Northern Michigan Wine: The Hunt for the Reds of October

Northern Michigan Wine: The Leelanau Peninsula has become well known for its Riesling and other crisp, cool-climate whites. What is often overlooked however, is just how good the red wines are!

To help everyone go beneath the surface, Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is excited to announce a free and fun event to bring attention to the red wines of Northern Michigan’s wine coast. The Hunt for the Reds of October will take place the weekend of October 26-28, 2012. For the entire weekend, twelve wineries will be offering free tastings of a selection of red wines: dark and spicy Cabernet Francs, smooth and floral Pinot Noirs and a diverse range of vinifera and hybrid reds that are representative of Leelanau’s vineyards.

“From the vineyard managers to winemakers to cellar masters, I think we’ve all developed methods that are allowing us to make the best reds possible on the Leelanau Peninsula. Our wines are maturing in all aspects due to the patience and understanding that experience brings to every phase of the winemaking process,” says Ryan Sterkenberg, owner of Gills Pier Winery.  ”Of course, having three straight outstanding vintages in 2010, 2011 and 2012 doesn’t hurt a bit either.”

We invite you to sample some of the fruits of these and other vintages the last weekend of October. The event is free to all who know the secret launch code: “The Hunt is on!”

The Wines

Bel Lago 2010 Tempesta: A perfect storm of a select harvest of robust grapes from an excellent growing season. Cabernet Franc, Regent, Dornfelder, Lemburger, and other carefully selected varieties were aged 18 months in American and French oak barrels to create this richly flavorful, complex red wine.

Black Star Farms Vintner’s Select: A merlot-based blend of select small lots with unique characteristics. This premium dry red is full-bodied with rich dark fruit flavors that are complemented by hints of cocoa and spice. It is reminiscent of a Bordeaux-style blend and pairs well with robust meals including braised meats, stews and rich sauces.

Chateau de Leelanau 2011 Hawkins Red: Elegant and smooth, this light bodied red has an unbelievable strawberry nose and finishes with a dry peppery kick!

Chateau Fontaine 2011 Woodland Red: A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah with aromas of rich, ripe fruit, nuances of blackberry and plum; the taste is luscious raspberry and pepper accented with soft tannins.

Ciccone Winery Due Rossi: A 2011 new release blend of Marechal Foch and DeChaunac. This hearty semi-dry blend exhibits rich ripe flavors of plum and blackberry with a touch of pepper in the finish.

Forty-Five North 45 Red: A blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Pinot Noir, aged in French oak for 11 months. Notes of blackberry and dark cherry with soft tannins up front and bit of spice.

Gill’s Pier 2010 Estate Cab Franc/Merlot: A French barreled, full-bodied Bordeaux style wine with deep flavors of black currant and raspberry with a hint of mint. Excellent finish. Extended cellaring option of 5-15 years.

Good Harbor Collaboration: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, Chambourcin, Dechaunac. First the dark fruit aromas will catch your attention only then to be surprised by the cocoa and cedar nuances that follow. If it’s possible to be bold and elegant together, this wine has achieved just that.  A rich, dry, complex wine.

Good Neighbor Organic Black Velvet: Smooth, yet light bodied with 12.5% ABV, and just a hint of pepper.

L. Mawby Blanc de Noirs: A red disguised as a white, from Pinot Noir. Enjoy this imposter as your search for reds continues.

Longview Winery’s 2008 Barrel Reserve Cabernet Franc: Spent 18 months in French oak barrels and 2 years in the bottle. The reward for patience is clear – a ruby red, mouth filling and full-bodied red wine displaying blackberry, plum and spice with hints of vanilla and cocoa.

Verterra 2011 Reserve Red: A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in French and American Oak hybrid barrels.

Find more Northern Michigan wine on MyNorth.com!

Article Comments

  • http://community.mynorth.com/members/winepine/ Winepine

    That sounds great. I really enjoy reading about wines from other parts of the US. I’m not familiar with Michigan wines, but am looking forward to finding out!

    Patrick
    http://www.winepine.com