Northern Michigan Wines: Over the past three years blends and varietal bottlings from the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas have swept a slew of national and international accolades at competitions and in the wine press, most notably this year’s Pacific Rim Wine Competition, the nation’s largest juried tasting—winner sampler below.
Bel Lago 2011 Pinot Grigio
With sexy texture imparted from a short stint of sur lie aging, Charlie Edson’s 2011 pinot grigio has signature citrus overtones underscored with ripe pear and yellow floral notes that got it a gold medal and best of class distinction among dozens of international pinot grigios under $15.
Blustone Vineyards 2011 Winemaker’s Red
Blustone’s Winemaker’s Red is native wine wizard Shawn Walters’ signature alchemy of cabernet franc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon barrel-aged for a year and rife with deep black cherry and spice. With a much-deserved gold medal, this northern red pours brawny and bold.
Boathouse Vineyards 2012 “License to Chill” Pinot Noir Rosé
Pale pink and precocious, this soft press of pinot noir has bright strawberry and wild berry character best served cold in the company of a Lake Michigan beach. A balance of delicate fruit and zesty acidity garnered License to Chill a gold medal and best of class in the blush category.
Brys Estate 2012 Pinot Blanc
A concentrated core of ripe pear and yellow apple transitions to a fresh citrusy finish with mineral underpinnings. Brys cleaned house with this latest release of pinot blanc, winning gold medal and best of class.
Chateau Grand Traverse 2011 Dry Riesling
A masterful, textbook expression of dry riesling from a balanced growing season, Chateau Grand Traverse’s 2011 bottling shows abundant orchard fruit on the nose and intriguing austerity in its racy dry finish. CGT was top o’ the heap in the dry riesling category with a gold medal and best of class.
Verterra 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay
An unadulterated, uncommonly ripe and near perfect expression of Northern Michigan chardonnay, Verterra’s 2012 exudes honeyed notes of tropical and orchard fruits with a dry purity that allowed it to beat out scores of California competitors to get a gold medal and best of class in its category.