Monday, March 24, 2014

Wine Tasting in the Leelanau Peninsula

Last weekend we went wine-tasting in the Leelanau peninsula with our roomie Beth to celebrate her upcoming birthday. Kyle had never been before, and I only had been to the famous Grunst Brothers fall event in Big Rapids (seriously, Big Rapids peeps, if you haven’t gone, check it out) so it seemed like a great opportunity to escape the city for a night and head up to Traverse City!

Mission Peninsula in Traverse City during our trip there last June. Oh summer!
We started out at Chateau de Leelanau so we could pick up a handy-dandy map of the peninsula. It was a good place to start! $5 for 5 tastes, and they give you a laminated menu and marker so you can mark what you want to try.
Next we drove north to Leelanau Wine Cellars so that we could work our way back down the peninsula. If you live in Michigan, you've likely had their wines. It's even available at Meijer. What you might not know is that they offer "Tasting Room Only" flavors that aren't available anywhere else. They also have complimentary tasting. This was my favorite winery of the day, for so many reasons. The man who served us was another reason - he had recommendations based on what we liked, and as Kyle pointed out, was really excited about watching you taste the wine.
We backtracked a bit to go to Beth's favorite, Black Star Farms. It was crowded, but I liked most of what I tried and they had several different pre-picked flights for you to choose from based on your taste. Best of all here: you get to keep your cute little tasting glass, which is etched with their logo.
Pro-tip: most of the wineries are only open until 5 or 6 PM, so you have to start earlier than we did to make it to more places. We only made it to four...
...which brings me to our last stop, Tandem Ciders. No, this isn't a winery, but is all about the ciders! I really loved everything that we tried here, and they even made a great suggestion and let us mix our two favorites in our to-go growler.
As a side note, we had dinner at Mackinaw Brewing Company (this threw us the first time too - it's actually located in downtown Traverse City). If you love craft beers and love a nice burger, this place is for you. Our recommendation is the dill havarti cheese sticks as an appetizer - we had these for the first time last year and still talk about them.
All in all, it was a great weekend to celebrate our best friend's birthday.


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