Went on a road trip with my father this last weekend, Thursday through Sunday. We hit 14 wineries between the Leelanau Peninsula and the Petoskey area. Here’s a very abbreviated trip report.
Old Mission Peninsula
2 Lads, Aurora, Blustone, and 45 North are recommended.
Laurentide, Walloon Lake, and Waterfire are young but very promising.
Don’t bother with Chateau Chantal and Harbor Springs – the experience at both of them was quite disappointing.
Folgarelli’s deli in Traverse City for sandwiches can’t be beat. They have a very respectable wine selection, including a large Italian section and a good smattering of wines from France, Spain, South America, and California.
Apache Trout Grill is a great place for dinner. I’ve eaten there every time I’ve been to Traverse City and it’s always been good. They serve an amuse bouche of hummus with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and chewy rolls right now that’s wonderful.
We stayed at a very nice AirBnB just up the Old Mission Peninsula from Traverse City – “Bay Breezes Retreat“. Awesome location; the rooms were comfortable, beautiful and spacious; and the host was wonderful.
From a small winery over in Michigan’s Thumb (the southeast, but north of Detroit) that I visited last year. I’m having this with mushroom risotto and mixed sauteed greens from my garden – I expect the steeliness of the wine will complement the turkey stock and the spiciness of the greens well.
Blue Water Unoaked Chardonnay (2013) Michigan – $16
Color: pale lemon-yellow.
Aroma: pear, lemon, asian pear, and jasmine. Classic unoaked character on the nose.
Taste: big mouthful of pear and asian pear, quite lovely. Not as sharp as a Sauvignon Blanc, but definitely crisp and this begs for food. The finish is really long and lush.
With the rice and greens this shines as well – I’d pair this with goat cheese, veal, pasta with cream sauces, or simple roast chicken.
Highly recommended, and a steal at $16.
One of the wines I picked up last year in Traverse City – should be a good pairing for the roasted vegetable quesadillas I’m making for dinner tonight. This is a blend of 67% Cabernet France and 33% Merlot.
Bowers Harbor 2896 Rosé (2014) Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan – $32
Color: bright copper with a hint of orange.
Aroma: strawberry fruit, a hint of vanilla and spice.
Taste: Creamy strawberry and red currant fruit, moderate acidity, just a touch of tannin, with great balance front to back. Although a little more length on the finish would be nice. This is a food rosé, it’s absolutely dry and it has enough heft to match with a cold steak salad, roasted vegetables, or salmon.
One of my favorites from the Traverse City area of Michigan. I’m enjoying this with onion-mushroom-olive pizza. This has about 17% Merlot added. When I tasted it at the winery last year I was very impressed by the nose – let’s see how it’s held up.
2 Lads Cabernet Franc (2013) Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan – $32
Color: dark purplish in the center, fading just a bit to purple-red on the edge of the glass.
Aroma: earthy, with notes of black walnut and dark cherry. Inviting!
Taste: nice and full, with enough acidity to make this a food wine, and a nice balance of cherry fruit and earth/oak notes throughout the mouth. The finish is somehow creamy, fruity, and earthy all at once, and lasts at least 15 seconds.
A really, really good bottle of wine, perfect for anything from pizza to flank steak. Still one of my favorite Michigan wines. Recommended!
From one of my trips up north last year – I’m having this with a cod, potato, and cabbage dish from Blue Apron.
Hawthorne Barrel Reserve Chardonay (2013) Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan – $25
Color: straw yellow.
Aroma: lemon and Golden Delicious apple fruit, with just a touch of vanilla.
Taste: very well-balanced, and quite rich in texture – more apple fruit, with lemon underneath. The oak and vanilla notes are subdued and harmonious; this is not a typical oaky Chard. The finish is quite long, on both the mid-palate and the back of the tongue, and coats the mouth nicely with fruit and a hint of lanolin.
Pairing: it opens up a little more with some warmth and the food, and exhibits some tropical notes – especially pineapple. A great foil for the earthiness of the food.
Recommended! This easily competes with Chardonnays in the same price range from California. I see from their website that this vintage is sold out now – if you were lucky enough to snag some, you’re in for a real treat. I’ll be checking out more recent vintages soon.
Another wine club delivery from this last week – I’m having a glass as an aperitif before dinner. It’s a 2016 vintage, which means it’s just recently been bottled.
2 Lads Pinot Grigio (2016) Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan – $17
Color: very brassy and pale.
Aroma: lemon, vanilla, some green grassy and herbal notes.
Taste: crisp, with a touch of residual carbon dioxide that makes it lively on the tongue. The citrus notes are balanced by the herbal notes – like in a good Thai dish – and the overall impression is lively and refreshing. This is a great cocktail hour white.
Got a wine club shipment today, and am cracking one of the two bottles of 2016 Pinot Noir in the box. I’m really looking forward to this, and I have grilled pork chops and pesto baby potatoes to have with it in a little bit.
2 Lads Pinot Noir (2016) Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan – $29
Color: bright, clear garnet red – you can tell this is a young, fresh wine from the way the color extends without any change in hue as you tip the glass.
Aroma: intriguing – there’s cranberry and red currant in here, along with cherry, kirsch, and some bramble notes.
Taste: tart up front, with candied and fresh fruit notes. The mid-palate exhibits more of the brambles and kirsch than straight fruit, and it’s a little weak there. It has a medium-length finish that’s soft and warm.
Pairs decently with the pork & potatoes.
Nice – but just a little too thin to merit a recommended tag.