The Ultimate Summer Wine List

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We asked Northern Michigan winemakers to reveal their very own favorite summer sippers. No matter where you drink these dreamy, aromatic whites—and a few luscious rosés and sparkling wines—they’ll conjure that relaxed Up North mood.

Woodland White 2007

It is made from a grape called Auxerrois, and there are only two of us growing it in the state. It grows so well that all we do is harvest it, ferment it in stainless and put it in the bottle. It is clean and crisp and semi-dry and loaded with wonderful fruit tones of apple, honeydew and grapefruit. It might like some chilled shrimp or Carlson’s whitefish pâté spread on a Stone House sweet baguette. Dan and Lucie Matthies, Chateau Fontaine Vineyards & Winery

Liberty

Our 100-percent cherry sparkling wine, made from both Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries, has slightly spicy aromas with hints of cinnamon and cedar. It’s off-dry in style with a big burst of cherry and a clean tart finish that leaves you wanting more. Mix it with an equal part orange juice for a cherry mimosa—great for summertime brunches! Katy Wiesen, Cherry Republic

2006 Good Harbor Pinot Grigio

(2007 later this summer) A very nice summer fare wine. Very nice fruit and balance, great harmony at a very good price point. Bruce Simpson, Good Harbor Vineyard

Quatro Loco Hard Cider

It’s light and fruity, semisweet—and organic! Pairs perfectly with ice and a blanket. Stan Silverman, Good Neighbor Organic Vineyard and Winery

 

Rustic White

 

An anytime, anywhere type of wine. It’s everybody’s favorite! Alan Eaker, Longview Winery

Celebrate.

Bubblies set the mood. This is a dry, white Champagne-style wine with a ton of fruit flavors. Mark Johnson, Chateau Chantal

2006 Arcturos Pinot Gris

It has a fabulous melon-citrus fruit profile, with a fine backing of minerality that makes it perfect for summer-time food! It is simply dynamite with mussels or clams, simmered in the wine, with a little garlic and shallots and red pepper. Lee Lutes, Black Star Farms

Brys Estate 2007 Signature White

Our Signature White—a blend of 55 percent Riesling, 25 percent Pinot Gris and 20 percent Gewürztraminer —is a very refreshing and versatile wine with great attributes like flowers and orange zest, soft tropical tones and a well-balanced finish. Coenraad Stassen, Brys Estate

Gill’s Pier 2007 Semi-dry Riesling

This wine rocks! Citrus and juicy pineapple nose, luscious and fruity on the palate. Drink it on a blanket watching the sun set over Lake Michigan. Kris Sterkenburg, Gill’s Pier Winery

Shady Lane Cellars 2007 Gewürztraminer

This wine turned out to be everything I had hoped for with our first vintage of Gewürztraminer. It is finished dry, and I mean completely dry. The aromas absolutely blast out of the glass with intense rose petal, tangerine and lots of spice. This wine is a great match for anything with a little heat or with some sort of fruit influence. I recently paired this with a spicy crab dish with a black bean and garlic sauce. Delicious! The recipe is available in our tasting room, you’ve got to try it. Adam Satchwell, Shady Lane Cellars

Rose deChaunac

It can be served chilled with almost any style of food, but is especially good for informal, al fresco dining. Best place to drink it: on the back (or front) porch, as the sun is setting. Jim Rink, Boskydel

2007 Murmur

(80 percent Pinot Grigio, 10 percent Riesling, 10 percent Traminette) The summer sunshine begs for an icy, white wine—everyone should start summer parties with a wine like this. It’s a spicy, full-bodied white wine with gentle acidity. The perfect place to drink this … 4:20 p.m. on the beach, just as the grill is being lit for some spicy shrimp appetizers. Bryan Ulbrich, Left Foot Charley

Peninsula Cellars 2007 Pinot Gris

This is a very complex wine with layers of flavors that keep changing and evolving as you drink it. It’s the perfect wine to complement summer picnic-basket foods. John Kroupa, Peninsula Cellars

2 Lads 2002 Dry Sparkling Wine

It is made in the traditional méthode champenoise style, but not with your traditional varietals (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir)—it is a blend of 55 percent Chardonnay, 27 percent Pinot Gris and 18 percent Pinot Blanc. It is light, delicate and creamy. Cornel Olivier, 2 Lads Winery

2007 Nectar

A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, Nectar is slightly sweet with light tropical notes of pineapple and banana. We call it a “porch” wine because it is a great bottle to sit with friends on your porch or deck enjoying the Northern Michigan weather. Tony Ciccone, Ciccone Vineyard and Winery

2007 Dry Riesling

Fresh flavors, nice refreshing acidity, pair-able especially with seafood and good company. Bernd Croissant, Chateau Grand Traverse

Wet

A sparkling Pinot Gris that is not really sweet, not really dry, but is wet. No matter what the weather or the water temperature, you can go to the beach and get Wet. Or you can sit on the patio, enjoy the sunset on a cloudless day and get Wet. Long hot day at work, come home, relax, get Wet. Larry Mawby, L. Mawby

2006 Bel Lago Auxerrois

Auxerrois is grown primarily in Alsace—I “discovered” it on a trip there and thought it would be a great variety for us on the Leelanau Peninsula. Auxerrois is a delicious dry white wine that is a delightful alternative to dry Riesling and un-oaked Chardonnay. Try this with local whitefish or walleye! Charlie Edson, Bel Lago Vineyard and Winery

Willow Baci Rosé

A dry rosé of Pinot Noir, with flavors of vanilla and strawberry. Drink it on the deck, sitting in the grass, always with friends. John and Jo Crampton, Willow Vineyard

2007 Pinot Grigio

It’s our flagship wine—we were the first to produce it in Michigan. It’s a great deck wine, terrific at the beach and perfect to sip out at Power Island, when the boat’s stopped, looking back at Old Mission Peninsula. Spencer Stegenga, Bowers Harbor Vineyard

2007 Dry Vignoles

We’re making it in a dry style—really fresh, crisp and citrusy. It would go nicely with creamy Brie and some bread. Nichole Birdsall, Leelanau Cellars

45 North Pinot Gris

The wine is round and balanced with just enough acidity and .5 percent residual sugar to make it viscous and vibrant at the same time. Shawn Walters, 45 North Vineyard and Winery

2006 Pinot Grigio

Very versatile; nice on the beach with cheese or with pesto pasta. Pam Sedlacek, Chateau de Leelanau

Tips, Tours and Travel in Traverse City, Old Mission and Leelanau Wine Country

 Quick Links to More Fun in the Traverse City region

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