Aerie is the most fitting name for a restaurant that sits atop the Tower at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. While the resort sounds like it should be in Traverse City, it is actually a bit north of there in the town of Acme and houses not only a tower of rooms and suites, but there is another hotel on the grounds along with three golf courses and spas, and about eight different places to get a bite to eat and something refreshing to drink. We have been to the Grand Traverse before and I don’t know how I missed it, but hopefully this will do, until another time and another article.
We were having a dinner for eight at the Aerie, and what a beautiful view it commands, as the Tower is the highest structure in the area for miles. The teenagers had their own table and I am sure that they were pleased and the oldsters had our own table along with some adult beverages. I won’t get into all of the meals that were served, but I will mention a couple, so that one can appreciate the quality of the meal. Aerie prided itself on using as much local food as permitted and this is a growing concept especially in a state like Michigan that has a large agrarian base, as it is not just automotive, though there was a large automotive association that had meetings there as we saw quite a few name tags on the elevator going up to the restaurant. There was the Local Pork Tenderloin, which was a bacon wrapped tenderloin pan seared and basted, with herbed fingerling potatoes, Port poached apple slices and a Tarragon and Dijon Demi-glace sauce. One other dish was the cast iron blackened Bronzini, with hand-made Potato Gnocchi, brown butter crème, sweet corn, tomato and asparagus succotash with Morel mushrooms and corn shoots.
Since it had been a hot sunny day while we were out during the day, we started off with a bottle of Quintessence Pouilly Fume 2015. The Upper Loire Valley in France is a place where Sauvignon Blanc really shines and holds its own. Alas this wine only had a glimmer of the greatness of what this area can offer, as it is handled by Bronco Wine Company which basically offers good and sound wines, but their wines are made for mass distributorship, so the nuance of the region suffers, because of the quantities made, but it was fine for openers. For our dinner, we had the CVNE “CUNE” Gran Reserva Rioja 2010 and while we encounter plenty of Rioja wines and even quite a few Rioja Reserva wines, the Gran Reserva designation is not that often seen. “CUNE” actually represents Companie Vinicola del Norte de Espana, a winery that was founded in 1879 in the Rioja Alta district which is considered the best of the Rioja area. The wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo which is the classic trio for Rioja, but to carry the Gran Reserva status it has to be aged for a minimum of two years in the barrel and then then aged three years in the bottle prior to being released for sale. It was an excellent wine and it even paired decently with the fish entrée that was enjoyed at the table. The wines and the dinner were totally enhanced by the vista that we enjoyed as we were seated right along one of the large windows.