Discover some sweet wines of Northern Michigan in the March 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. With March here to drag away the muddy chains of winter we’re looking to tackle fringe season with a taste of sweetness. This month we’re leaving behind the nuanced distinctions of off-dry and medium-sweet and heading straight for the liquid candy, those indulgent and sometimes fortified dessert wines that satisfy our existential love of sugar. For all the aspiring snobs and dismissive purists, let’s make the distinction that these wines are not crafted through some crass sweetening process, rather they artfully harness the fruit’s natural sugar, whether by increasing it through late harvesting or stopping fermentation with spirits. The sweet nature of dessert wines showcases the essence of the fruit and serves as a delicious foil to cheeses and desserts. So stoke the woodstove, polish up your sweet tooth and join us for a late winter sampling of liquid love.
Black Star Farms A Cappella Ice Wine 2013
The North’s most coveted nectar, A Cappella ice wine is crafted from riesling grapes that are frozen on the vine and pressed into a honeyed elixir of sweet yellow apple and apricot enlivened by the grape’s natural acidity. Though the wine has significant staying power in the cellar it can be savored today with cheese or tarte tatin.
Blustone Vineyards Late Harvest Riesling 2013
The 2013 Late Harvest Riesling presents ripe and dynamic on the nose with aromas of nectarine and wildlflower honey. Sweet stone fruit persists on the palate and picks up a hint of candied lemon in the long finish.
Chateau Chantal Entice Ice Wine Brandy
Chantal’s tasty hybrid ice spirit gets its sweet fruit soul from frozen grapes that are fortified with barrel-aged brandy, giving Entice a warm textural edge that calls for a snifter and a roaring fireplace.
Chateau Grand Traverse Cherry Reserve
Late-harvested local Balaton and Montmorency cherries are crushed, fermented and barrel-aged in sweet American oak before being married with cherry brandy and natural cherry juice. This portlike cherry jubilation calls for chocolate in all its forms.
Left Foot Charley Tien Ice Cider
Ice wine methodology is applied to apples in this luscious pressing from Left Foot Charley. Sweet and hyper-concentrated, the Charleyites suggest you swill it with crème brûlée or creamy blues.
2Lads Sparkling Riesling 2012
The Lads rethunk riesling into a flashy, tropical off-dry effervescence that is singularly yummy. Blossom and stone fruit scents ride each little bubble, and the balanced sweetness begs for brunch time imbibement.
Verterra Winery Cherraz Dessert Wine
Branch and briar find delicious collision in Verterra’s cherry and raspberry port-style distillate. Barrel aged and brandy laced, Cherraz offers layers of dark fruit and spice to hasten the thaw.