Northern Michigan Wine: A noble grape with a bifurcate soul, pinot gris in its Alsatian incarnation is rich and aromatically intense with stone fruit and floral notes, whereas the Italian model (pinot grigio) has crisper acidity and overtones of green apple and citrus. Pinot gris plays out its dual citizenship with equal aplomb in the vineyards of the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas where vineyard management and vinification can swing the wine to either extreme or land it in some delicious compromise. Rich or racy, pinot gris is an excellent pairing for Great Lakes fish like perch and walleye and equally suited to salads and soft cheeses. Read on for an early spring sipping of grand gris and grigio.

2010 Bowers Harbor Pinot Grigio

The 2010 Bowers Harbor is crisp and linear with citrus, tropical fruit and mineral notes modeled after the wines of Northern Italy’s Alto Adige region.

2011 Chateau Fontaine Pinot Gris

The flag bearer of what promises to be one of the North’s greatest vintages, Chateau Fontaine’s 2011 pinot gris is textbook delicious with pear, golden apple and citrus aromas enhanced by terrific minerality.

2010 Chateau Grand Traverse Pinot Grigio

Zippy acidity with forward fruit, citrus peel and sweet herb undertones. Great match for a classic scampi.

2010 Left Foot Charley Pinot Gris

Winemaker Bryan Ulbrich gave this bottling a bit of extended skin contact which imparts a richer mouthfeel and pretty notes of ripe pear and spice. The culinarians at LFC recommend pairing this wine with lobster. 

2010 Two Lads Pinot Grigio

A point of pride at Two Lads, the 2010 pinot grigio exudes plenty of peach and citrus with a richness that straddles the gris/grigio line.

2010 Verterra Pinot Gris

A faint vestigial sweetness in the 2010 Verterra plays up the fruit and floral components of the wine while balancing its crisp acidity.Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine

This article was first featured in the March 2012 "Best Eats" issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Get your copy here!