We revisited 45 North Vineyard & Winery on July 1, it was about the same as the first time we visited. However, this time we had my wife's sister along with us. Introducing Michigan wine to someone new is always a fun thing and also my mission in life.
This winery is situated on the 45th North Parallel, which is 45º North of the Equator, halfway to the North Pole. Also that 45 degree line is where some of the most prestigious wine making regions of the world are located. So there is no doubt that you will be drinking quality wine here. Navigation has gone the wayside of mere coordinate positioning using North, South, East and West, to now where we have addresses that we can plug into Google Maps and get precise directions to our destinations.
45 North Vineyard & Winery is located at 8980 E. Horn Rd, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653 a wonderful place with rolling vineyards and tons of space for weddings and other events like "Yoga in the vineyard." The Leelanau Peninsula in general is a prime growing region, but some grapes have held up tremendously, for example: Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Cabernet Franc to name a few.
There is a big outdoor patio area for sipping wine and enjoying the scenery. Inside you have a large tasting bar, you can sample 5 wines. Their wine list is quite enormous but they have a big selection of dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet wine to sample. So everyone's individual palate can be pleasured to contentment. Why don't we get into the wine, the best part of course!
2016 Reserve Chardonnay: Vanilla and coconut with layers of butter and sweet oak on the nose. The coconut persists on the palate with caramel apple, soft buttery tannins and a bright acidity on the finish. Pair this wine with buttery seafood dishes, grilled salmon and semi soft cheeses.
2016 Dry Riesling: Lime peels and green apple with hints of honeycomb on the nose. The citrus continues on the palate with a light mid-palate that also has a density to it. The finish is long and the acid balance is mouth-watering. Get International with this wine/food pairing. Riesling is very versatile and can show well with a host of food options. Spicy fare is a go-to but don’t stop there. Oysters, grilled fish, fowl or vegetables will pair nicely as well. Experiment with a cheese party to see the reaction of sheep, cow and goat varieties.
2016 Unwooded Chardonnay: Dried tropical fruits, ripe pineapple and a slight lemon on the nose. The tropical profile continues on the palate with a juicy middle, finishing with a fruit-filled linger. Pair with chicken, semi-soft cheese, roasted vegetables.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc: At first the jalapeno and herbs are dominant on the nose but give way to gooseberry and a host of citrus and...melon? The oak is present and will continue to evolve on the mid palate for the next several months. Go Green with foods, herbs and spices with grilled lake fare. Grab some eggs and asparagus and whip up a nice hollandaise for some brunch as well.
2015 Pinot Gris: This wine was split three ways and fermented separately in stainless steel, neutral oak, and their concrete egg, then blended post-fermentation. Aromatic lilies and figs wrapped in a layer of wet stone on the nose work well with the soft mouth feel and fruit flavors. Pair with roasted fowl or pork seasoned with spices like saffron, clove, or allspice.
2016 Reserve Pinot Gris: The barrel and concrete work together to create a softer and more rounded mouth feel, while the acid keeps it bright and crisp. You'll pick up more minerality and stone qualities in this wine, along with more luscious fruit flavors like peach with a side of apple. This one is more of an enjoyable sipper.
2016 Reserve Riesling: 50% Steel aged and 50% Neutral oak aged. This Riesling is dry, however it gushes with intense flavors of peach, mango, and ripe tropical juiciness. Being partially (and delicately) barrel aged, it has a softer mouth feel, and the oak doesn't hit you, it kisses you. This quickly became a staff favorite and is highly recommended.
2016 Marsanne: Very tropical. Melons and pears are lightly outlined in banana aromas with almond undertones on the nose. The mouthfeel is lush with ripe fruit balanced with round tannins and a lingering finish. Pair with semi-soft cheese or lighter grilled meats like pork, chicken or lobster.
2016 45 White: Melon, pineapple, white flowers and preserved lemons on the nose. The melon persists with more floral notes on the palate and a nice weight. There is a balanced mouthfeel that makes this wine great for food pairing or just chatting with a friend. The fruit forwardness of this wine makes it perfect for appetizers.
2016 Chenin Blanc: Candied mango, papaya, peaches and ripe melon on the nose. Lush fruit on the palate with a full mouthfeel that lingers fruit on the finish. The soft acid carries the fruit through the finish. Pair this wine with summer fare such as grilled fish or pork, goat cheese, roasted corn and flavors of cilantro, ginger or dill.
2016 Select Harvest Riesling: Fairly tropical nose and flavors of soft lychee fruit and peach. Slightly floral but sweet with a clean finish.
2016 Rosé Cabernet Franc: Raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant with vanilla cream are all supported aromatically by subtle violets. The red fruit persists on the palate with a subtle tannin outline, and beautiful acidity on the finish.
2016 Red Barn Red: Merlot & Lemberger. Spicy oak, ripe berries, cocoa and a hint of leather on the nose. Sweet, dark fruits on the palate round out the tannins and allow the wine to finish long, like a dry red would. It is sweet enough for the "sweet red" drinker while being approachable to the "I only drink red wine" crowd. Pair with roasted dishes of any type. It will be great with meat, fowl, or roasted veggies. Enjoy with friends!
Sparkling Peach: A delicious, bubbly blend of 25% cold-pressed Leelanau peaches and 75% white wine blend. The perfect beach, boat, or deck wine!
Sparkling Strawberry: 50% Frontenac Gris and 50% Fermented Strawberry juice. Yum! Who wouldn't love this wine?
2013 Ice Wine Riesling: December 10, 2013 · Before sunrise could offer even a glimmer of warmth, they bundled up and headed out on this blustery 9º morning to harvest the frozen grapes. Immediately they pressed them, expelling the liquid nectar that was gradually cool-fermented to retain the succulent flavors of peaches, apricots, and pears. A quick stay in oak rounds it out with a kiss of vanilla on the finish. Delicious!
Cherry Dessert: Enjoy this fortified cherry wine as a dessert on its own, or with dark chocolate. Barrel aged for 6 months to help round out the tartness, and add more mouth feel.
Yes they have wine but they also carry hard cider for those non-wine drinkers in your life!
Hard Cider: Made with fresh-pressed organic antique apple varieties and fermented to dryness. Some juice is added back to give this cider just the right amount of sweetness.
Fresh Coast: Dry Cider: This cider is dry, full, and round on the palate with a refreshing, crisp finish.
Singletrack: Citra-Hopped Cider: This cider is dry-hopped for bright, IPA-like aromas and a delicious dry cider taste.
Oakayzie: Barrel-Aged Cider: This cider is aged in oak barrels for subtle notes of oak and the full flavors of aged apple.
45 RPM: Semi-Sweet Cider: This cider is lush with a sweet finish to balance a natural acidity, suitable for all cider drinkers.
(All descriptions are brought to you by 45 North's Website). I also added some comments as well for those wines that I thoroughly enjoyed!
Reading down this list you ask me, where can I buy these wines? You can order from the winery's website or I'm sure if you ask your local wine shop, the person in charge of ordering will probably love to carry their wine. Price points are higher than other wineries in the area, but you know you are getting quality wine and that is enough to make the prices higher. However, any selection from here is a great decision. Stick to what you like or try something new, it's all up to you.
If you are looking for a cool, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole stop for amazing world-class wine then 45 North Vineyard & Winery is your spot!