As a bulwark against deep winter depression, we’re reaching right for the liquid candy, those indulgent Northern Michigan dessert wines that spike the blood sugar and make fine foils to chocolates, tarts, and cheeses.
The propensity of our local fruit growing season to overlap with the onset of cold weather can have magical effects on wine grapes under the right conditions, sending them into a metabolic sprint to increase their sugars while still retaining naturally high levels of acidity. The resulting elixirs, late harvest and ice wines, have sweet and complex depths of flavor and texture that can develop for years in the cellar. Wines made from cherries and raspberries capture the essence of the fruit while receiving a warming alcoholic kick from the addition of grape or fruit brandy.
With macaron in one hand and wine glass in the other, we recommend you delight in these local dessert bottlings.
BLACK STAR FARMS | SIRIUS RASPBERRY DESSERT WINE
A pure, bright and briary explosion of raspberry sweetness kept lithe with the fruit’s natural acidity.
CHATEAU CHANTAL | CERISE CHERRY PORT
With a dark cherry essence, warm brandy soul and subtle spice notes, Cerise is a no-brainer for chocolate pairings.
BOWERS HARBOR | LANGLEY LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2016
Harvested from an 18-year-old vineyard overlooking Lake Michigan, the Langley Late Harvest sings with an intense essence of golden apple, pear, and apricot.
VERTERRA | TUNDRA ICE WINE 2015
The floral soul and flashy tropical fruit aromas of the vignoles hybrid get amplified in this concentrated ice wine from Verterra.
BEL LAGO | CABERNET FRANC ICE WINE 2013
Crafted from frozen cabernet franc grapes, this is a rich and viscous encapsulation of honeysuckle and raspberry.
BRENGMAN BROTHERS | GEWÜRZ SGN 2016
Made from gewürztraminer grapes affected by botrytis cinerea, known as “noble rot,” Brengman’s intense dessert wine à la Alsace shows candied rose petal, tea leaf, and wildflower honey.
Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. [email protected]