhhhhhhh!.



I pulled over. I was not going to lose three bottles of wine in 3.1 miles. That's just mad.

The two bottles that burst hadn't really burst—the caps were still on and 80% of the wine that 2 Lads had put in the bottles was still there, leaving about 1/2 a bottle of sparkling wine in the back of my car, but even so…

I took all three bottles from the way-back and put them on the floor of the passenger's side and kept a close eye on them on the way home. Little bastards. Seriously, would a cork have killed you?

This is where the French, regardless of what you think of the rest of the country, has their heads on right. If it's carbonated, and pressurized, and delicious, take some damn care. Like using a cork, and not just any cork, but a special cork, which is then further controlled with a muselet, that wire thing that adds all of the drama to opening a bottle of sparkling wine until the pop of the cork, which then steals the show.

A crown cork is neither a crown nor a cork nor suitable for sparkling wine. 2 Lads, please, a cork and muselet. For the love of God and the back of my car and your delicious wine seal those bottles properly.

Yes, but the wine! How is the wine?!?

The sealed bottle got a place of honor among the Mawby and Domain Carneros bottles in the basement refrigerator; the other two were in the upstairs refrigerator, at risk of being consumed. But wait…

These bottles are tall. Really tall. Impractically tall.

I had to rearrange those door-shelf things so they would fit; they weren't going on their sides after the little demonstration in the back of my car. Fool me once, shame on you; waste even more wine, shame on me.

After they were chilled, we opened the one with the least wine in it.

Thumbs up.

It's a flavorful, dry sparkling that is very drinkable. It is another Michigan sparkling wine success that has established its place in my rotation of Michigan sparklers. Mawby, you still own the price/performance, but watch out, these Lads have a good thing going.

Now I really wish that missing 1/2 bottle wasn't soaked into the way-back of my car.