Leelanau Love

Yesterday did not start off with the kind of weather you hope for over a holiday weekend – it was cold and drizzly. I have no problem with the cold part – in fact, I’m pretty psyched that fall is in the air – but I’m not a fan of drizzle. I coped by purchasing a super-cute hat to stick all my hair under while we were downtown in the morning, and then in the afternoon dragged everyone up the Leelanau Peninsula to do a little wine tasting.

The good thing about the weather is that the wineries were much less crowded. We were able to belly right up to the tasting bar and be immediately served at all four vineyards we visited.

I had three in mind that were all located near each other – L. Mawby, Willow, and Black Star Farms (thank you, Julie and Jiffy Kapnick, for your input!) and Joan wanted to see Madonna’s dad’s vineyard (Ciccone) and it was nearby, so we added that one to the itinerary as well.

I’ll write detailed posts about what we tried during the course of the week when we return home, but here’s a quick summary:

L. Mawby: All sparklers, high-quality, made in the traditional Champagne method (fermented in the bottle). Also has the M. Lawrence label of sparklers made in the cuve close method (fermented in the tank), which are less expensive but equally tasty. Great little tasting room, with complimentary pours on the (heated) patio and additional pours inside. Tasty snacks (herbed goat cheese or whitefish spread) served with the additional pours. By far our favorite visit of the day.

Willow Vineyards: A small winery with an AMAZING view of the bay. Very rustic tasting room complete with friendly gray kitty behind the bar. Tasting pours are quite small; however, tastings are complimentary. Out of the four wines they produce, we thought all were pleasant and enjoyed the rose the most.

Ciccone: Italian-style reds and whites. Tuscan villa-inspired tasting room. $5 to taste five pre-selected wines. We found most of what we tried to be over-oaked, with too much smoke.

Black Star Farms: WOW. Sprawling farm estate with a cafe, bakery, live animals, and gigantic tasting room. $5 to try six wines, which you select from a fairly extensive menu. This could be intimidating to people newer to tasting, and the staff was too busy to chat very much about any of the wines. However, the menu did divide them into categories (dry whites, sweet & fruity whites, etc) that made the navigation fairly straight forward. We enjoyed a pale pink rose made from Pinot Noir grapes that had a really interesting grassy finish – but didn’t find any other real standouts amongst the wines we tried. Although the farm and grounds were amazing, the tasting room lacked the ambiance of the smaller wineries we had come from.

I wish we had time to get over to the Old Mission, but I am pretty sure our whole day will be taken up with the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Plus, it is shaping up to be pretty gorgeous, weather-wise, so I am sure the wineries would be packed.

Oh, well – gives me something to do on my next trip!


2 thoughts on “Leelanau Love

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