Crystal Mountain is a resort in the northwest corner of the lower peninsula of Michigan and it is a year- round facility. It is not far from Traverse City and is a major ski resort in the winter and a haven for all sorts of summer activities. What makes it rather unique is that one can purchase chalets, houses and even suites that abound on the grounds and Crystal Mountain will assist in the rentals of the properties when the owners cannot use it. We had booked one of the chalets for our trip and when we got there, we found out that we had been upgraded for our visit, which we surmise was from our history of staying there, and we ended up with a wonderful suite that was actually owned by someone in the main lodge. It may have been one of the largest suites that we have ever had while away, when we haven’t rented a house. Beyond the normal amenities that one finds on vacation, this suite, like the chalet we were expecting had dishes, stemware, toaster, coffee maker and a microwave oven, as well as a DVD player in the living room and it had two large screen television sets. The king size bed almost looked like a full-size bed in the bedroom. We felt special for the days that we were up there.
Her sister and family from Kentucky were also up for holidays, but they rented a house, because of size of their family and some friends of their children that they also brought up for the week. This was a three-bedroom home with a full kitchen, furnished, on two floors, plus a finished basement, so they had plenty of room to relax and there was even a full garage. A great get-away “cottage.” It was an easy walk from the main lodge to where they were staying and we were going to have a barbeque with them one evening, since their house also had a large barbeque on the porch just off of the kitchen and dining area. My Bride in preparation had acquired all of the ingredients necessary for her Caesar Salad and the Kentucky contingent had brought up a huge tenderloin that they marinated before they left for the drive up. Did I mention that we all have large car refrigerators that are plugged into what used to be known as cigarette lighters back in the day? There was no way to properly barbeque the tenderloin as one piece, so we sliced it into about two-inch filets and we had a wonderful dinner.
We had brought up some wine to have in our room, had bought more wine while we did some tastings at three wineries and I had brought a couple of wines that I wanted to try, that I had wrote about, but had not tried yet. The two wines that we brought for this meal were from Costco, America’s largest, but limited wine purveyor. The first was a bottle of Jean-Claude Boisset Pinot Noir Bourgogne Les Ursulines 2015. Boisset began as a family owned estate in 1961 within the walls of the historic Ursulines Convent in the Nuits-Saint-George area. They have since prospered and grown and have an extensive portfolio of Grand and Premier wines, as well as village-level and Bourgogne wines, and they were the first negocient to go on the big board with the stock market. This wine while on the basic level has a lot of good people behind it, and it was aged for fourteen months in French Oak on the lees, before bottling. While not stellar it was a very good Pinot Noir and it worked well with our dinner. The other bottle that we tried was Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage 2015. Rutherford is almost the center of Napa Valley and the largest AVA within Napa, so a Meritage can’t be all bad. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. A little different wine, but it followed the Pinot Noir very easily and it delivered the taste that we were all looking forward. Afterwards we had some chilled Chardonnay that my Bride always has and we sat around a fire pit that was also on the grounds. I stayed as long as I could, but I was the only one that the mosquitos were making a meal of, no matter where I positioned myself around the fire pit.