Toast the season with Leelanau wines


From staff reports

The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail carries on a great holiday tradition in Northern Michigan with the 2013 Toast the Season wine tour either of the first two weekends of November.

Choose your weekend to tour the wineries of Leelanau — either Nov. 3-4 or 10-11. The tour is self guided and participants may visit member wineries each day in any order desired, between the hours of 11am to 5pm Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

“Toast the Season is a really popular event,” explains John Crampton of Willow Vineyards. “We sold out of tickets in 2011 with almost 2000 people doing the tour. After just two weeks of ticket sales, we’ve already sold half that number! Toast the Season raises a glass to a successful harvest, and like last year, 2012 will be another fantastic year for our wines.”

At your starting winery you will be given a commemorative glass, a Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) holiday ornament and a holiday gift bag featuring local, fair trade and organic food and more. The tour features a special wine pour at each winery which is thoughtfully paired with a gourmet food item to bring out the dynamic palette of Leelanau’s wine. Our cool climate wines are particularly food friendly, providing a great complement to both sweet and savory dishes.

Show your friends and family how much you value Michigan’s economy with local wine from the Leelanau Peninsula, and shop thoughtfully this holiday season for unique and authentic gifts from the many artisan shops and galleries along the wine trail in Leelanau County.

Tickets are available at LPVA’s website, or with several local lodging partners in great weekend stay packages.

Food Pairings

Bel Lago has found a new pairing for 2011 Bel Lago Auxerrois! Light and lemony shortbread cookies. It’s not just for dinner anymore!

Enjoy Black Star Farms raised pork and lamb cassoulet paired with their Red House Red. Cassoulet is a hearty, meat-studded dish from southwestern France featuring a slow-simmered mix of beans, pork, lamb and pancetta that takes its name from the earthenware cassole in which it was traditionally made.

Brengman Brothers will serve Cheese Carmandy Raclette and Moody Blue Cheese with Runaway Hen White Late Harvest, and Rosso Red blend.

Chateau Fontaine will serve Grapevine grilled Pork Loin on homemade Rosemary Sea Salt Focaccia, topped with Cherry Apple Chutney, and paired with the new release 2011 Pinot Noir.

Cherry Republic offers their Cherry Red paired with the Cherry BBQ Cocktail Meatballs and Holiday Cheese spread.

Ciccone Winery will be serving Italian Bruschetta with ripe tomatoes, fresh garden basil, and garlic, served on toasted Italian baguette. Paired with their 2011 Pinot Noir.

Forty-Five North will be serving phyllo bites topped with blue cheese and dried cherries sprinkled with candied pecans paired with their cherry dessert or Hard Chapple.

Gill’s Pier will be serving different pairings each weekend. November 3 & 4: 2011 Whitewater a semi-sweet Vignole/Riesling blend paired with Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Tenderloin, Potatoes and Peppers. November 10 & 11: 2011 Whitewater a semi-sweet Vignole/Riesling blend paired with Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Puree.

Good Neighbor will be serving a Spicy Asian Noodle dish paired with their Gewürztraminer

L. Mawby will be serving local Apple slices and Black Diamond cheddar with their Blanc de Noir.

Leelanau Cellars will be pairing a sweet potato soup with their new release of Late Harvest Riesling.

Enjoy Silver Leaf’s fall specialty of beer-braised Swedish meatballs in Hunter sour cream sauce with their Fling Rose.

Tandem Ciders presents Raclette & Roasted Delicata Squash Crepes with Smackintosh Cider.

Verterra will be serving different specialities for both weekends. November 3 & 4: Local Smoked whitefish chowder with new potatoes paired with the Chaos Red or Unoaked Chardonnay. November 10 & 11: Char-Grilled individual Pizzetta with sun-dried tomato, fresh spinach, garlic, feta & mozzarella paired with your option of the Chaos Red or Unoaked Chardonnay.

Willow will be serving French Vanilla Pumpkin Squares with a Butterscotch Fondue, paired with their ’11 Pinot Gris

For more information contact Andy or Sarah at the LPVA office: (231) 421-1172 or email: info (at) lpwines (dot) com