4 Wines Worth Traveling For This Fall

Fall is the perfect time to explore Southwest Michigan’s wine country, a region offering flavorful wines made magical by the lake-effect climate and sandy, neutral soil. If you’re wondering what wines are must-tries for this year, we’ve gathered this list of standouts for you to savor.

For the ultimate experience, plan a fall escape with a visit to each winery and delight in a pour (or two) on-site surrounded by the lush vineyards. Just be sure to save room in your suitcase to bring some bottles home to enjoy!

K Vineyards Riesling 2020

You can find this award-winning medium-dry wine at Michigan Wine Co., which just celebrated its first anniversary this year. Awarded a silver medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in June 2021, this wine offers a balanced body with elegant fruitfulness and crisp acidity that are the trademarks of drier Rieslings. The grapes were grown at the winery’s Fennville estate vineyard and planted in 2017. Featuring notes of pear and green apple, this Riesling is finished off-dry with a 1.3% residual sugar. It’s ideal serving temperature is fridge cold at 42°F. For a suggested food pairing, we highly recommend this served with grilled trout or salmon, green garden vegetables, and fresh fruit.

2020 Modales Sauvignon Blanc

Competing with the top tier of cool-climate wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula and established wineries from other burgeoning North American wine regions, such as the Finger Lakes, Modales has redefined the art of Michigan wine—establishing a reputation for excellence with a youthful approach to winemaking that is substantiated by a knowledge and respect for Old World practices. With terroir as its guide, Modales cultivates an innovative catalogue of varietals to craft its minimal-intervention estate wines, including this exuberant 2020 Sauvignon Blanc. Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown on the Dunham Vineyard in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, this wine features notes and aromas of passionfruit, grapefruit, candied lemon, honeydew melon, and gooseberry. A silver medal winner in the Judgment of Michigan: Michigan Wine Collaborative 2021, this wine is best served at 45°-49°F and should be enjoyed within two years to experience it at its best. We recommend pairing this Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese, oysters, sole, and green vegetables, like asparagus, zucchini, and artichokes.

Crane’s Winery Cab Rosé 2020

Owned and operated by a fifth-generation Michigan farming family, Crane’s Winery brings a hundred years of skillful fruit growing traditions to the art of winemaking. Their 2020 dry rosé blended wine is made with 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Cabernet Franc grapes grown in the Fennville AVA. With notes of strawberry, raspberry, and citrus zest, this rosé has 0% residual sugar and an ABV of 11%. Zesty and refreshing on the palate, this is a universal wine that can be paired with a wide variety of foods, including roast chicken, pork, roasted or grilled beef, sausage, lamb, veal, hearty fish, or tomato-based dishes, and even smoky BBQ or pizza.

Fenn Valley True Chardonnay

Established in 1973, Fenn Valley Vineyards is one of the oldest vineyards and wineries in Michigan and the Midwest. Combining their historical knowledge and experience with modern technology, they create hand-crafted wines from grapes grown along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Their True Chardonnay is an unoaked dry white wine that is processed entirely in stainless steel, revealing the natural taste of the Chardonnay grape and allowing the fruit to be the centerpiece. With grapes grown all along the shoreline, this wine features an abundance of varietal character. Expect notes of green apple with bracing acidity and a lingering finish. True Chardonnay lends itself to moderately flavored dishes that can be complemented by its crisp acidity. Seared scallops with a beurre blanc sauce would be an excellent match.

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