4 Wines That Saved The Winter

It has been awhile since my last post, and honestly, this winter was harder than others. It's hard when you sit down to write and your fingers can't produce the words you want. Also, the cold weather has hurt some grape crops that will take a hit on the production of some of our most favorite Michigan wines.

So, I've finally got my writing spirit back, and wanted to give you the 4 wines that have got me through this winter. Some of these are actually good for all year round. Here are the wines:

L. Mawby: Blanc De Blanc: This sparkling wine has been aging for 15 months in the bottle after I bought it. In the champagne style the fermentation process continues to ripen this wine and make it even more delicious. When we had it at my dad's retirement celebration it was the talk of the night. Back when I purchased the bottle, we were at an event that featured the L. Mawby wine selection and Larry Mawby, himself! It was such an amazing encounter; he has so much knowledge about wine, the processes and naming wine too. At my dad's retirement party we basked in the nostalgia of that event which made this party even more special!

Chateau Grand Traverse: 2018 National Cherry Festival Wine: Now you say, this is a summertime wine, yes, you are right. However, if you save your wine for those cold winter months, it'll make you think of those warmer months. This is a one time release that makes it hard to come by, a perfect combination of Cherry Wine and varieties of White Wine. Having a crips acidity will make this wine perfect for BBQ food and that's what my wife and I had it with on one of the colder winter nights.

Chateau Grand Traverse: 2016 Gamay Noir: Yes, another wine from CGT! You don't see the Gamay Noir too often in Michigan but this grape has made a significant impact in my life. I actually got into the Gamay Noir in Canada and was elated when I saw it available in Michigan! The Gamay Noir can hold up to the Northern Michigan climate. This light-bodied, aromatic and fruity red wine has 4 months of barrel aging that reveals layers of tart cherries, red plum and black pepper leading to a silky-smooth finish. The final reason for my love of this wine is that it can pair well with almost anything.

Contessa Winery: Prediletto Blush: The sweet pink wine, I do love my blushes and rosés, and this one being a darker pink means it had a longer skin contact period that also brought out more flavor for this particular wine. The grape used for this wine is Chambourcin. It is quite acidic in the blush form but goes well with those particularly spicy dishes that we like to have!

These 4 wines were the staples that made a major impact on my winter. I had many other Michigan wines but these all made me think of warmer times or nostalgia. These memories can warm the heart which, will always bring warmth to the coldest of days. I'll have more for you all at a later date and if you've liked this post, please share what wines helped you through this wild winter?


Baroda Founder's Wine Cellar

Arriving in the tiny downtown of Baroda is Baroda Founders Wine Cellar with a spacious tasting room that feels more modern than you would think from the outside.  Here their wine list is pretty extensive and they have a wine for all different tasting preferences.


Our last visit to this winery was on April 2, but we were previously there back at the end of August after our wedding.  The same bartender was there the previous time we were in.  The tasting experience is really awesome and this last time we were running out of time but wanted to try a new wine they had, the Traminette, which was very good.  The bartender gave us a taste for free since he knew us from before and knows we are going to buy a few bottles.  Baroda Founders Wine Cellar has some of my wife and I's favorite wine the "Cuvee Rosé," along with my dad's favorite the "Oh Hell Yeah! Red" and "Luce Del Sole."


Located at 8963 Hills Road, Baroda, MI 49101 you should take a trip to  visit for a tasting!  The wine is amazing and pours are generous.  The Lake Michigan Shore AVA is on of the world's greatest wine growing region.  If you are in town for lunch or dinner, just a few doors down is Round Barn Brewery & Winery's restaurant that you should check out too.


Without further adieu, why don't we check out these awesome wines:

Lake Michigan Shore Series:

Dry White Wine:

2016 Pinot Gris:  Just about the perfect acid, sugar and pH balance when harvested.  A hearty, full-bodied and flavorful rich, dry white.  Created to more closely resemble a French Pinot Gris rather than an Italian one.

2016 Dry Riesling:  A crisp dry wine with hints of apple and grapefruit flavors.  Perfect for a warm summer day.


Semi-Sweet White Wine:

2013 Riesling:  This wine has a soft citric and honey bouquet.  There is a full mouth feel and round acids that balance the 2% residual sweetness.  This reminded their founder of his travels to Germany, sitting in a courtyard tasting Rieslings

Lake Side Breeze Demi-Sec:  A slightly sweet white wine with a rich pear and apricot nose, full-bodied taste and clean, crisp finish.  A refreshing addition to a leisurely afternoon.

2016 Traminette:  This classic wine is a spicy hybrid of Gewurztraminer.  The pineapple and grapefruit floral flavors have been captured for your enjoyment by their wine master, Leonard R. Olson.

2016 Chardonnay:  A smooth crisp Chardonnay, this wine has a smoky vanilla bouquet mixed with apples and honey overtones with a creamy, refreshing touch of acid for a clean finish.

Luce Del Sole:  Made in the French Vouvray style.  The slightly sweet, fruity taste is complemented by a crisp finish that is clean and refreshing.  It is similar to the wine created by their founder in his early career that was served by President Gerald Ford in the White House.


Sweet White Wine: 

2011 Vidal Blanc Select Sweet Harvest:  This wine is harvested late in the year and has high residual sugars, creating a sweet, rich white wine.  It has a complex bouquet with honey and pear flavors.  It is overwhelmingly graceful.


Dry Red Wine:

2013 Pinot Noir:  A bolder, more robust Pinot Noir with a rich red hue and pronounced oak flavors.

2016 Chambourcin:  A ruby color and full rich berry flavors are complemented with vanilla oak over tones.

2011 Cabernet Franc:  Aged in French oak for 24 months, this full body wine has complex flavors of berries and smoky oak.  Tastes great now or perfect for aging for several years.

2011 Married In The Vineyard:  A marriage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it is truly a French Bordeaux-styled wine.  Aged in French oak for 24 months and then in the bottle for a year, it has a nice balance of ripe berries, tannins and acids, which complement this medium-bodied wine.


Too Fun To Fit In A Series:

Oh Hell Yeah! Red - Semi-Sweet Red:  A sweet red wine with a supple berry, full mouth feel and soft finish.  Named after a fishing friend (Red), who exclaimed “Oh Hell Yeah!” after drinking this wine.  This wine is far too fun to fit in any one Wine Series, and instead, deserved its very own!

Cuvee Rosé:  An off-dry Rosé with a robust cherry and fresh fruit flavor.  This delightful Rosé pairs well with any occasion.  Perfectly balanced at 1.5 residual sugar.


Baroda Antique Series:

Peach - Fruit Wine:  A grape wine with peach flavors infused.  Reminiscent of the days of when your grandfather made fruit wine.

Cranberry - Fruit Wine:  A sweet delectable wine infused with flavor of cranberry.  Reminiscent of the days of when your grandfather made fruit wine.

Green Apple - Fruit Wine:  This Riesling-based wine is full of green-apple flavor.


Delightful Dessert Series:

First Kiss - Dessert Wine:  A full-bodied red wine blend with Merlot characteristics and a rich dark chocolate-red raspberry bouquet.  It has a full mouth feel that gives way to light tannins and a dark chocolate sweetness.  Fun in a glass!

Smorleaux - Dessert Wine:  A subtle milk chocolate flavor touched with a hint of marshmallow leads into full-bodied, slightly sweet Merlot characteristics.

(Thanks to Baroda Founders Wine Cellar's website for wine descriptions).


Besides the main winery in Baroda, you can also check out their tasting room in St. Joseph on State St.  You can easily get their wine if you can't make it to the winery for a tasting by ordering off their website.  On the west side of the state you can find their wine in many stores.  The farther east you go it may be harder to find their wine but ask your local wine shop and they should be able to get your favorite wine on the shelves.  With prices mostly in the teens, they are comparable to similar wines from Michigan.


Baroda Founders Wine Cellar is pretty cool, you'll love it!


Domaine Berrien Cellars

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Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be in the south of France?  Domaine Berrien Cellars makes you feel like you are there.  We stopped by the vineyard on April 2, 2018, on this day it was pretty cold still and the vines weren't in bloom but we did have a great time.

Vineyards preparing to bloom in less than a month.

We had been traveling for a while and decided to let our dogs out to frolic in the vineyard.  Once they did their business it was time for me to gather some great content for the blog.

Marvin In the vineyard

Domaine Berrien Cellars is located at 398 E. Lemon Creek Rd, Berrien Springs, MI 49103 with the vineyard on site and a big patio for gatherings when it gets warmer.  Pretty much right across the street from Lemon Creek Winery.  We walked up the ramp into the tasting room that had a big bar with some cool gifts and things.  They even sold their old oak barrels.  Next time we may purchase one and put it somewhere cool!

They have tons of delicious wine, mostly french style wines, since they wanted to mimic the Chateaus in France.  We tasted many different wines from dry to sweet.  They had a sweet Traminette that won an award, a Marsanné that tasted like a sparkling wine without the bubbles and one of the first wines produced at the vineyard called "Wolf's Prairie Red," this wine is said to stain concrete.  If you look closely you can see where people have spilled this wine on the patio.


Why don't we take a look at the other wines they have:

Dry White Wine:

2016 Viognier:  A fruit salad in your glass!  Aromas of apricot and cantaloupe.  Refreshing flavors of ripe, juicy peach, & melon with a spicy finish of star fruit and apple.  $15.00/bottle

2015 Marsanne:  This 2015 Marsanne was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, giving it wild elderflower aromas.  It has engaging flavors of Bartlett pear and honeydew melon with a lingering finish of crisp minerality.  This is the white wine that red wine drinkers will love!:  $15.00/bottle 

2016 Dry Traminette:  Traminette is a hybrid grape and a relative of the German grape Gewurztraminer.  This dry, fruity wine has wonderful aromas of honeysuckle, and flavors of apricot with a zippy lime finish.  Golden yellow color.  Great with turkey dinner or chicken curry.  $12.00/bottle

2016 Oaked Marsanne:  Aging in oak barrels lends aromas of toasty marshmallow & vanilla with a rich, creamy full body.  Butterscotch & caramel notes accentuate flavors of juicy pear, creme brulee, and Granny Smith apple with a soft, smooth finish.  $18.00/bottle

Sweet White Wine:

2016 Vignoles - 2.65% RS:  Tropical aromas of mango and papaya with flavors of sweet juicy pineapple will make you think of summer all year-long!  This wine pairs perfectly with Asian fare or grilled meats.  $12.00/bottle

2016 Sweet Traminette - 4.75% RS:  This sweet German-style wine with orange blossom aromas and flavors of juicy nectarine and honey.  Beautiful golden color and a robust finish.  Always a popular choice when friends get together!  $12.00/bottle

2016 Sweet Seyval Blanc - 8% RS:  Their sweetest wine.  Aromas of mandarin orange & apricot lead to luscious flavors of honey & juicy, ripe, apricot with a smooth, full finish.  Open a bottle on the patio it won't last long!  $12.00/bottle

Dry Red Wine:

2015 Pinot Noir:  A dark, Burgundy-style wine with aromas of subtle toasty oak, dark cherry flavors, and vanilla & cola on the finish. Rich garnet color.  $18.00/bottle

2016 Cabernet Franc:  Bright ruby color.  Graceful notes of violets on the nose with bright flavors of strawberry & sweet oak.  Medium bodied.  Soft tannins with a touch of cinnamon spice on the finish.  This wine pairs nicely with all kinds of beef.  $20.00/bottle

2016 Lemberger:  A medium-bodied wine with an intoxicating, spicy, aroma and flavors of red currant & plum.  Round, velvety and smooth on the finish, ready to drink now!  Pairs perfectly with pork tenderloin or lamb dishes.  $18.00/bottle

2015 Wolf's Prairie Red:  A dark red blend of hybrid grapes De Chaunac & Chelois with subtle smoky aromas, and full flavors of dark berry & plum with a bold finish.  $12.00/bottle

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon:  Powerful black fruit from the King of Grapes!  Floral aromas lead to expressive dark fruit flavors with a smooth, balanced finish.  This complex, full-bodied wine opens beautifully in the glass.  $20.00/bottle

Sweet Red Wine:

2016 Red Satin - 2.5% RS:  A soft, semi-sweet red blend.  Fruity/floral aromas and flavors of strawberry jam, vanilla, & cherry.  Accents of mild oak tannins and a smooth, soft finish.  $16.00/bottle

2016 Grandma's Red - 5% RS:  Made from the same full flavored, deep red grapes as Wolf's Prairie Red, but in a sweeter style.  A fruity bouquet complements flavors of mixed berry jam and a full, sweet finish.  Perfect for pizza, pasta and sangria!  $12.00/bottle

(Thanks to the Domaine Berrien Cellars website for wine descriptions and pricing).


If you are wondering where you can get their wine you can find it at select wine shops around your town in Michigan.  These wines will be more prevalent on the west side of the state, but if your shop doesn't carry your wine simply ask and they will be glad to order it for you.  If you want to order direct from the vineyard, then go to their website and send them an email with your selections.  What could be better than wine at your doorstep?


I can't wait to taste how delicious the bottles we bought are.  Let me know if you've tried a wine from Domaine Berrien Cellars and if you liked it.  I'll be back Friday with an awesome wine pick of the week.  Until then sit back with a nice glass and toast spring time!


Leelanau Cellars


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Finally here!  Famously known for their "Winter White" wine in the blue bottle.  Leelanau Cellars is located on the extreme northwest tip, or pinky finger of Michigan, right on the shore of Lake Michigan.  The winery's address is 7161 N West Bay Shore Dr, Northport, MI 49670.  It is a Leelanau Peninsula must.  I plan on visiting the winery this summer and I'll have an update to this post once I go.


Leelanau Cellars is quite famous, with their wines winning awards every year.  You can also find their wine in pretty much every grocery store, wine shop, party store and gas station in the state.  Their wine comes at very attractive prices, many times anywhere from $6 to $13 depending on what style you get.  With the abundance of wine distributed you may have heard of Leelanau Cellars.  


What other wines do they have besides "Winter White?"  Let's check it out!

Apricot:  A smooth and sweet wine full of apricot flavor that is ideally served chilled.

Autumn Harvest:  Light to medium-bodied blended table wine, full of ripe berry flavors including raspberries and tart cherries. It is an easy-to-drink everyday red with a slight earth finish that lingers on the palate.  This wine is great for gatherings that include guests who prefer a dry red wine.
Pairings: Tomato based pasta sauces, pork chops, pizza, lasagna, grilled vegetables, and chili.

Back Noir Rosé:  Aromas of candied plums, strawberries, and wildflowers will tantalize your nose while flavors of fresh tart cherries, raspberries, and cranberries will enliven your palate.  This rosé has a distinctly acidic quality.  The wine’s low alcohol content makes it a great wine for summer enjoyment.
Pairings: When served chilled, this wine will be a perfect complement with artisan cheeses, seafood, spicy Asian foods, and salads.

Blueberry:  100% blueberry wine is ruby red and sweet, reminiscent of the fruit picked fresh from the patch with a subtle lingering hint of spices and nuts.
Pairings: Pairs well with Brie cheese & cherry chicken salad, as well as desserts like cheesecake, lemon bars, and fresh fruit.

Cabernet Franc:  The nose of this Cabernet Franc is full of violets with a slight herbaceous quality and has slight tannins and a medium body.  Dark fruit flavors including fresh black currants, plums and sweet cherries are abundant and palate pleasing.
Pairings: Grilled red meats, pot roasts, beef stroganoff, and roasted tomato sauces.

Chardonnay:  Barrel-aged estate grown Chardonnay grapes make up this well balanced Chardonnay which is medium in body and weight and full of caramel and vanilla nuances that will linger on your palate.  The defined oak nuances and crisp acidity are reminiscent of traditional French Burgundy or cool climate Chardonnay.
Pairings: Creamy Alfredo sauces, cheesy polenta, grilled chicken, salmon, crab cakes, pork, duck and veal.

Cherry:  Made from Northern Michigan Montmorecy tart cherries, this 100% pure cherry wine has a tangy character and has been recognized for providing beneficial antioxidants.  Enjoy this wine served ice cold or mixed with seltzer and a lemon wedge to make a refreshing summer spritzer.
Pairings: Recommended using this wine in sauces over poultry or pork.

Cranberry:  This wine is full of intense cranberry flavor and delicious served cold, or you can also use it in your homemade sangria, spritzers and cocktails.

Dry Riesling:  Light in body and crisp on the palate, this award winning wine is loaded with flavors and aromas of fresh lemon, crisp green apples and pears.  Subtle underlying minerality and a crisp lively acidity lends this Riesling to a multitude of foods.
Pairings: Seared sea scallops, grilled shrimp, mild fish dishes, salads and light appetizers.

Great Lakes Red:  Award winning 100% Concord grape wine is perfect for picnics, tailgating and entertaining.  It is semi-sweet and quite refreshing when served chilled… like your favorite grape juice with an extra special kick.
Pairings: Cheese and sausage trays, BBQ and picnic fare or simply on its own.

Late Harvest Riesling:  A sweeter version of Riesling harvested after the grapes freeze on the vine.  Pairs best with desserts.

Late Harvest Vidal:  A sweeter version of Vidal harvested after the grapes freeze on the vine.  Pairs best with desserts.

Meritage:  This Meritage is a blend of estate-grown Cabernet Sauvigon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.  Full-bodied with refined tannins from aging in French oak barrels the texture and feel is silky, smooth and elegant.  Aromas of red violets and dark purple flowers are distinct to the nose and robust dark fruit flavors are abundant on the finish.
Pairings: Grilled steaks or any red meat, pork roasts, sharp cheeses, mushrooms, and grilled vegetables.

Merlot:  This Estate grown merlot has spent over a year in American Oak.  This full-bodied wine with refined tannins is full of cassis and black currant aromas.  The palate is intense with ripe tart cherry and red berry flavors to be enjoyed with robust foods.
Pairings: Grilled meats, Italian sausage, pork roasts, and wild game.

Pear:  They use local pears to make this 100% pear fruit wine, sure to remind you of autumn in Northern Michigan whether you have visited or not.
Pairings: Perfect on its own, chilled if you prefer or reduced to a sauce over ice cream and cobbler.

Pinot Noir:  This delicate, light-bodied wine has an abundance of red berry aromas and flavors which include red currant, tart cherry, and red raspberry.  The subtle spiciness that is present on the palate is reminiscent of the delicacy of white pepper.  The somewhat acidic nature of this wine makes it a perfect accompaniment to a meal.  This wine will help cleanse your palate while maintaining the bright fruit flavors and slight floral aromas that are sure to linger well beyond your last sip.
Pairings: Grilled salmon, swordfish, duck, chicken, pork, pheasant and quail as well as grilled mushrooms, roasted squash and creamy risotto.

Raspberry:  Their highly-in-demand 100% raspberry wine will fill your palate with mouthwatering intensity and is sure to enliven your senses.  Serve chilled on its own or as a refreshing spritzer mixed with seltzer over ice.
Pairings: Dark chocolate, cheesecake or fresh fruit.

Red Sangria:  This is a semi-sweet wine that is blended with natural citrus flavors and secret spices.  This refreshing drink is a great choice when entertaining and should be served chilled over ice with an assortment of chopped fresh fruit.
Pairings: Perfect compliment to slightly spicy foods such as Mexican, Spanish and South American cuisine.

Renaissance:  If you enjoy semi-dry wines with your meals, this wine is a perfect accompaniment to fish or chicken.  It is a medium-bodied blend of our finest wines in the cellar. It is full of tropical fruit flavors, yet dry on the finish.

Reserve Chardonnay:  This 100% estate grown Chardonnay is made from grapes that have been barrel aged for over a year.  This wine has an extremely smooth texture and a luscious full mouth feel.  Flavors of vanilla, crème brulee and butterscotch are abundant.
Pairings: Salmon, lobster, crème based sauces, and bisques.

Tall Ship Riesling:  This semi-sweet Riesling is layered with ripe fruit flavors including fresh peaches, apricots, baked apples and pears.  It is perfect when enjoyed on its own but it nicely accompanies most entrees and desserts.
Pairings: Sharp cheeses, smoked fish, and assorted fresh fruit.

Semi-Dry Riesling:  This is very versatile and can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere.  Stainless steel fermentation allows the delicate characteristics of the Riesling grape to exist unadulterated. It is off-dry with plenty of ripe citrus aromas and flavors and is crisp to the palate and a great choice to drink with slightly spicy dishes.
Pairings: Pairs well with foods that are difficult to compliment including aromatic Indian curries and spicy Asian cuisine.

Sleeping Bear Red:  This wine is a Burgundy-style blend of five different grapes.  This wine contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Baco Noir, and Pinot Noir.  This wine is light-to-medium bodied with definite tart cherry and red currant flavors throughout.  The addition of Cabernet gives this wine a bit of backbone and structure.
Pairings: Tomato sauces, pork roasts, rotisserie chicken, quail, and duck.

Spiced:  A blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and other natural spices, this wine is a crowd pleaser.  Perfect for entertaining, this wine will explode with intense flavor when served warm but can also be served chilled as an ingredient in sangria.

Spring Splendor:  Their delightful semi-dry table wine is full of lush fruit flavors and is a perfect accompaniment to a meal, an afternoon picnic or can simply be enjoyed on its own.  (This wine will make you think of spring time regardless of your current season).
Pairings: A great wine to pair with brunch foods including crepes, and bagels and lox or light chicken and fish entrees.

Summer Sunset:  Their semi-dry blush wine will fill your palate with flavors of fresh strawberry, honeydew melon and ripe cantaloupe.  Perfect for a picnic or simply enjoying the Leelanau sunset from any vantage.  (The best end to any summer evening).
Pairings: Assorted fruits and cheeses.

Sweet Red:  This all-occasion table wine is an easy choice to serve when entertaining.  Great for summer BBQ’s, picnics and any large festivities our semi-dry red is easy to drink and quite refreshing when served chilled.
Pairings: BBQ chicken, pulled pork, chili, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs.

Tall Ship Chardonnay:  Their Classic Chardonnay has a medium body, is ever-so-slightly off dry, and quite crisp.  Plenty of citrus flavors and tropical aromas including fresh pineapple, ripe mango and star fruit are present.
Pairings: Pairs well with a wide variety of foods including chicken, seafood, grilled vegetables, whitefish, walleye, salmon, and pork.

Tall Ship Moscato:  This is a sweet and crisp wine with notes of peach, apricot and citrus.
Pairings: Assorted fruits and fish.

Tall Ship Pinot Grigio:  A bright, light to medium bodied wine that is full of sharp flavors of white grapefruit, fresh lemon and green apple and has a distinct nose full of lemongrass and cilantro.  This Pinot Grigio is perfect as an aperitif before a meal or as an accompaniment to many meals.
Pairings: Crisp summer salads, chilled shrimp cocktail or fresh calamari, and chicken or vegetarian dishes.

Tall Ship Red:  A favorite of visitors to the winery.  This merlot and syrah blend is medium bodies, smooth and loaded with red and black berry flavors.

White Sangria:  A blend of premium white grapes mixed with natural fruit juices, this summertime favorite has luscious, slightly spiced undertones and a medley of delicate tropical flavors as well as fresh ripe peaches, ripe honeydew melon and edible flowers.
Pairings: Recommend serving this sangria chilled over ice with assorted chopped seasonal fruit and fresh, sliced citrus rounds.

White Port:  Fortified white, goes well with most desserts.

Witches Brew:  It is our secret wine blend enhanced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and other natural spices that makes this a crowd pleaser and favorite of Leelanau Cellars’ fans.  Perfect for entertaining, this wine will explode with intense flavor when served warm but can also be served chilled as an ingredient in sangria.  Witches Brew is perfect for campfires, tailgating, or any gathering (large or small) on a chilly evening.

Winter Green Apple Chill:  Green Apple flavors blend impeccably with their classic Winter White wine creating the mildest of the three new fruit chills.  So deliciously smooth that it just may become your new favorite wine.

Winter White:  Their ever-popular table wine also known as “the wine in the blue bottle” is very similar to a Piesporter in style and is light-bodied and semi-sweet.  Empty blue bottles of winter white have been used in many craft and design projects or simply converted to a lovely flower vase.
Pairings: Serve with appetizers, including cheese and crackers or pair it with chicken or fish for a meal.

Winter White Cherry Chill:  Cherry flavor infused with the Winter White wine.

Winter White Mixed Berry:  Wild Berry flavors are blended seamlessly with their classic Winter White wine to create a brand new, refreshing, light and semi-sweet white wine that is best served chilled and enjoyed anytime.

Winter White Peach Chill:  Luscious Red Peach flavors brim from your glass after being seamlessly blended with their classic Winter White wine to create a brand new, refreshingly light, semi-sweet white wine that is best served chilled and enjoyed anytime.  (My wife's favorite!  Also, perfect on those hot summer days).

*Wine descriptions are brought to you by the Leelanau Cellars website.  Anything in parentheses are my own remarks on the wine.



The options are endless at their winery.  You can order their wine if you can't find the particular wine you want in your local store.  If you want the tasting room experience they are open all year round, you can head up north where the tastings are free.  You'll leave with a couple of bottles or a case, I can guarantee that.


Let me know what your favorite wine from Leelanau Cellars is?  Cheers!




Fenton Winery & Brewery

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Fenton Winery & Brewery has a pretty interesting history.  Founded by Matt and Ginny Sherrow they started out in a strip mall in 2007 amidst a recession the owners were determined to make it through.  After a few years of success, acquiring the storefronts on either side and gaining popularity, they knew the winery & brewery could be expanded if they had more space.  In 2012 they found a nice 5 acre property, previously a wood shop, just North of town on Long Lake Rd.  The property needed a lot of renovation, fast forward to 2014 they were totally transitioned.  Now at 1370 N. Long Lake Rd., Fenton, MI 48430 they have a store that sells brewing supplies, glasses, growlers, bottles of beer and wine and other cool items.  There is a separate wedding/event room and the brewhouse is onsite.  The taproom where you can indulge in samples, glasses or bottles of their craft wines and beer, the delicious pizzas, appetizers, cheesy ale soup (my favorite!), meat and cheese tray and artisan grilled cheese sandwiches.  On nice days you can take your food and drink outside into the beer and wine garden.  You won't be bored, they also have games like corn hole, board games and much more to help you relax.  If you find yourself on US-23 in-between Hartland and Flint this is your stop.


As I have written in the past about my secondary love of beer Fenton Winery & Brewery has something that everyone will love.  Even if you aren't into wine and beer they can serve up your favorite cocktail instead.  You'll be shocked at their selection of wine.  Why don't we explore the amazing wine they have.


White Wine:

Orange Label White - Sauvignon Blanc

Classic, semi-dry wine that has an herbaceous nose & subtle hints of lavender.  Excellent with seafood & well-seasoned poultry dishes.

Fenton White - Chardonnay

Fresh, well-balanced with tropical citrus aromas and flavors.  Undimmed by oak, the fruit quality of the grape comes through and the rich, round mouth feel lingers to a long, crisp finish.

Celebrate - Viognier  

Full-bodied & highly aromatic, this fruit-forward wine boasts great floral notes.  Layers of flavor linger on the palate.  Pairs well with spicy foods.  (One of my favorite whites).  See flight picture.

Gazebo White - Riesling

Light, semi-sweet wine that features a delicate, fruity aroma and a fresh, crisp finish.  A versatile wine that pairs well with an array of dishes.

Moonlight - Moscato

Light-bodied, sweet white wine that has a refreshing taste.


Blended Wine:
Breeze - Pomegranate Riesling

Semi-sweet Riesling blended with tart pomegranates.

Solo - Blackberry Merlot

This is by far their best seller!  A velvety soft, medium-bodied Merlot mixed with rich, sweet blackberries.  Wonderful with dark chocolate!

Crisp - Green Apple Riesling

A great, refreshing wine that reminds you of biting into a crisp green apple.  A delicious juicy finish follows the apple tartness.

Wild - Wildberry Shiraz

A light, refreshing, fruity blend of wild berries and a robust Shiraz.

Grin - Raspberry White Zinfandel

Blush wine offering succulent, mouth-watering flavors of sweet, ripe raspberries blended gracefully with the refreshing character of a White Zinfandel.


Red Wine:
Fenton Red - Merlot

Medium-bodied red wine boasting a fruity flavor & velvety soft finish.  A perfect sipping red.

Summit Red - Pinot Noir

Known for its fruit & berry notes, this medium-bodied red is rich & surprisingly smooth.  Pairs well with sweeter, lightly seasoned dishes. (This was my top wine pick of the week for Feb 23, 2018.  The second wine going left to right in my wine flight picture).

Orange Label Red - Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth and rich with qualities of warm berries up front.  This is a medium bodied wine that has light tannins in the finish.

Mountain View - Malbec

Medium-bodied red wine with lasting notes of jammy, plum flavors and a dry, warm finish. (Very delicious wine with all those characteristics you love from a Malbec.  Third wine going left to right on my flight picture).

Barrel Aged Red Wine
1545 North - Barolo

An Italian favorite made from the Nebbiolo grape.  This barrel aged version is aromatic & delicious with light tannin undertones. (I love this wine!  This is the second time I've seen this at a Michigan winery.  This is the wine on the right of my wine flight picture).

Crimson Vine - Shiraz

Medium-bodied, spicy on the palate & robust.  Notes of warm berries & black pepper.

Dessert Wines and Specialty Wine:
First Frost Ice Wine - Riesling Ice Wine

Sweet aromas & flavors of pear, honey and sugar drops combine for a real treat.

Winter Warmth - Cherry Chocolate Dessert Wine

Sweet and rich with flavors reminiscent of a chocolate covered cherry, this wine is a perfect after dinner sipper.

Opulence Ruby - Fortified Port

Double medal winning port recipe that takes almost 2 years to create as it is aged and fortified with French Barrel Aged Brandy.  It has incredible flavor balance with notes of banana and elderberries throughout.

Cocoa - Chocolate Merlot

Medium bodied Merlot blended with rich dark cocoa.  This is not a sweet wine, it has decadent flavors throughout that create a subtle sweetness and sophisticated experience. (This wine is dessert in a glass no doubt).

(Descriptions brought to you by the Fenton Winery & Brewery's website).  Personal accounts are made in parentheses after each description.


Left to right:
Celebrate, Summit Red, Mountain View, 1545 North.


Not on the list is the "Mango Wine," which is one I'll have to go back for.  My wife and I really loved it. The mango taste wasn't over powering but made for a unique tasting experience.  I hope it sticks around for awhile.


The winery & brewery is a great place to get together with family and friends.  My wife and I went this past Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 to meet up with her sister and husband, who live in Fenton and discovered it.  We sampled both wine and beer.  You can mix up your flights to have wine and beer on them.  The flight is the way to go and with 4 pours for $7 you can't go wrong!  We ordered pizza and a cheesy ale soup made from their amber ale, absolutely delicious!  On top of that, the staff is super friendly and attentive making sure our glasses didn't run dry.  We can't wait to go back.


I've never heard of the Fenton Winery & Brewery before last week, so I was excited to try it out.  I suggest that you check it out too!


Chateau Grand Traverse

Image result for chateau grand traverse

Chateau Grand Traverse is an amazing winery in Northwest Michigan located on the Mission Peninsula overlooking West Suttons Bay.  Known for their Riesling and home of the annual Cherry Festival "Cherry Wine."  Each summer around the 4th of July the Cherry Festival is a staple in Traverse City and draws people from all over the world.  When they release the Cherry Festival "Cherry Wine" look out for "Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week."


The winery is located at 12239 Center Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686.  In addition to the winery they have an inn with themed rooms.  My wife and I took a look at the inn while looking at places to stay for our wedding venue trip.  Unfortunately, the inn was completely booked for the days we would be in the area.  We hope to stay there on our next trip to Traverse City.  


Let's get into the wonderful world-class wine from Chateau Grand Traverse.  Their selection is bound to please every type of wine drinker.

Red & Rosé Wine:

2013 Pinot Noir Reserve:  This dry red wine has a spirited sort of elegance. It comes alive with delicate cherry and strawberry nuances, mingled with subtle chocolate flavors.  Aged for 26 months in small oak barrels, this wine offers refined oak complexity, light tannins, and a lasting finish.  The complex character of this wine pairs well with savory dishes, red meats, grilled salmon, or wild game.

2013 Silhouette Reserve:  An off-dry style, premium red wine blend of Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Dornfelder.  It is fruity and rich in body with subtle mellowing from aging for 22 months in new and seasoned French and American oak barrels.  Serve with red meats, pasta, or any grilled fare.

2013 Merlot Reserve:  Think berries, black pepper, chocolate, espresso, firm acidity and big tannins. Aged for 26 months in small oak barrels, this full-bodied, dry red wine comes together with captivating flavors and abundant fruit.

2013 Cabernet Franc Reserve:  This beautifully structured red wine exhibits fragrant aromas of berry, black pepper, dark chocolate, and hints of coffee.  The palate comes to life with firm tannins, earthy minerals, and strong oak references from 26-months aging in small oak barrels.  The complex character of this wine pairs well with savory dishes, red meats, hearty pasta, or strong cheese.

2013 Gamay Noir Reserve:  A lighter-bodied, aromatic, fruity red wine with distinct tart cherry, red plum and black pepper flavors abound.  With 36 months of barrel aging, it is lighter than traditional red wines making a versatile wine for cheese and breads, grilled salmon, roasted duckling or wild mushroom pizza.  (2013 was a good year for wine).

2014 Etcetera Red:  This handcrafted red blend reveals mouth quenching acidity, robust berry flavors, and subtle oaky earthiness.  pair with a juicy burger, grilled salmon, spicy Paella, or your favorite charcuterie.

2016 Etcetera Rosé:  This handcrafted rosé reveals mouth quenching acidity, robust berry flavors, and subtle oaky earthiness.  Made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, this balanced wine is made for summertime sipping on the patio.  Pair with a juicy burger, grilled salmon, spicy Paella, or your favorite charcuterie.  (Summertime calls for an amazing pink and this blend will make you coming back for more.  It is probably a good idea to get 2 or more bottles of this rosé).

2016 Pinot Noir Rosé:  It may seem “pretty in pink,” but this is a seriously polished wine made from gently pressed Pinot Noir grapes.  With just a touch of sweetness, this medium-bodied Vin Gris exudes bright tart cherry aroma, crisp melon, and light vanilla with a lasting finish.  Perfectly matched for those hard to pair foods, this wine will most certainly command a room. (You'll be seeing more and more of these rosés as the summers become hotter and more dry).

2016 Pinot Noir:  This wine comes alive with flavors of cherry, raspberry and chocolate with medium body, firm tannins and a fruity finish.  The delicate complexity of this wine matches
well with grilled salmon, roast duckling, wild game, or even dark chocolate after dinner.

2016 Gamay Noir:  Has adapted well to the climate of Northern Michigan producing a lighter-bodied, aromatic, fruity red wine with distinct tart cherry, red plum and black pepper flavors.  With four months of barrel aging, it is lighter than traditional red wines making a versatile wine for cheese and breads, grilled salmon, roasted duckling or wild mushroom pizza. (Probably one of my favorite grape varietals).

Woods Sweet Red:  CWoodsheers to the road not yet traveled, trees that could tell our history, and the promise of an unforgettable view around the bend.  This sweet red wine pairs perfectly with your favorite trail mix, hunter sausage with sharp cheddar cheese, and a trail map to plan for tomorrow. (CGT)

Select Sweet Traverse Red:  This sweet-style red wine is made from a selected blend of 100% vinifera red wine grapes. It displays a sweet fruity flavor with rich red wine undertones.  Serve slightly chilled.


White Wine:

2016 Pinot Grigio:  Bright acidity and beautiful mineral qualities with wonderful fruit. Its floral-citrus flavors and herbaceous style will make this a very food-friendly wine, perfect for summertime.  The natural acidity in this crisp Pinot Grigio will accentuate simple and delicate flavors in food, especially fish entrées.  Pair with savory dishes such as seared scallops, pesto chicken, or stir fry.

2013 Gewürztraminer:  Robust and spicy with a pronounced aromatic style.  Exhibiting floral, ginger, citrus and earthy nuances.  This wine pairs wonderfully with assertive cuisine such as Thai or Indian dishes.

2016 Etcetera White:  Notes of honeycomb, ripe green apple, and citrus fill the palate with striking minerality and a hint of spice on the finish.  Enjoy this exquisitely structured white wine with most savory dishes such as margarita pizza, decadent mac and cheese, and grilled sausage and peppers.

2016 Ship of Fools:  "A ship’s journey will cease if its myriad of characters fail to meld as a crew."  In a similar fashion, they created this unconventional blend that reveals an altogether new phizog.  It exhibits bright fruit flavor, pleasing mineral qualities with nuances of aromatic green tea.  With a dry, lingering finish and soft acidity, it is the perfect skipper to sail into uncharted waters. (CGT)

2016 Grü Vin:  Equal parts “crispy-wow” with “zesty-ooh,” this captivating cool climate creation can saunter into any room and grab attention.  Their small block vineyard provides intense late-season ripening, creating a laid-back wine with a clean finish.  This show-stopping wine offers marvelous citrus qualities, juicy minerality, and hints of white pepper.  Sit back, enjoy a chilled glass and be your far-out self. (CGT) (Can you dig it?)

Select Pinot Grigio:  A slightly sweeter wine offering ripe fruit flavors, citrus-herb qualities, and crisp acidity.  This versatile wine pairs beautifully with spicy dishes.

Waters Sweet White:  CheerWaterss to full sails, fish tales, wet paddles and rafting up with friends on the lake.  This sweet white wine pairs nicely with planked salmon, fresh cherries, watermelon, and those freshwater memories that can only be made in Michigan. (CGT)

Picnic Semi-dry White:  Cheers to toes in the sand at sunset, gentle breezes scented by campfire, and spontaneous outdooor dining.  This semi-dry white wine pairs perfectly with a gingham table cloth, wicker basket, warming bonfire, and s’mores after sunset with your favorite people. (CGT)



2016 Late Harvest Riesling:  Abounds with dazzling fruit and crisp citrus flavors balanced with a naturally sweet finish.  They created this exquisite after-dinner wine to match well with cheese and fruit as well as roast pork, glazed ham, poultry, or most barbecued fare.

2014 Semi-dry Riesling:  This versatile wine displays flavors of ripe pear and honey crisp, accented by scents of Meyer lemon and acacia honey complimented by very refreshing acidity.  Most entrées will surely be complemented by this versatile wine.  Flavors of citrus and fresh fruit abound, balanced with crisp acidity and a lasting finish.  From the basic stir fry, barbecue, or even Indian chutney, the fruit undertones will enhance a broad range of the most unique meals.  Serve slightly chilled.

2016 Dry Riesling:  This expressive dry white wine is crisp, fruity and fresh.  Intricate flavors of apple, pear and citrus are matched with a vibrant steely-dry finish.  Its assertive and clean style is an ideal match for most seafood, shellfish, or delicate cream sauce entrées

2016 Whole Cluster Riesling:  Crisp aromatics, bright tropical fruit and lemony citrus are accented with luscious flavors of ripe apple and pear.  Produced from top quality, hand-picked Riesling grapes, whole clusters were pressed without any de-stemming or crushing.  The resulting wine is sleek and steely with just a hint of natural sweetness for balance.  With talent on loan from the vineyard, this wine is a Riesling rock star.

2016 Block Twelve:  Block 12 is their prized little vineyard recognized for producing outstanding quality grapes.  Hand-picked with loads of flavor, they cool fermented and steady aged in stainless steel allowing this wine to show off juicy fruit-forward aromatics, pronounced citrus and a robust mouthfeel.  Made in the style they see fit, this hand-crafted, small production wine exemplifies their 43-year commitment to making extraordinary Riesling.

Select Semi-dry Riesling: This is a popular semi-dry white wine made in a refreshing style with crisp character.  Serve with cheese and fruit, grilled poultry, fresh seafood, or any barbecued fare.

Select Sweet Harvest Riesling:  This sweeter-style white wine displays flavors of apricot, melon and honey with a sweet finish.  Serve with roast pork, grilled poultry, glazed ham, pasta salad or barbecued fare.


Cherry Wine:

Cherry Wine Sangria:  This is a sweet wine made from Cherry Wine blended with natural lemon, lime, pineapple, banana and orange flavors.  Cherry Wine Sangria is a perfect pairing for holiday meals, with flavors that burst when warmed.

Spiced Cherry Wine:  This wine is a holiday tradition made from a blend of Cherry Wine with natural flavors of cinnamon, clove, orange, and lemon peel.  Enjoy as a warm-up beverage during the cooler months.

Cherry Riesling Wine:  This unique and flavorful wine was made from Semi-dry Riesling Wine and Northern Michigan Cherry Wine.  Simply put, this enchanting semi-dry wine displays crisp, fruity style with a delicate hint of cherry.  We recommend serving this versatile wine slightly chilled as an accompaniment to picnic or barbecued fare, as well as cheese and fruit.  This is a sweeter-style blush wine with crisp Riesling flavors.

Cherry Wine:  This all-natural Cherry Wine is made in a sweeter style and is produced from a variety of tart cherries grown in nearby orchards.  They cool fermented this wine in stainless steel tanks to capture the delicate fruit qualities, ripe cherry flavors, and beautiful color.  Enjoy with barbecued foods, picnic fare or cheese and fruit. Serve slightly chilled for best flavor.

Cherry Reserve Port:  This rich and robust port-style wine reveals fragrant cherry aromas and wonderful complexity.  Made from pure Northern Michigan cherries and aged for a minimum of 48 months in small oak barrels, this wine is then fortified with cherry brandy to add sweetness and complexity.  The resulting wine offers big cherry pie character with a deliciously sweet, mouth-filling finish. Enjoy after dinner with dark chocolate, aged cheeses, or your favorite dessert. Serve at room temperature.


MichMash Wine:

MichMash White:  White Blend.  This wine can only be shipped in Michigan.  MichMash wines are uniquely flavor-driven and not focused on the individual varietal, but on producing intricately beautiful blends.

MichMash Riesling:  Riesling Blend.  This wine can only be shipped in Michigan.  MichMash wines are uniquely flavor-driven and not focused on the individual varietal, but on producing intricately beautiful blends.

MichMash Red:  Red Blend.  This wine can only be shipped in Michigan.  MichMash wines are uniquely flavor-driven and not focused on the individual varietal, but on producing intricately beautiful blends.

(All wine descriptions are from the Chateau Grand Traverse website.  Anything in a parentheses will be my own accounts of the wine from when I tasted them).


If you are curious about the winemaking process and would like to see the vineyard, you can take a complementary tour when you arrive to the tasting room.  It is usually a good idea to set the tour up ahead of time and make sure to arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment.  Tours will last around 30 minutes.  If you have time, it is a real treat to see.


You can find Chateau Grand Traverse wine at your local wine shop or grocery store.  They may not carry all of the wines listed above, but be sure to ask the person in charge of ordering wine at the store if they would order it for you.  This works every time when you have a good rapport with the person in charge of ordering the wine.  If you want to order, you can go on the winery's website to order as many bottles as you desire or can afford.  Prices may vary but they are usually quite reasonable.


Until Friday, I need to restock the supply!


White Pine Winery


Image result for White pine winery logo

White Pine Winery is a great find located at 317 State St, St Joseph, MI 49085.  In the heart of downtown Saint Joseph this winery has a tasting room with a great ambiance and plenty of wine to select from.


Saint Joseph has been a frequent family spot for years.  Silver Beach, the massive dunes, lighthouse, beautiful sunsets on Lake Michigan and a vibrant downtown scene.  On our mini-honeymoon we decided to stop in and visit while on our way to Lazy Ballerina Winery a couple doors down.  I've heard of this winery before but never knew exactly where it was.  After getting out of the car Bogey took me too close to the curb and I ended up tripping over the planter and landing on my right forearm.  It hurt alittle at first but as we were sitting down to taste at the winery I noticed my arm was bleeding pretty bad.  Very calmly I asked the host if they had a first-aid kit.  Fortunately they had one with all of the bandages and gauss.  My wife patched me up and wrapped the bandage tight to ensure security.  After the short medical break we finished our wine tasting.  Definitely an experience I'll never forget.  We ended up buying about 6 bottles from them and left the server a great tip.


The experience went much smoother than expected.  The wine at White Pine Winery was absolutely delicious.  So why don't we dive into the wine and where it comes from because obviously you can't have a vineyard in the middle of downtown.  There are four vineyards and farms that the winery gets their grapes from.  Sophie's Vineyard, Herman Farms, Arrowhead Vineyard and Oxley Farms are the sources for White Pine Winery.  Sophie's Vineyard grows Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Regent.  Herman Farms grows Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Arrowhead Vineyard grows Riesling, White hybrids and Vidal Blanc.  Oxley Farms grows Foch, DeChaunac and Chancellor.  Now you know where some of the grapes are sourced from; let's check out what wines they offer, tasting notes and if they offer food pairings, I'll include those as well.


Traminette:  A white wine cross with Gewurztraminer, Traminette shows off with intense aromas of apricot, orange zest, honeysuckle and rose like its well known parent. The flavors pop with a hint of sweetness that leads to a satisfyingly long finish. Perfect for any occasion, Traminette pairs well with salads, mild cheeses and curries. (One of my favorites from our tasting).

Ice Wine:  The classic dessert wine.  Intense aromas and flavors of honey, pineapple and apricot dance in an amber liquid more like nectar than wine.  Dessert in a glass to savor sip by sip.

Reserve Riesling:  White wine, peaches, mango and honeysuckle define this wine.  Aromas leap from the glass and are followed by juicy flavors supported by crisp acidity and a hint of minerals.  Great with on its own or with spicy foods, Asian and fusion cuisine.  (Another delicious find at the winery).

Reserve Merlot:  The classic red grape as expressed by our wonderful Southwest Michigan climate.  Rich aromas of dark cherries, brambleberries and allspice are followed by a velvety soft, rich palate.  Aging in oak barrels for 12 months integrates and softens the wine.  Sip it by itself to experience all its subtleties or enjoy with a wide variety of rich sauces and hearty fare. (Very Smooth and packed with flavor.  Certain flavors can be brought out depending on what you eat with it).

Reserve Serendipity:  A classic blend of the world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes, Serendipity shows the potential of Southwest Michigan's climate and soil to produce a truly world-class red wine.  Brambleberry and dark cherry aromas lead with hints of vanilla, chocolate and cedar.  The palate is rich and bursting with dark fruits supported by firm tannins and just enough acidity for balance and has the potential to age.  Enjoy with beef, lamb or a special occasion.  (This is a fantastic red blend that we decided to drink right away and it was amazingly smooth).

Dry Riesling:  Granny Smith apples, peaches  and pear aromas and flavors with a hint of lime zest.  This drier style of the classic Riesling wine compliments just about any kind of light dishes. (Super dry but super delicious, for me the drier the better).

Pinot Grigio:  The crisp acidity of this white supports a palate of honeydew melon and apple, with a hint of lilac blossom.  This is the perfect wine for sipping ice-cold on the deck or by the warmth of a fire on a chilly autumn night.  Try with seafood, salads or poultry.

White Expression:  This white has lovely aromas of peach, melon and honeysuckle.  Delicate flavors of apple, pear, and mango are supported by crisp acidity  leading to a long, satisfying finish that begs for another sip.  White Expression is excellent with traditional cuisine, spicy Asian dishes and fusion food.  (Wonderful all around wine a great buy).

Dune Shadow Red:  Intense dark cherry, brambleberry and plum aromas are followed by a mosaic of flavors.  Hints of chocolate and cedar interplay with the bright cherry and berry flavors supported by soft tannins and acidity.  Try with hearty food like roasts, burgers and tomato-based sauces. (Perfect wine for a sophisticated picnic).

Red Expression:  The perfect wine for any occasion.  Intense aromas of raspberries, dark cherries and plums.  Silky smooth highlighting the bright fruit flavors.  Pair with everyday foods like pasta, chili or grilled foods.  (We bought a bottle of this wine because it is so smooth, it would be the best for a wedding or any special event).

(Thanks to the White Pine Winery's wine guide for descriptions and I added some personal touches to wines I've enjoyed).


In 1999 they established Sophie's Vineyard in Lawton after the owner's daughter.  After a four year wait for the vines to produce enough quality grapes for production.  They had many successful years and are planning to open a tasting room in 2019 at the vineyard in Lawton.  Check out their website and in the meantime the tasting room in Saint Joseph.


Unfortunately, you may not be able to find these wines in the grocery store or local wine shop.  Ask the person in charge of ordering wine at your store if they could order it for you.  I am looking forward to going back this summer to taste more wine and hang out on the beach.




St. Julian Winery

Image result for st. julian winery mi

St. Julian Winery located in Paw Paw is a wonderful place for checking out a variety of wine from the wonderful state of Michigan.  They have some unique wines and everyone can find a wine here that they would enjoy.  The sweet drinkers, dry drinkers and everyone in-between will enjoy the wine from here.


The winery is located right off of I-94 at 716 S Kalamazoo St, Paw Paw, MI 49079.  You can taste this wine in house, order off their website or find in select wine shops and grocery stores near you.  You can host your events there, they host various events, offer gift baskets, and other products that you can find on their online store or at the tasting room.


Let's check out St. Julian's wine:


Sparkling Wine:

BR Blanc De Blanc - Dry, lively, lemon acidity, citrus and Bartlett pear flavors.

BR Blanc De Noir - Dry white sparkler made from 100% Michigan red grapes.

Michigan Brut Champagne - Dry, with a semi-dry finish.

Sparkling Michcato - Sweet, a succulently sweet sparkling with flavors of tropical peach and citrus.

Sweet Nancie - Semi-sweet, a sparking Traminette with flavors of peach, pineapple, and lemon zest.

Sweet Nancie Cranberry - Sweet, tart cranberry and cherry aromas follow through on a medium-bodied palate with frothy carbonation.

Sweet Nancie Peach - Sweet, tropical passion fruit and peach juices are blended to create this bubbly, full of exotic aromas and packed with flavor.

White Wine:

Blue Heron - Semi-sweet, flavors of pear and mango overlay a crisp acid structure that focuses the wine and leads to a long, satisfying finish.  One of the more popular whites for the price.

BR Albarino - Dry, Inviting aromas of orange blossoms, mango and apricots lead to a tangy Meyer lemon, green apple and grassy finish. The tart acidity is well balanced with a lush finish.  Great for a summer picnic.

BR Late Harvest Vignoles - Sweet, accented by flavors of pineapple chutney and honeyed lychee, the silky-sweet, lush, full body dessert wine finishes with a caramelized pear accented.

BR LH Vidal Blanc - Sweet, tangy caramelized apple and apricot notes lead into a long mineral accent that fade nicely on the palate.

BR Mountain Road Riesling - Semi-dry, yet impeccably balanced, this wine bursts with flavors
of passion fruit, honeyed peach and tangy citrus fruits.

BR Pinot Gris - Dry, vibrant aromas of pineapple, fresh lime and citrus peel. Flavors come in layers of white peach, mango and nectarine fruit.

BR Riesling - Dry, this gently floral wine leads with vibrant aromas of Mangos, fresh lime and citrus peel. Flavors come in layers of white peach, pineapple, & nectarine fruit.

BR Sauvignon Blanc - Dry, aromas bursting of lemons and limes. The crisp acidity on the palate is accompanied by flavors jam-packed with mangos, white peaches and tropical fruits with a lingering hint of fresh cut grass.

BR Traminette - Semi-dry, exotic mango and lemon zest aromas with flavors of white peach and apricot.

Cluster Flick - Semi-sweet, pear, mango and lychee overlay with crisp acid and leads to a long, satisfying finish.

Envy - Sweet, hints of citrus with flavors of juicy peach and ripe apricots and mango. (The first St. Julian wine I tried).

Forbidden Fruit White Sangria - Sweet, passion fruit and peach flavors with a touch of citrus.

Founder's White - Dry, honey and peach aromas lead to apricot, green apple and citrus finish

Frankenmuth May Wine - Sweet, pineapple, tropical fruit and woodruff aromas with a subtle accent.

Ice Wine Vidal Blanc - Sweet jam-packed with tangy and juicy apricot, citrus marmalade and honey.  A delicious, richy flavorful wine that is simply dessert in a glass.

Michcato White - Semi-sweet, moscato-like characteristics with flavors of exotic fruit and crisp acidity.

Niagara - Sweet, fresh grape taste and a lightly sweet finish.

Peach Wine - Sweet, candied peach flavors followed by ripe fruit peach flavors.

Sauterne - Sweet, beautifully balanced carmelized pineapple and honeysuckle flavors. (Probably one of my most favorite whites by them).

Simply White - Semi-dry, a balance of ripe concentrated peach, citrus, honey and melon.

SJ Unoaked Chardonnay - Dry, refreshing and crisp flavors of yellow delicious apples.

St. Julian Reserve Late Harvest Riesling - Sweet, flavors of apricot, tangerine, and cream, along with a slight mineral edge.

St. Julian Reserve Pinot Grigio - Dry, delicate aromas of Honeydew melon and Anjou pear lead to a medium-bodied palate with Honeycrisp apple flavors.

St. Julian Reserve Riesling - Semi-dry, crisp and light, yet packs intense flavors of super ripe peach, mango, lemon zest and mineral.

White Heron - Semi-sweet, mango and apricot with a lingering after taste of tropical fruit.


Rosé Wine:

BR Serious Rosé - Dry, this Rosé style captures the bright berry flavors of summer. Bursting with aromas of fresh, ripe cherries and strawberries it is the perfect wine for sipping on the patio.

Catawba - Sweet, a mild berry, fresh fruit taste with just the right amount of the famous spicy Catawba grape sweetness.

Frankenmuth Rosé - Sweet, strawberry-cherry aromas and very fruity flavors.

Lust - Semi-sweet with flavors of berries and juicy fruit.  (One of my favorites and you can usually find it at Meijer).  Right now on sale for $6.99!

Simply Pink - Semi-dry, a fruity, light wine with flavors of ripe strawberries, cherries, raspberries, peaches and tropical fruit. (Another one of my favorites).  On sale for $5.99!


Red Wine:

BR Cabernet Franc - Dry, plum, raspberry and exotic spice aromas. Creamy vanilla-scented oak, currant and brambleberry flavors.

BR Chambourcin - Dry-yet-fruity full body of ripe blackberry, Bing cherry and boysenberry flavors.

BR Chancellor Noir - Dry, chocolate covered espresso beans, sweet cherries and vanilla aromas. Ripe currant, black raspberry and Bing cherry flavor. Aged 100% in Michigan Oak.

Sweet Revenge - Sweet, fresh grape with aromas of cherries and berries are complimented by the well-integrated acidity.

BR Meconi - Sweet, this iced Frontenac wine is a great new addition to our dessert wine portfolio! Bursting with aromas of strawberry jam and raisin it follows through with flavors of black raspberry, strawberry and boysenberry.

Concord Wine - Sweet, snappy, grapey accents echo fresh Concord grape juice.

Forbidden Fruit Sangria - Sweet, fresh berry and citrus flavors. Delicious and refreshing!

Founder's Red - Dry, this is a fresh and fruit-filled offering with pleasant cherry fruit, soft tannins and tart acidity.

Head Games - Sweet, spiced, deliciously sweet red, nicely balanced with luring flavors cinnamon, plums and clove. Perfect for fall and winter.  Try it heated up to bring out the spiced aromas.

High Maintenance - Sweet, full-bodied sweet red wine with an easy finish. Filled with aromas of blackberry, cherry and dried cranberries followed by flavors of mulberries, plums and raspberries.

Michcato Sunset Red - Semi-sweet, refreshing flavors of grapes and berries balanced with the perfect amount of sweetness.  Makes for a perfect chilled summer wine.

Nouveau - Dry, the freshest wine of the season; the essence of farm to table, a young wine bursting with flavor and body.

Red Heron - Semi-sweet, captures the essence of classic American grapes.

Scandal - Semi-sweet, easy on the eyes sweet on the lips, Scandal is the perfect way to indulge all of your cravings.  Deliciously refreshing, this fruity medium body red is the perfect Scandal.

Sholom - Sweet, a Kosher; traditional Concord wine.

Simply Red - Semi-dry, layers of dark cherries, wild berries, raspberries and with a bit of plum.

(Thanks to St. Julian Winery's website for some descriptions of the above wine).


In addition to the wine listed above they have fruit wine in blackberry, blueberry, cherry and dessert wines.  St. Julian Winery also has cider, spirits like gin, sherry, creme liquors, plus their widely known "Grey Heron" vodka and even non-alcoholic sparkling fruit juices.


I invite you to check out their winery in Paw Paw or pick up a bottle in your local grocery store or wine cellar.  Not all of these wines are available in your local store so make sure to ask if you want it ordered.




Mark's Top Wine Pick Jan 12, 2018 - Red House Red & Rosé

Black Star Farms

If you are looking for a wine you can find in your local grocery store this brand is most likely there!  "Red House Red" and "Red House Rosé" by Black Star Farms.  The winery is very well known and has been featured at many restaurants throughout the state.  Located at 10844 E Revold Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682 on the 45th parallel that is along the same line as many other premier wine producing regions.

Red House Red red wine label

"Red House Red" is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Foch.  It is a delicious medium bodied with fresh berry fruit aromas such as raspberry and blackberry. There are flavors of oak, vanilla and spice.  This wine will pair well with grilled food, hearty red pasta sauces and even pizza.  Being a red wine it can be aged on your shelf for 2 to 4 years and may taste smoother with age.  So buy one for you and one to age and compare.  At the price point of $15.00 it is a great choice for any dinner.

Red House Rose rose wine label

"Red House Rosé" is a remarkable light bodied combination of Vidal, Dornfelder and Foch where you can taste strawberry, watermelon and ending with a subtle red licorice flavor.  This sweet flavored summer wine goes well with barbecue and spicy dishes.  Also quite affordable coming in at $12.50 it won't disappoint.


Black Star Farms is a wonderful place to visit but if you can't make it to their tasting rooms in Suttons Bay and Old Mission you can go to the VinBar in Ann Arbor to try their wine.  If you want to buy bottles and have your own in home tasting experience you can most likely find it in your local grocery store.


Reference my review of Black Star Farms on January 10, 2018 for more information on the winery.


Black Star Farms


Image result for black star farms logo

Black Star Farms is more than a winery, they also have an inn, a farm to table restaurant, culinary classes, equestrian facilities and you can even have your wedding hosted there.  Located at 10844 E Revold Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682 and tucked back in the valley you arrive at the main building, which is a beautiful southern style farmhouse.  You truly feel like you are in an entirely different state.  Producing award winning wine in a cooler climate than other vineyards on the 45th parallel.  The Black Star Farms location is on the same line as many of the worlds premiere wine regions.


In addition Black Star Farms has a separate tasting room on the Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City.  This is the location we stopped at the following day after we found out the Suttons Bay location was closed for the evening.  There is another location where you can try Black Star Farms wine that is located down state in Ann Arbor at the VinBar.  The VinBar is located at 111 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 they open at 3pm every day.  You can taste most of Black Star Farm's wines, ciders, fruit wines, dessert wines and even spirits.  I may post a sub-review after I visit their establishment.


Let's talk about their huge variety of wine, vintage, non-vintage, sparkling, red, white, fruit, cider, dessert.  The name Black Star Farms is known much farther than the Great Lakes.  You can order off of their online store or find their wine at your local grocery and wine store in about every city in Michigan even Albion, Fowlerville, Pinckney, other large and small towns alike.


From "Arcturos" to "A Capella," "Leorie Vineyard" to "Red House" and "Black Star Farms" labels they all represent a distinction in the winemaking process and hold a certain integrity.


White Wine:

Arcturos Pinot Gris

Arcturos Sauvignon Blanc

Arcturos Pinot Blanc

Arcturos Grüner Veltliner

Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay

Arcturos Barrel Aged Chardonnay

Arcturos Dry Riesling

Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling (One of the best fall wines).

Arcturos Semi-Dry Riesling

Red House White

Isidor's Choice Pinot Grigio

Arcturos Gewurztraminer

Arcturos Chardonnay


Red Wine:

Arcturos Pinot Noir (One of my favorites especially when it is cold outside).

Arcturos Merlot

Arcturos Cabernet Franc

Vintners Select (Blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir).

Leorie Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc

Red House Red (A very delicious red blend goes with almost anything)

Artisan Red

Black Star Farms Pinot Noir


Rosé Wine:

Black Star Farms Red House Rosé (A great delicious value and perfect on it's own or with any grilled food).

Arcturos Pinot Noir Rosé (One of my favorites).

Arcturos Cabernet Franc Rosé (Another great choice unfortunately sold out).


Sparkling Wine:

Brut Cuvée (Dry blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio formed in the traditional French Champagne style).

BeDazzled (Versatile bubbly that can be enjoyed at any celebration and can pair with most foods and appetizers).

Delighted (A perfect date, this bubbly made from Frontenac Gris can be enjoyed at any occasion or celebration.  Sweet berry flavor forward notes that make it perfect for grilled food and desserts.

Blushed (Off-dry bubbly rosé made from 100% Pinot Noir and perfect for any occasion.  Enjoy with salads, appetizers, desert and even by itself.

Bubbly Nouveau (Young sparkling wine usually made in small batches from the same year).


Fruit Wine/Hard Cider:

Black Star Farms Hard Apple Cider

Black Star Farms Hard Apple Cherry Cider

Black Star Farms Pear Wine

Black Star Farms Cherry Wine


Dessert Wine:

Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling

Sirius Cherry Dessert Wine

Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine

Sirius Red Dessert Wine

Sirius Maple Dessert Wine

A Capella Ice Wine (Riesling).

Sirius White Dessert Wine


In Addition to wine they have spirits, which you can check out on their website or at their tasting rooms.


There is much more to do at Black Star Farms.  Indulge in some of their package deals and see what catches your eye.  I have yet to stay there but it's on my radar.


I should be visiting the VinBar in Ann Arbor soon.  Be on the lookout for a review.


Be on the lookout for my next post that will feature a Black Star Farms wine.  If you have tried any of their wines please let me know which ones you enjoyed.

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