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?

Pack Up Your Pets and Hit the Road with These Dog-Friendly Michigan Destinations

Going on a trip wouldn’t be the same without the entire family – especially your furry family members! In celebration of National Pet Day on April 11th, we put together a list of just a few pet-friendly destinations in Michigan. So, pack up Fido and Fluffy and hit the road.

Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula

Photo courtesy of Sharon Hubbard at Porcupine Mountains

Photo courtesy of Sharon Hubbard at Porcupine Mountains

Take a weekend trip to Traverse City, where you can climb mountains of sand, play on dog-friendly beaches and spend quality time with your furry friend. Spend the day in their Victorian downtown district, home to more than 150 shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Treat your furry friend to a special treat at D.O.G Bakery with a variety of treats, guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest pooch.

A trip with your pets wouldn’t be complete without going to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Miles of sand, bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, and unique flora and fauna make up the natural world of Sleeping Bear Dunes. The high dunes afford spectacular views across the lake, something you and your pooch are both sure to enjoy.

Don’t want your pooch to feel left out? Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has put a new twist on accommodating the entire family. Dog Dreams Inn is located on the property and all about pampering your pooch. Access to your dog provides the ultimate in flexibility, cage-free social environment encouraging dog interaction and activity, fully trained, professional staff gives each dog the attention and assistance they need, daily exercise and fenced in outdoor play area, and separate potty/play areas to help support the overall wellness of dogs.

Heading farther north? The Upper Peninsula has a number of great dog-friendly hotels, resorts, cabins and campgrounds so you and your furry family members can get a good night’s rest before exploring the magnificent U.P. scenery.

West Michigan

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Peterson

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Peterson

Well-known for its strong Dutch history, Holland is historic yet hip and the perfect place to take your furry companion. Browse downtown’s trendy boutiques or stroll the tree-shaded campus of Hope College. Hike Holland’s soaring Lake Michigan sand dunes or simply relax on our soft sandy beach at Kirk Park. Urban excitement and homespun simplicity. A sophisticated city wrapped up in small-town charm. Do ALL of this with your furry family member by your side. Here’s a list of pet-friendly places in Holland. 

If a stop at a Michigan winery is on your summer to-do list, bring your pup to Round Barn Winery in Baroda. In addition to a variety of hand-crafted wines, this brewery and distillery also produces microbrews, vodka, and fruit brandies. Dogs are allowed on the grounds to explore with you, though they are not allowed in the buildings.

Take your dog for a walk on over 1,000 acres of beautiful undeveloped woods and sand dunes at Grand Mere State Park. With 985 acres of hiking trails, over 1 mile of Lake Michigan beach for sunbathing and swimming. Your pup can enjoy the day with you while on a leash within the beach and swimming area. Norman F. Kruse State Park in Muskegon is another option for a day at the beach with your furry best friend.

Metro Detroit

Start the morning with a walk along the scenic Detroit Riverfront, which is a beautiful place to walk dogs and meet with other dog owners. Stop in at a local bakery so Fido can fuel up with some homemade tasty treats. For example, the Bow Wow Bake Shoppe in Grosse Pointe Woods offers healthy and scrumptious cupcakes, biscuits, cakes and more all freshly baked daily just for dogs.

Photo courtesy of Anton Ochss

Head up the pet-friendly Dequindre Cut toward Eastern Market to shop around for the latest and greatest in pet supplies at Detroit’s newest urban pet supply store, 3 Dogs 1 Cat 4 Detroit. The store offers trendy, stylish and quality merchandise, from food and treats to popular accessories.

Several Detroit-area hotels and motels welcome pets including the Holiday Inn Express Detroit, the Westin Southfield and the Quality Inn – Troy. Click for a full list of pet-friendly hotels in metro Detroit.

These are just a few places that cater to pampered pets on vacation. Use the list to find more dog-friendly attractions and accommodations in Michigan.

Do you know any other pet-friendly attractions in Michigan? Tell us! 

Pure Michigan April 2015 Events Roundup

It’s time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air! April in Pure Michigan marks the start of spring festivals and outdoor events. From April Fools’ Day fun to food tastings and theme parties, below is a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state next month. Visit michigan.org for a complete listing of things to do this April.

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April 1 – 4

Easter on the Green in Pentwater
April 4, Pentwater
Bring your children and family to meet the Easter Bunny. We’ll have an Easter egg hunt, Easter bonnet parade and contest, Easter Bonnet musical chairs, face painting, and games.

Lakeport State Park – Easter egg Hunt
April 4, Lakeport
Bring the kids for an Easter egg hunt at the campground with different hunting areas for specific age groups. Each age group has the opportunity to find the “golden” eggs with special prizes! This event is open to the public.

Kalamazoo Numismatic Club Spring Coin Show
April 4, Kalamazoo
Buy, sell, and trade coins, paper money, and memorabilia. Young Collector’s program and auction at 11 a.m. Admission is free.

Dog Loves Books – Theatre Performance
April 4, Rochester
Louise Yates’ New York Times Best Seller comes to life this musical about the irresistible Dog who loves books SO much that he decides to open up his own bookstore. This delightful musical celebrates the power of the imagination and the satisfaction that comes when you share books with others.

April 5 – 11

University Orchestra Concert
April 8
Listen to talented student performers from the University of Michigan-Flint Music Department. 7:30 p.m. Located at UM-Flint Theatre and admission is $5.

Art Downtown 2015
April 10, Grand Rapids
This “shop hop” will feature the works of several hundred artists in dozens of galleries, businesses, and studio spaces around downtown Grand Rapids. See artists and musicians exhibiting and performing at a variety of sites; witness art in unexpected locations from U-Haul trailers to the art museum, and parking lots to private studios; come early and stay late with family and friends.

FoolMoon

FoolMoon – Ann Arbor

FoolMoon 2015
April 10, Ann Arbor
Foolmoon is a procession of participants carrying hand-made luminary sculptures on Washington Street from dusk to midnight. Also features food, live music, shadow puppets, and film projections.

Shell Eco-marathon America
April 10 -12, Detroit
Hundreds of young engineers will compete in the ultimate energy-efficiency challenge. And visitors of all ages can enjoy a free fun-packed event with interactive attractions. While there, check-out the more than 1,000 high school and university students from around the Americas as they push the limits of efficiency to see which team can drive the farthest distance using the least energy in their student-built vehicles.

Cat Show
April 11, Melvindale
Cat Fancier Association All Breed & Household Pet Cat Show. This show features the exhibition and judging of cats and kittens throughout the day. Admission: $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 kids, under age 6- no charge.

April 12 – 18

FestiFools 2015
April 12, Ann Arbor
FestiFools brings students and community volunteers together to create unique public art that is free and accessible to everyone. Specifically, we make huge-mongous papier-mâché puppets and march them around downtown Ann Arbor.

PJP_7900-1

MSU Science Festival

MSU Science Festival
April 15 – 18, East Lansing
A FREE multi-day celebration of Science, with more than 150 unique presentations including seminars, demonstrations, tours, open houses, discussion panels and hands on activities for ALL ages. This year’s special guests include Dr. Scott Sampson, of the PBS series Dinosaur Train, and mathemagician, Dr. Arthur Benjamin. On the campus of Michigan State University, and beyond!

Let’s Get Wild
April 16, Bloomfield Hills
We’re taken to “wild” places in Michigan and the Great Lakes and we’ll explore what we are doing to protect them for the future. Admission is free. Get ready to be amazed at the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Junk to Funk Eco Fashion Show
April 17, Tecumseh
Evening of stylish models, food, fun, fashion, and wine! The red-carpet comes alive with wearable Eco-fashions created by local artists and designers – using unique, recycled, and repurposed materials. Join us for an evening of fun.

Picture Perfect Photography Hunt
April 18, Lansing
Bring your camera or smartphone and find your artistic voice in our museum galleries. Take a selfie and then post it to the Michigan Historical Museum page on Facebook. Usually, flash is not allowed in the exhibits, so look for the special “flash allowed” signs.

Fashion & Tea
April 18, Grand Rapids
Visitors will take a step back into time. Starting from the Civil War Era to the early 20th Century, you will experience up-close authentic fashion. Coming from the education collection, you will have the opportunity to inspect the workmanship of the seamstress who made them. Tea and sweets will be served as you enjoy this visual feast.

April 19 – 25

Art Walk
April 24, Tecumseh
During the evening, downtown merchants will partner with area artists to bring art into downtown businesses. Merchants will offer extended hours and refreshments for the public to enjoy. Local artists will be on hand to greet people and talk about their work, which will range from pottery to photography to jewelry and more.

Freeland Walleye Festival
April 23 – 26, Freeland
A three day festival celebrating all things walleye, including fireworks, a fish fry, the Walleye parade, walleye tournament, a Texas Hold’Em tournament, car show, 5k/10k race, teen dance and more.

shepherd.maple_.syrup_.festival

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival
April 23 -26. Shepherd
The Village of Shepherd invites you to a great family weekend with parades, classic car display, carnival, tractor and horse pulls, bingo, arts & crafts and of course, scrumptious pancake meals all weekend long.

Bringin’ Back the 80’s
April 24 – 25, Frankenmuth
Bring back hair teasing memories with music, trends and events from the 80s. Don’t sit back in your pegged pants and play Atari–come on down and have a great time. Admission is $10.

Zehnder’s Ragtime Festival
April 22 – 25, Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s has been host to ragtime performers from around the United States and Canada for over 20 years. Come and enjoy ragtime music performed by our featured pianist, Bob Milne and other world renowned musicians.

April 26 – 30

MI Earth Day Fest
April 24 – 26, Rochester
Come visit one of the planet’s largest Earth Day celebrations on the banks of downtown Rochester’s Municipal City Park and the Paint Creek Trail. Explore more than 100 exhibits, speakers, food vendors, kids’ activities, entertainment and more.

Day Out With Thomas: The Thrill of the Rid Tour
April 25 – 26, The Henry Ford
Little engineers won’t believe their eyes—or their ears! This fun-filled event offers little engineers and their families the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine. In addition, children will meet Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway and enjoy a day of Thomas-themed activities including arts & crafts, storytelling and more.

chocolate

TC Chocolate Festival

Traverse City Chocolate Festival 2015
April 26, Traverse City
A celebration of all things chocolate from the region’s chefs and chocolatiers! Enjoy tastings and samples of local chocolates and confectionery treats, demonstrations and mini-lectures, live music, chocolate-inspired books, art and goods, door prizes and a silent auction for chocolate sculptures.

Local History through Historic Maps
April 26, Traverse City
Come and hear what discoveries were found about historic Frenchtown through the research on 1800s maps.

America’s Got Downtown
April 29, Monroe
The London Daily Telegraph hails the show, a “remarkable, tour de force one-man show.” Luke Kempner creates more than 30 characters in this parody which blends celebrity visitors with well-known characters from Downtown Abbey.

Which April events do you have on your calendar?