Northern Michigan Wines: The long hot days of summer’s apex send us fishing in ice buckets for crisp bottles of vin blanc. The proliferation of aromatic, high-acid vinifera in our local vineyards is the answer to the bright blue dome of August arcing over beaches and porch swings. Beyond the obvious bright linear whites like riesling and pinot grigio, there’s a universe of local alternatives. Consider the high-tone floral notes and spicy finish of gewürztraminer, the unexpected charms of pinot noir writ white, or the seasonal oeno-epiphanies found in offbeat varietals like bianca and Auxerrois.

Big Little Treehouse White Pinot Noir 2011

The Big Little brothers perform a whole-cluster press of ripe pinot noir and immediately remove the skins, yielding a texturally tantalizing white wine with a red soul. Subtle red apple, strawberry and spice notes on the nose set up a lush leesy mouthfeel.

Bowers Harbor Smokey Hollow Riesling 2012

The clay and gravel substrate of this former cherry orchard yields riesling grapes with expressive citrus, stone fruit and mineral overtones. Smokey Hollow finishes bone dry and zippy.

Chateau de Leelanau Bianca 2011

The peninsula’s only planting of bianca, a hardy Hungarian hybrid with bright acidity and a flashy nose of pear and grapefruit peel. Winemaker Matt Gregory doesn’t want to call it a “porch pounder” but we do.

Chateau Fontaine Woodland White 2012

Built from the aromatically amped up Alsatian Auxerrois varietal, Woodland White sings with green apple, fragrant honeysuckle and lime zest. Crisp acids are balanced with a barely perceptible soupçon of sweetness.

Good Harbor Gewürztraminer 2011

This young vine gewürztraminer heralds the inaugural release of Good Harbor’s artisanal small-batch series. Effusive rose petal, tropical fruit and white pepper linger admirably.

Peninsula Cellars Stainless Steel Chardonnay 2012

2012’s record temps gave these chardonnay grapes a phenolic friskiness evident in the abundant tropical fruit and candied citrus peel aromas. Stainless steel vinification keeps it fresh and well-suited to dockside indulgence.

This article is also featured in the August 2013 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s MagazineGet your copy now!