Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Old Mission Peninsula

This past weekend, Calvin and I traveled up to the Old Mission Peninsula just outside of Traverse City, Michigan. (This was his gift to me for our anniversary; back in September, I took him to Cedar Point as my gift to him.) Not only would it be an amazing place to just visit, but the area would be perfect for a honeymoon or destination wedding.

Map is found here

Calvin had us booked at the Inn at Chateau Grand Traverse, (part of the Chateau Grand Traverse winery) and it was absolutely wonderful. The inn has six rooms, each with its balcony of the estate- half have views of the bay, while the other half have views of the vineyards. We arrived around 10:30, to find a bottle of wine waiting for us.

(A brief baseball note: For the drive up, Calvin and I tried desperately to catch game 2 on the radio. No such luck- but his mom and my parents called us every inning to get updates. When Cleveland scored in the 8th, we got phone calls from both our parents and a text message from his sister. In the 10th, Calvin's mom was giving us the play by play, until my dad called to recommend that we turn on the radio to catch the game- which, at that point, we were able to do. It was beautiful. And we lost our voices screaming with excitement when Cleveland won in the 11th. Sunday, well, that's a different story. But all was glorious last night. :-D)

The view of the vineyards from our room.

Our balcony.

The sitting area of our room- complete with mini refrigerator and microwave.

We awoke early on Saturday to find the most amazing breakfast spread in the breakfast room- homemade quiche, fresh waffles, and banana bread. We talked about renting bikes, but at the recommendation of someone else in the breakfast room, decided to watch how much wine we were drinking at the wineries and drive instead. (Well, Calvin drank very moderately, since he was driving.) Since most wineries don't open until 10am at the earliest on Saturdays, we set out to explore the town of Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula. Lots of cute shops there.

And then we began Saturday's Seven Winery Tasting Tour Extravaganza around the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas.

Map found here.

First up:
Black Star Farms located on the Leelanau Peninsula
$5 for six tastings, including a glass you get to keep
We weren't so impressed with the wines, but thought that the grounds were very beautiful, if a little too touristy. They do host weddings and receptions.

The tasting room was a bit of a zoo.

A picture of the inn- it is very picturesque.

For some (unknown) reason, Calvin wanted to get his picture taken from the other side of the fountain in front of the inn.

Next stop: L. Mawbylocated on the Leelanau Peninsula
2 complimentary pours, and $5 for 2 2oz. pours and some whitefish spread with crackers.
This was absolutely our favorite winery of the weekend. They only produce sparkling wines under two different labels- L. Mawby (made in the methode champenoise from Leelenau Peninsula grapes) and M. Lawrence (cuve close method from grapes grown on "planet earth.") We favored the M. Lawrence (sassily-named) wines, which include "Sex", "Redd" and "Fizz." Most importantly of all, we found the wine we would like to serve at our reception- aptly names "Us." The whole winery was very tongue-in-cheek.

Arriving at the tasting room.

Inside the tasting room.

Out on terrace.

The vineyards at L. Mawby

Ciccone Vineyards located on the Leelanau Peninsula
$5 for 6 pours. They also do weddings- $4700 to rent the space for an outside ceremony and a rustic barn for a reception.
When we pulled up to this winery, I knew that the name sounded familiar. Here's why:

It is owned and operated by Madonna's dad. Unfortunately, the wines were pretty lousy. But they were set up for a wedding, so naturally Calvin and I explored a bit and took some pictures.

Willow Vineyard located on the Leelanau Peninsula
Free tasting; small number of wines. Overall, the wines were better than Ciccone, but we were not impressed.

Chateau de Leelanau located on the Leelanau Peninsula
$3 for six tastings, including the glass. Located in a shopping plaza, we walked in to a small crowd, and almost walked right out. But we stayed- mostly because it was nice and cool inside- and were treated to some really wonderful wines.

Shady Lane Cellars located on the Leelanau Peninsula
1 complimentary tasting. $5 for four tastings, including salmon spread and crackers.
A really lovely place to just sit outside and enjoy their good wine. They also host events- rental fees vary, but peak at $2400, which includes a small indoor space and a large outdoor space.

Peninsula Cellars on the Old Mission Peninsula
Free for up to 6 pours.
The last stop of our day, we enjoyed several different wines here. It seems that the Old Mission Peninsula has better Rieslings than the Leelanau Peninsula.

The day wrapped up with a phenomenal dinner at the Boathouse. Stay tuned for a follow up post of Sunday's adventures, and thoughts about the Traverse City area.

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