We decided to take the scenic tour along the lake from Petoskey to the Leelanau Peninsula and visit a couple of new wineries to us. The first winery we pulled up to was Laurentide Winery on the 45’th Parallel. As I quote from their web site about their name. “Welcome to Laurentide, named in honor of the last great ice sheet that receded 10,000 years ago from the upper tier of the North American continent. With the completion of this great geologic event, the Great Lakes and surrounding lands assumed their present forms. The Leelanau peninsula was exposed and the rocks and fossils from a 350-million-year-old ancient sea floor started to formulate the soil that sustains our vines today contributing to the unique terroir of the region.” William and Susan Braymer have a classic, almost romantic history leading up to their ultimate decision to becoming winemakers. In 2006 they bought a cherry farm and began planting some grapevines. They now have six varietals planted on ten acres, and we had a chance to try five of the varietals, the sixth was sold out, as well as their Cherry wine, which from this region when done properly is a very singular experience and it is extremely popular in the land of the Michigan Cherry Festival.
We had a wonderful time in their tasting room, and we really don’t abide by the rules of the house, and are always willing to pay for our indiscretions, depending on the winery. Some wineries are probably glad to see us go, but we were treated with open arms at Laurentide and it was a pleasure. We started off with the Laurentide Emergence 2016, under the heading of “Standard Sweets” as they were really touting this wine, and we agreed to a tasting. We are truly fans of dessert wines, but normally sweet wines we tend to avoid. Here was a wine that was a blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay that was much better than I had expected, and it set the tone for the rest of the tasting. The Laurentide Sauvignon Blanc 2017, was their Seventh vintage and I found it to have the grapefruit aroma that I enjoy and some spice to the taste with a nice balance finish. The Laurentide Pinot Gris 2016 was aged in Stainless Steel and it had a good fruit forward taste and a nice nose for a wine that more often than not, lacks a good nose. The Laurentide Dry Riesling 2016 was also done in Stainless Steel, in fact I think most of the whites were. We are not fans of Michigan Riesling wines, but that may have been from the earlier years, as these wines are growing on me and are not as cloying as I once found them to be. This particular wine had a positive green apple nose coupled with a crisp balance taste and a decent finish that I normally do not get from Michigan Riesling wines, so they are doing this one right. The Laurentide Chardonnay 2016 was listed as unoaked. I found it to be on the pale side, but it was crisp, but not a wine that I was enamored with. The Laurentide Reserve Chardonnay 2016 definitely showed me that they could do Chardonnay in a proper way. This was their first Reserve wine. The wine was aged for nine months in one hundred percent new French Oak, and it really delivered. It had a good oak (buttery) finish, but not a screamer like some of the California Chards and a good long finish, which is always what I tend to look for.
We then had almost a red wine, we had the Laurentide Pinot Noir Rosé 2017, which had a soft nose and a medium finish with a soft salmon hue to the wine. The Laurentide Pinot Noir 2015 was sold out, so we could not try that. Somehow, I missed trying the Laurentide Meritage 2016 and I don’t know how that happened. I guess we were just so busy trying the wines and talking about the wines that both I and our server both missed. I guess that I should mention that all of the wines were from the Leelanau Peninsula AVA All I can say is that it will be a pleasure to go back to Laurentide Winery next year, if I get a chance to try their wines again, including the ones I missed.