By Clint Mitchell, Oryana Wine & Beer Buyer
The weather is ideal — plenty of sunshine, with warm days and cool nights. Spend the day on a beach or boat, sit by a fire at night, and take a deep breath and relax, as the crowds thin, and we start to get the place back to ourselves. But, more than anything, take the opportunity to eat and drink your way through the Grand Traverse region.
Farms stands and farmers markets, not to mention the area’s finest purveyor of local produce, Oryana, are overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables. Isn’t it amazing how our tiny corner of the world can produce such an array of crops? It’s a special time for wineries, too, as light whites from last year’s harvest hit the market, and reds and full-bodied whites, having spent an additional year in barrel and bottle, are released.
With that, this month we’ll be showcasing some of the newest releases from the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas, a mix of whites and reds. Both 2016 and 2017 were fine vintages for the area – long, sunny summer days, and cool, dry falls followed up a couple of mild winters, which was good news for local vintners. The releases this year are showing the best our region has to offer. Whether it’s a relatively inexpensive Pinot Grigio or Riesling, or a barrel-aged Chardonnay, the wine here truly has a sense of place. And, while we don’t have the hot, dry climates for the big, burly reds, we do produce some nice light reds that pair perfectly with fresh caught lake trout, barbecued chicken or a mixed salad.
So, check out some of my favorite new releases. You’ll find them on our end cap in the beer and wine section. A few names are new to the store, others are familiar, and, all together, they provide a pretty good illustration of what our region has to offer. Grab a bottle (or two), find a seat outside, and enjoy the bounty. Cheers!