6 Northern Michigan Sparkling Wines for Winter Gatherings

Our northern latitude, sandy soils and short, cool growing seasons spike the natural acidity in wine grapes. While the resulting chemistry makes a challenging metric for producing ripe, fully developed fruit from fickle varieties like pinot noir every year, these same conditions are textbook perfect for sparkling wine. Try these Northern Michigan bottlings. 

Chardonnay, pinot gris and riesling grapes with zippy acids and bright aromatics yield sparkling wines with verve, freshness and longevity. This month we break down bubbly’s two main methods along with a list of must-sip Northern Michigan sparkling wines.

Bottle Fermented

Known as traditional method or méthode champenoise, this technique is used to craft Spanish Cavas and French Champagne. A solution of yeast and sugar is added to still wines in bottle to stoke a second fermentation that traps CO2 in solution. Contact with the yeast solids adds complexity to the wine’s texture and aromatics.

Mari Vineyards // Simplicissimus Sparkling Riesling 2017
Fine bubbles infused in the electric green apple soul of Old Mission riesling.

Bowers Harbor // Cuvee Evan Blanc de Blanc 2016
A rich, bone dry and biscuity cuvée of 100% chardonnay from Bowers’ Block I vineyard.

Verterra Winery // Sparkler 2013
More than two years en tirage adds weight and fine bubble structure to this classic blend of chardonnay and pinot noir.

Tank Fermented

Often called charmat method or cuve close, this is the bubble magic behind effervescent guzzlers like Italian Prosecco. These wines are re-fermented in a pressurized tank, which yields a fresh fruity style. 

bigLITTLE // Tire Swing Brut
Dry and zippy with flashy orange blossom and rose notes from a dose of gewürztraminer.

Aurora Cellars // Brut Rosé 2017
Whole cluster pressed pinot noir yields a sexy pink cuvée bursting with tart cherry aromas.

Shady Lane Cellars // Sparkling Riesling 2017
Effusive white peach and melon undercut with hints of spice make this a perfect brunch pairing.