Saturday, October 19, 2013

Good Harbor Vineyards, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

The wines from Leelanau and nearby Old Mission Peninsula are now beginning to get the recognition they deserve. Not merely wines made in Michigan, they have a distinct personality deriving from the soil and the relatively cool micro-climate of the area. New wineries are being established every year, but it's the old vineyards that produce the special wines. Good Harbor, just south of Leland, was established more than 30 years ago and has always been one of my favorites.

Good Harbor Tribute Chardonnay, 2008: I've tasted this several times at the winery and am impressed  by the positive changes that seem to take place with each passing year. It was made as a tribute to Bruce Simpson, founder of Good Harbor and winemaker until his untimely death in 2008. It was fermented in stainless steel to preserve the freshness of the fruit, then aged for a year in French oak for complexity. The oak has integrated nicely. Scents and flavors of apple and lime. Light and refreshing with a long, tingly finish. I've had several bottles of the regular 2008, and it too is still going strong albeit with a personality less influenced by oak.

Good Harbor Chardonnay, 2012: Memories of the regular 2008 Chardonnay come back to me as I taste this wine. Apples and Meyer lemon, good mouth feel. This Chardonnay is aged in three-year-old barrels that impart little or no oak traits.

Good Harbor Pinot Gris, 2012: This wine was also aged in used oak barrels but spent some time on its spent yeast cells and, as a result, presents a fuller body and a more oak-influenced presence than the Pinot Grigio below. I like it.

Good Harbor Pinot Grigio, 2012: Same fruit, same vineyard, different style. The grapes were harvested earlier, and the wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The heat of the 2012 growing season is apparent in the extravagant pear and citrus fruit smells and flavors. Very fresh and zesty. Hard to resist right now.

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