About 10 years ago Mawby began focusing on sparkling wines. Success came quickly and today Mawby produces exclusively sparkling wines (this spring he will release a Vignoles that wont be a sparkler).
A few years ago Time Magazine singled his operation as one of five wineries to keep an eye on in the country. Major wine critics such as London-based Tom Stevenson have been singing Mawbys praises in recent years. For the past two years Stevenson, one of the worlds leading authorities on wine, has featured Mawby in the introduction of his book, Wine Report. The coveted annual guide covers the world of wine and every major region, and for him to write extensively about Mawby two years in a row says something about the quality of Mawbys wines and how they stack up against the worlds best.
But a humble Mawby says these sorts of praises are really reflective of the region as a whole.
I think whether it is my winery or any other winery being singled out, it speaks volumes of what we are capable of in our region, said Mawby. Each time any of us wins a major award and or are praised by major critics, it tells the world that there are great wines being made outside of California and France.
Author and wine expert Professor Paul Lukacs agrees with Mawby. Luckacs recently published a book, The Great Wines of America: The Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards and Vintages, in which Mawby was featured.
I could have easily selected 40 wines and wineries from California, said Luckacs. I wanted this book to give the reader a basic understanding that good wines are being made all over.
Mawby and Lukacs will be traveling the Midwest together to do a series of wine dinners to promote the book and Mawbys sparkler Talismon that is featured in a 10-page chapter on Mawby. Northern Michigan residents will get a chance to meet both and taste wines from the book at the Parallel 45 dinner at Trattoria Stella, Monday, March 6.
Out of all of the dinners planned Stella by far has gone to the greatest efforts to bring in some unique wines that are featured in the book, said Mawby. The dinner will offer the opportunity to try three Oregon wines that are normally not available here, including one wine that is no longer even for sale. Also, the evening will feature a Riesling from New York giving us an opportunity to compare, since we are a region known for our Rieslings, as they are.
ECHOES OF CALIFORNIA
Mawby sees Northern Michigan as being a lot like California was 40 years ago.
In the 1960s the mindset was that great wine could only be made in France, Germany and Italy. Then California starting going to competitions and beating their European competitors, and by the end of the 1970s they were a major wine region, said Mawby. Well, during the 1980s and 1990s Washington and Oregon emerged and the general consensus of the wine consumer was that the west coast of America was the only area capable of producing great wines within the country. I think in recent years we and other places such as New York and Virginia have proven that we are equally capable of producing great wines.
In his book Lukacs selected 29 wines from California and only five wineries east of the Mississippi; the rest of the 40 were from Oregon and Washington. Lukacs believes that ratio reflects the current state of American made wine. He has studied the industry thoroughly and a few years ago wrote the best selling American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine (just released in paperback).
When I developed the template for this book I wanted to paint a picture of the landscape of American wine, said Lukacs. I visited 75 wineries that were brought to my attention by others or through my own research. My criteria was that these 40 wineries to make it in the book had to be more than one hit wonders; they had to have proved themselves over a 10 year period of time.
So how did Mawby make the initial list?
The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail sponsored a visit by my wife (Marguerite Thomas, a wine writer for The Wine News and several other publications) four years ago and she came back raving about Mawbys wines, said Lukacs. I trust my wife, so I went out myself and visited Larry. Equally important to the decision process was the 40 vintners themselves and their stories. I think Larrys story is fascinating and indicative of these new wine regions that are emerging around the country.
Mawby has become somewhat of a celebrity, reaching rock star type status in wine circles around the world. His wines are being sold all over including in Sweden and Norway. Of course it helps that he has done something no one before him has been able to accomplish: Bottling SEX. Many have tried but only Mawby has succeeded. To obtain SEX in the bottle or to learn more about Larry Mawby and his wines visit www.lmawby.com. To make a reservation for the Parallel 45 Dinner on March 6 at Stella, call them at (231)929-8989. Mawby and Lukacs will be on hand to sign books, answer questions and yes, Larry will gladly share suggestions on how best to enjoy SEX.