Northern Michigan Wine: We sat down with the owner of Frankfort's newest hot spot in the wine scene—Cru Cellars. Visit their stunning location at 411 Main St, Frankfort, 231.399.0200.

Following stints at prestigious Windy City wine destinations like Knightsbridge and Eno, Jennifer Bingham and husband, Torrey, moved to Tampa to launch a hip hybrid wine bar and bottle shop of their own and have just launched a Third Coast location in Frankfort where Torrey spent summers growing up. We catch Jen to talk food and wine chemistry and the virtues of cold rosé.

With Cru being so wine-centric how was the menu designed?

We want this to be a social dining experience and offer a lot of small plates to encourage sharing so our guests can experiment with wine pairings on their own. Cheese and charcuterie are really versatile and wine-friendly so that’s a big focus.

What are your favorite food/wine synergies on the menu?

It sounds basic but I really love the way our white wines interact with the cheeses. The sheep’s milk cheeses from Tirrell Farmstead work really well with Spanish whites like godello and txakolina. 

As it’s high barbecue season do you have a favorite backyard wine pairing?

Rosé and barbecued pork. The darker, fruit forward rosés made from malbec, cabernet franc or sangiovese really work well against the sweet and smoky flavors of the meat.

Traverse food and wine editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey.

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