Read on as we journey up the Old Mission Peninsula to sip some of this year’s raft of new Northern Michigan wine releases.
Hot on the heels of the high-quality 2016 harvest, the 2017 growing season on Old Mission Peninsula was once again marked by healthy crop yields and above-average ripeness. A warm fall supercharged the phenolics, especially in white grapes, and sent many winegrowers scrambling to bring in fruit that maintained the optimal balance between sugar and acidity. The net result is expressive whites with tropical fruit overtones and structured reds that will benefit from a slightly longer séjour in barrel before they’re released.
Concurrent with the release of 2017 whites and rosés are the 2016 red wines, which show levels of concentration and intensity rarely seen on Old Mission. They promise to develop additional complexity with a few years of cellar aging. Pinot noir and cabernet franc dominate most tasting room offerings, but keep your eyes peeled for merlot bottlings, which present wonderful texture wrapped around a dark fruit core.
BOWERS HARBOR | BLANC DE NOIRS HEADS & TAILLES NV
A new collaboration between Bowers Harbor and Left Foot Charley, this bottle-fermented bubbly captures the essence of chardonnay and pinot noir with angular freshness from a short tirage.
BRYS ESTATE | RIESLING GRIS RESERVE 2017
Exotic tropical fruit aromas exude from Brys’s off-dry resurrected blend of pinot gris and riesling that serves as a white companion to the winery’s popular riesling pinot noir rosé.
CHATEAU CHANTAL | PROPRIETOR’S RESERVE PONTES VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016
Pretty strawberry and spice commingle in this structured single vineyard pinot noir that fleshed out during an extended spell in 30 percent new French oak.
CHATEAU GRAND TRAVERSE | PINOT NOIR ROSÉ VIN GRIS 2017
Chateau Grand Traverse’s slightly pale pink vin gris touts the red fruit soul of pinot noir couched in an off-dry textural rosé lit up with bright acidity.
HAWTHORNE VINEYARDS | PINOT BLANC 2017
Trending tropical on account of its ripeness at harvest, Hawthorne’s new pinot blanc sings with showy aromatics couched in delectable texture.
MARI VINEYARDS | DRY RIESLING JAMIESON VINEYARD 2016
Winemaker Sean O’Keefe describes his signature riesling as sporting peach and citrus fruit around a lightly wound core of bright acids.
PENINSULA CELLARS | GEWÜRZTRAMINER MANIGOLD VINEYARD 2017
Dried rose petal, lychee nut and candied grapefruit peel define this complex and subtly spicy gewürz from John Kroupa’s tiny 2-acre vineyard.
2LADS | 2016 MERLOT
A 14-month stint in barrel teased out dark cassis, blackberry and vanilla from this boss merlot harvested off 2Lads’ hillside vineyard on Smoky Hollow Road.
BONOBO WINERY | CHARDONNAY C 2017
Bonobo describes their Chablis-inspired chardonnay bottling as a synthesis of stone fruit, white flowers and lemongrass with hints of almond paste from lees aging.
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