It’s time to break out the flutes and get down to the business of bubbles. These Northern Michigan sparkling wines were made for everyday fun.
Historically misdiagnosed solely as the stuff of special occasions, recent enlightenment and a raft of high-quality sparkling wines crafted by our local vignerons makes thirst the only prerequisite for pouring a glass of winter bubbly. Sparkling wines are so called because of their bright effervescence achieved through a second fermentation wherein yeast and sugar are added to still wine in tank (the cuvée close, or charmat method) or in bottle (the méthode champenoise, or traditional method) and the resultant CO2 stays trapped in the wine.
France’s Champagne region bases its wines largely on chardonnay and pinot noir, but nearly all the high acid, cool climate varietals grown in Northern Michigan make fine candidates for the bubble team. Look for tank-fermented wines to have more expressive fruit character, while bottle-fermented bubblies are aromatically and texturally complex as a result of their contact with yeast solids.
BIGLITTLE TIRE SWING BRUT
The bros at bigLITTLE blend riesling, pinot gris and pinot noir with a dose of gewürztraminer that adds exotic orange blossom to this dry, bright bubbly.
L. MAWBY TALISMØN BRUT NV
Made with a solera system of bright young wine blended with older barrel-aged batches, Mawby’s brut masterpiece has showy aromas and rich texture.
BEL LAGO LEELANAU BRILLANTE NV
A blend of white American hybrid varietals, Brillante is tank-fermented to draw out peach, pear and green apple notes atop subtly leesy texture.
BLACK STAR FARMS BRUT CUVÉE 2010
A blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot blanc, Black Star’s bottle-fermented bubbles show an essence of orchard fruit and fresh baked bread.
BOWERS HARBOR 2896 BRUT ROSÉ 2012
Crafted exclusively from pinot noir grown on Spencer Stegenga’s lauded Langley Vineyard, Bowers’ vintage brut rosé brings loads of strawberry and spice notes along with fine, persistent bubble structure.
GOOD HARBOR TRILLIUM SPARKLING RIESLING NV
Fleshy, ripe peach effuses from this slightly sweet sparkling riesling making it a perfect winter breakfast wine.
Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. [email protected]