Spring Wine Pairings from the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

In celebration of April as Michigan Wine Month, and the long awaited spring season, we asked the folks at the eight distinct Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula to share some wine tips along with suggested wine and food pairings to celebrate the season.

Wine Glasses

Photo Courtesy of Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

Pairing food and wine can sometimes seem difficult or complicated. Just remember, dry white wines go very well with delicate or simple foods. A great rule of thumb is – if you would squeeze lemon on any particular dish, a dry white wine would be a very suitable match. Keeping this in mind, Chateau Grand Traverse 2014 Dry Riesling offers a classic steely-dry style, mineral qualities with fruit forward flavors, bold acidity and fresh aroma. This wine pairs well with Great Lakes grilled whitefish, most seafood or shellfish. In addition, Caesar salad or rich cheeses and assorted fruit also work well with this wine. Dry wines may taste tart to some, however, when paired with foods the delicate flavors shine through.

Spring is a great time to break out the bubbly. Chateau Chantal suggests their Tonight Blanc de Blanc. A dry Riesling-Chardonnay blend bubbly is delightfully easy to drink and will make tonight, or any night, special.

The dry nature and good acidity of this sparkling wine cleanse the palate after bites of rich and creamy cheeses, fried appetizers, cream-based seafood pastas and other dishes. Serve well chilled for the perfect pairing with this recipe:

Caramelized Onion Tarts with Apples, paired with Chateau Chantal’s Tonight

Makes 2 tarts

 Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 red apples (such as Braeburn or Gala), cut into small pieces
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • ½ cup crème fraiche or sour cream

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the apples, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until just tender, 2 minutes.

Place each sheet of pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Spread with the crème fraîche, leaving a ½-inch border. Top with the onion mixture and bake until the pastry is crisp and browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into pieces before serving.

In the kitchen at Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery they are wrapping up a fresh way to present chicken, combined with bright spring flavors of asparagus, lemon and thyme, paired with the Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery 2013 Pinot Grigio. The Pinot Grigio is a clean and fresh wine, with well-balanced fruit flavors of lemon, orange peel and tangerine and compliments this light, healthy and refreshing springtime dish.

Watch Patrick Brys create Spring Chicken in Parchment here!

Spring also means the start of grilling season, and the folks at 2 Lads Winery have a suggestion on something to throw on the grill as well as what to enjoy drinking with it.

The marbling and intense flavor of ribeye steaks stands up to the more powerful bold red wines, like the newly released 2013 Cabernet Franc. The spices, herbs and bright fruit expressed in this wine match the fresh herbs and black pepper of a grilled ribeye. 2 Lads Wine Club Member, Jennifer Lawson, shared this winning recipe:

2 Lads Ribeye Steak with 2 Lads’ Cabernet Franc

 Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 10 oz ribeye steak
  • 2 bunches of spring onions

Directions

Lay onions and steak in a large baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over onions and steak, turning ingredients to coat.

Let marinade anywhere from 1 hour to as long as overnight.

Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). Grill steak, covered, turning once and moving it from flame as needed to prevent charring until done the way you like, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. In the last few minutes, add onions to grill, laying them perpendicular to the grates. Cook, turning as needed, until the onions start to soften and grill marks appear.

In celebration of the arrival of the spring season, Peninsula Cellars recommends one of the most celebrated and sought after wines of the Old Mission region, with their 2013 SemiDry Riesling. This perfectly balanced wine, wrapped in a delicious sweetness, pairs beautifully with grilled chicken and fish, or bold flavored cheeses such as blue cheese or brie.

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Photo Courtesy of Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

At Black Star Farms the winemaking team and culinary staff are continuously looking for the perfect union between wine and farmstead cuisine. A favorite at the winery is the 2013 Arcturos Gerwurztraminer with a Carrot Ginger Bisque with Coconut Milk and Candied Walnuts.

The 2013 Arcturos Gerwurztraminer compliments this dish perfectly. This vintage is dry, fruit forward and shows the classic floral and spice components found in this varietal. The aromatic quality of this wine, along with its ripe citrus flavors makes for a perfect pairing with the Carrot Ginger Bisque. The dish is a perfect balance of spice, from the ginger, and sweetness from the carrots. The coconut milk adds a nice creaminess, without making it too rich, and the candied walnuts finish it off by adding a nice texture.

 Carrot Ginger Bisque with Coconut Milk and Candied Walnuts with Black Star Farms’ Arcturos Gerwurztraminer

 Soup

  • 12 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 chopped carrots
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp white pepper

Cook broth in a large saucepan, reducing it by half to concentrate flavors. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan, add onion and garlic and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add ginger and carrot, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk, cover and cook 5 more minutes. Add reduced broth to vegetable mixture and season with white pepper. Cover and cook until all carrots are tender. In a food processor, puree soup until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Candied walnuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves/pieces
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs butter

In a pan over medium heat, add 1 cup walnuts, ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbs butter. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Transfer to a sheet pan with parchment paper and separate the nuts from one another. Leave at room temperature to dry. Crumble if desired for garnish.

Block II Vineyard is the oldest and most recognized Riesling Block at Bowers Harbor Vineyard. Year after year, the Riesling grapes from Block II continue to exceed expectations by producing globally recognized, award-winning wine including the 2012 Riesling, Block II. This dry wine emanates lychee and anise aromas, followed by bright apple flavors with a thread of floral spice, and finishes clean. This wine pairs well with many flavors of the spring season including scallops, sushi and Cajun grilled shrimp.

The lighter more aromatic wines are perfect for the spring season. Another must-try spring wine is Hawthorne Vineyard’s 2012 Pinot Grigio. With hints of mandarin orange and peach, this wine is a  complement for pastas with cream or lemon sauces, delicate fish, and even hummus.

Pasta with Lemon Cream and Prosciutto with Hawthorn Vineyard’s Pinot Grigio

 Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • ¾ cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbs thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Simmer over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced to ¼ cup, about 2 minutes. Add cream, lemon peel, orange peel, and cayenne. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add peas; simmer just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in mint and lemon juice. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Grapes

Photo Courtesy of Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. Toss pasta with sauce to coat. Divide pasta among plates or bowls. Drape prosciutto slices atop pasta and serve, passing Parmesan separately.

Spring also marks the beginning of wine festival season including the upcoming Blossom Day, May 16, featuring fresh spring fare paired with the season’s new releases, and Divas Uncorked, June 12, WOMP’s annual Girls’ Night Out. Event details can be found online.

What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?

The Votes Are In, Upper Peninsula Crowned America’s Most Flannel City (Plus a Giveaway!)

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The Upper Peninsula has been crowned America’s Most Flannel City in Duluth Trading Co.’s Flannel City Face-Off! Today, Duluth Trading shares some reasons why the U.P. took the title. Plus, see how you can win a $100 dollar gift card from Duluth Trading Co. below.

Congratulations, Yoopers! Flannel fanatics from around the country recently voted Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as America’s Most Flannel City in Duluth Trading’s Flannel City Face-Off. We know the U.P. isn’t a city, but how could we keep it off the list when residents dedicate a couple of weeks to Deer Camp to reconnect with old buddies and favorite flannels

The U.P. was a natural contender in our 16-city bracket, given all the recreational opportunities, hardworking citizens and rich lumberjack lore in the region. An outpouring of regional pride (or maybe it was all the pasties) fortified voters to win round after round when faced with opponents such as Detroit, Portland, Anchorage and Duluth. The final championship round was an epic Lake Superior brawl with voters overwhelmingly favoring the U.P. over Duluth with 13,200 votes to 4,214.

flannel_Logo_pocket_FINAL-650Throughout the Flannel City Face-Off Yoopers were quick to boast that flannel is worn year ‘round and appropriate attire for any occasion, including weddings. Fan Joseph W. takes it a step further instructing proper plaid procedures, “Yah, we already knew we were flannel champions. Red and black from late October ‘til snow is done. Then any colors but red and black.”

Our “Flannual Report” found that 40% of customers describe themselves as being “more attractive” in flannel so it’s not a leap to conclude that residents of the Most Flannel City are the nation’s most attractive of the bunch. (According to our survey, flannel-wearing Yoopers are also more inclined to eat roadkill, use an outhouse and own an axe.)

DTC Logo Black No Tag 72dpi[2]As fan Ken J. so aptly sums it up, “the Yoop is a state of mind as much as a place.” So whether you live in the U.P. or are just hankering for a visit, now would be the perfect time to grab your favorite flannel shirt and represent!

Flannel Photo Giveaway

To celebrate this special recognition, we’re rewarding our flannel-aficionado fans with the chance to win prizes from Duluth Trading Co.

Post a photo of yourself wearing your favorite flannel on Facebook and tag the Pure Michigan Facebook Page in your photo by Thursday, November 20th. We’ll randomly select 10 photo submissions to win a $100 gift card from Duluth Trading Company.

Five Helpful Tips for a Late Season Ride on the Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail

Today, guest blogger and off-road vehicle enthusiast Bryan Much shares his top tips for enjoying a late season motorcycle or ORV ride along the Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail. 

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Winter may be somewhere up ahead, but there is still time to get in that last great motorcycle ride of the season.  Late fall riding allows us to be comfortable in our riding gear without the sweat, bugs, and discomfort of hot summer days.

As autumn colors fade and leaves begin to fall, the fields and forests offer another aspect of their beauty for us to appreciate.  We soon are able to enjoy the now unrestricted views that penetrate the forests. Features hidden in summer and early fall are now there for us to discover and enjoy. What better time than now to take that stroll to a hidden waterfall or a scenic overlook?

Wander off the Beaten Path
One of the best ways to enjoy scenery unique to late autumn, and to discover some of the remarkable history of the Upper Peninsula, is to tour the forests and towns by dual sport or adventure motorcycle.  Many know that road riding is great for traditional bikes, but riding dirt and gravel paths through the backcountry provides an experience not available to many.

Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail

Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail

The Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail (UPAT) is a GPS guided 1,250 mile loop of the UP.  The path is principally off-pavement often following twisty and rolling paths through the forest.  Points of interest that detail the location of historic and scenic places that are not to be missed are included in the GPS file.

Take Your Time
It takes 5-6 days to navigate the entire loop, but riders have the option of riding either the east or west loop over a long weekend. I’ve enjoyed some stimulating wildlife encounters including a wolf that lingered long enough for me to take a few photos.  I’ve also encountered bears, moose, and a variety of other wildlife along the way.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

A Little Research Goes a Long Way
Points of interest on the trail offer riders the opportunity to explore the fascinating maritime, mining, and logging history of the UP.  A little advance reading provides a rich background that makes in-person visits to these sites a fascinating experience.

It’s Nearly Impossible to ‘Pick a Favorite’
I tried to sort out a few locations on this ride that I might consider favorites.  In the end, I had to admit that nearly every section had some element that propelled it to near the top of the list.  The technical riding, the scenery, the wildlife, the history, and so much more.  Touring the mining towns and camping at the very tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula certainly is near the top.  But so are the long rides through uninterrupted forest and visits to the now small towns that were once major logging and fishing centers.

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Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Customize Your Route
Some people might be wondering if this ride is within the capabilities of their motorcycle or their skills as a rider.  To help people explore the route and answer these questions as they plan a trip of their own, I’ve prepared a “ride report” that gives detailed information and photographs. View the report here or download the GPS file.

For those that don’t ride, but enjoy overland travel, there is a version of the path tailored specifically for standard four-wheel drive vehicles.

So what are you waiting for?  Get started on that late season motorcycle adventure.  See you in the UP!

Where is your favorite place in Michigan for a motorcycle or ORV tour

Bryan Much retired from the military after having advanced from Private to Colonel. He now spends much of his time advocating for off-highway motorcyclists and exploring and recording paths for them to ride and enjoy.  He serves on two councils relating to trails and is a member of many organizations related to this recreational interest.