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On the hunt for red wines this October

On the hunt for outstanding red wines this October on the Leelanau Peninsula.
On the hunt for outstanding red wines this October on the Leelanau Peninsula.

While most wine drinkers are aware of the wonderful Rieslings and other crisp, cool-climate whites that come from the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan, what is not as well-known is how good the red wines also are. To help everyone become more familiar with what they have to offer in the red wine department, the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is having a free and fun event this weekend to bring attention to these often overlooked wines.

The Hunt for the Reds of October will take place on October 26-28, 2012. For the entire weekend, 12 wineries will be offering free tasting of a diverse selection of red wines: dark & spicy Cabernet Francs, smooth & floral Pinot Noirs and a diverse range of vinifera and hybrid reds that are representative of Leelanau’s vineyards.
“From the vineyard managers to winemakers to cellar masters, I think we’ve all developed methods that are allowing us to make the best reds possible on the Leelanau Peninsula. Our wines are maturing in all aspects due to the patience and understanding that experience brings to every phase of the winemaking process,” says Ryan Sterkenberg, owner of Gills Pier Winery. ”Of course, having three straight outstanding vintages in 2010, 2011 and 2012 doesn’t hurt a bit either.”

All are invited to sample some of the fruits of these and other vintages the last weekend of October or another time. The event is free to all who know the secret launch code: “The Hunt is on!” For details click on

Here is a list of wines being offered:

  • Bel Lago will be pouring their 2010 Tempesta, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Regent, Dornfelder, Lemburger, and other carefully selected varieties to create this richly flavorful, complex red wine.
  • Black Star Farms offers their Vintner’s Select, a premium dry merlot-based blend of select small lots with unique characteristics.
  • Chateau de Leelanau will pour their 2011 Hawkins Red: Elegant and smooth, this light bodied red has an unbelievable strawberry nose and finishes with a dry peppery kick.
  • Chateau Fontaine will pour their 2011 Woodland Red, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah with a luscious taste of raspberry and pepper accented with soft tannins.
  • Ciccone Winery will offer their Due Rossi, a hearty semi-dry 2011 new release with a blend of Marechal Foch & DeChaunac.
  • Forty-Five North offers their 45 Red, a blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon & 30% Pinot Noir, aged in French oak for 11 months
  • Gill’s Pier will be pouring their 2010 Estate Cab Franc/Merlot: A French barreled, full-bodied Bordeaux style wine with an excellent finish and extended cellaring option of 5-15 years.
  • Good Harbor will pour their Collaboration, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, Chambourcin, Dechaunac. A rich, dry complex wine.
  • Good Neighbor Organic will pour their Black Velvet, a smooth, yet light bodied with 12.5% ABV, and just a hint of pepper.
  • L. Mawby offers a red disguised as a white, a Blanc de Noirs, from Pinot Noir.
  • Longview Winery’s 2008 Barrel Reserve Cabernet Franc spent 18 months in French oak barrels and 2 years in the bottle.
  • Verterra will pour their 2011 Reserve Red, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in French and American Oak hybrid barrels.
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