Forty-Five North Pinot Gris

Maker: Forty-Five North, Lake Leelanau, Michigan, USAwpid-2015-06-23-17.07.05.jpg.jpeg

Place of origin: Leelanau & Old Mission Peninsulas (50/50)

Vintage: 2012

ABV: 12.5%

Purchased for $19

Appearance: Bright light gold.

Nose: Bright and mildly fruity. Tart apple, canned pears, crushed mulberry.

Palate: Full bodied and tart. Fresh cut apple, mango, cantaloupe, pinch of lavender.

Finish: Mildly bitter. Limestone and lychee. Fades slowly.

Parting words: Forty-Five North is named after the 45th parallel which runs through Leland and Traverse City, Michigan (and Bordeaux, Piedmont, the Willamette Valley and Upstate New York as Michigan wine folks are fond of pointing out) and the vineyards of winery owners Steve & Lori Grossnickle on Leelanau Peninsula.

While Riesling has reached sublime heights in Northern Michigan, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris/Grigio continue to be underutilized. When they are produced in a good vintage like 2012, they can be very good. This is one of those.

It’s similar in style to other domestic Pinot Gris, falling between the extremes of Veneto crispness and Alsatian buttery fruit. It is food friendly and refreshing without being boring and it even showed up well against the barbecued pork chops I served alongside it last night. $19 is just about right for a Michigan wine of this quality. 2012 Forty-Five North Pinot Gris is recommended.

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