Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wine Tasting on Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula: Chateau Grand Traverse

On a visit to Traverse City this week, I had a chance to do some wine tasting on Old Mission Peninsula, a sliver of land that juts into Grand Traverse Bay. It is arguably the best wine appellation in Michigan, ranking slightly ahead of the nearby Leelanau Peninsula. Chateau Grand Traverse was the first winery on Old Mission, and, in my view, it still offers the best wines at the best prices.

2012 Laika Gruner Veltliner ($17): I'm a real fan of Austrian Gruner and very pleased to see the grape introduced to Michigan. The wine is light and crisp with some of the verve of Austrian Gruve. It is a bit disappointing, though, since it doesn't have the range of fruit and herb flavors I expected. Maybe these will come as the vines mature.

2012 Ship of Fools ($15): A blend of Pinot Blanc (70%), Pinot Gris (25%) and Pinot Noir (5%), this is one of my favorites from this estate. It's a powerful, concentrated wine with a good range of aromas and flavors. The cuvee varies with the vintage, and 2012 seems drier than the 2010 I tried here a couple of years ago.

2012 Pinot Grigio ($11): Lots of bright fruit and mineral qualities in this wine. A hint of green herbs on the noise and zesty floral citrus flavors. In the style of Italian Pinot Grigios such as MezzaCorona--which suits me just fine.

2012 Whole Cluster Riesling ($15): Wow! This wine is special. Rich, full mid-palate with a full range of Riesling aromas and flavors. While there is plenty of richness on the mid-palate, the wine has all the crisp, finely tuned qualities of a fine Riesling. The grape is well suited to these cool northern Michigan appellations, and Chateau Grand Traverse has always made very good Rieslings,  both sweet and dry. This Whole Cluster Riesling, though, is something else--ranking with the best Michigan wines I've tasted.

2011 Pinot Noir ($14): I've never been a fan of Michigan reds, but this Pinot is coming close. Medium to light color and body. Cherry/cranberry aromas with a firm, peppery mid-palate and a fruity finish.

More on other wineries later.

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