Harvest Lentil Salad with Laurentide Chardonnay Vinaigrette


2015 Harvest Stompede Recipe by Susan Braymer, Laurentide Winery

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1c Black lentils
  • 1c Tan Lentils
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon cube
  • 1T Seasoning Blend as desired
  • 1 t Sea Salt
  • 1 Carrot peeled and grated
  • 1 Celery stick sliced thin
  • ½ Red Pepper diced
  • ½ Orange Pepper diced
  • ½ c Red Leaf lettuce julienned
  • ½ c Green Leaf Lettuce julienned
  • ¼ c Raisins
  • ½ c Almonds, sliced and toasted
  • ½ c Feta Cheese crumbled


  • 2 Red Onions sliced
  • 2 Garlic clove
  • 2T Olive oil
  • ½ c Laurentide Chardonnay
  • ¼ c Olive Oil
  • ¼ c Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Lemon Zest from 1 Lemon reserve
  • ~½ c Water
  • ¼ c Dijon Mustard
  • 1 T Honey or to taste
  • 1 t Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 t Cracked Pepper or to taste
  1. Combine lentils with bouillon, seasoning blend and salt. Cover 2 c lentils with 2 c water and cook  lentils in pressure cooker 3 minutes until al dente. Release pressure to end cooking quickly so the lentils retain “bite”.
  2. Prepare the rest of the salad vegetables and ingredients. Gently combine vegetables with cooled lentils.
  3. Caramelize the onion and garlic under low heat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper while cooking down.  Combine with all the rest of the dressing ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.  Adjust thickness of dressing carefully with water to thin if desired and salt and pepper to taste. Add reserved lemon zest.
  4. Pour enough of the dressing over the lentils and vegetables to coat lightly and lastly add the raisins, almonds and feta mixing gently. Refrigerate any extra dressing.
  5. Pair with Laurentide Chardonnay, our unoaked Chablis style classic award winner! Cheers….

Serves: 6 or more as a side



Rockstar Riesling

Thoughts from assistant manager Ben at Laurentide Winery…

“It’s a Riesling with the potential of earning legendary status among worthy white wines.”

 Allie Merrick, Riesling on the River Laurentide 2013 Riesling 


Laurentide Riesling 2013

          The first documented evidence of this varietal dates all the way back to March 13th, 1435.  This varietal is commonly associated with Germany due to evidence of it being discovered in Rüsselsheim, Germany.  It is a white grape that begins green, then slowly becomes a darker, more golden shade of yellow when ripe.    This versatile grape can be made both bone-dry and ultra-sweet, and everything in between.

         A staple varietal in the global world of wine, Riesling is planted on three continents and enjoyed by millions of people each year. Northern Michigan is a place where this varietal seems to thrive. In fact, Traverse City, Michigan holds an annual event every year called, “The City of Riesling.”  Its the most common varietal in the region, appearing in ninety-one vineyards, 57 times on the Old Mission Peninsula and 34 on the Leelanau Peninsula. Here at Laurentide, it has become the most prominent varietal on our list with three different wines comprised of 100% Riesling grapes and one blend with these grapes.  Each of the past three vintages of Laurentides’ Dry Riesling have achieved double-gold medals at various international competitions:

– 2011 Dry Riesling which won the Riesling Challenge, Best of Show White, and Double Gold at the International Eastern Wine Competition in 2013.

-The 2012 Dry Riesling, took home another international double-gold medal, this time at the 2013 American Wine Society National Commercial Wine Competition.

-The 2013 Dry Riesling has continued the tradition and then some.  It took another double-gold at the 2014 American Wine Society National Commercial Wine Competition.

         Though this wine is highly decorated, it’s important to note that it is not the awards that defines this wine as a special vintage; it’s the taste. The flavor of the 2013 Dry Riesling is what makes this wine a true rockstar. Those huge notes of apple give the 2013 Dry Riesling a refreshing, pleasant, crisp taste and an even smoother finish.  Having 0.2% residual sugar technically makes it a very dry wine, however the fruit sweet character that is present seems to harness all that ideal Riesling flavor.  It has been my favorite wine to pour to customers because it consistently receives positive reaction from wine drinkers of variable palates. It has an uncanny ability to appeal to sweeter palates while still remaining a favorite for even the driest of palates.  With this crowd-pleasing quality that it has, the 2013 Dry Riesling is an outstanding white dinner wine that can be paired with countless meals from spicy Thai dishes to fresh seafood.


Thank you, Susan and Bill Braymer

Farmers Market News for August

Rosy sleepy eyes w RoseDog daze of August got you down?  Rosy agrees!  Beat the heat with a chilled glass of Rosy’s favorite- Laurentide Pinot Noir Rosé 2014!  Come celebrate  the most versatile wine of all:  Pinot Noir Rosé  the entire Month of August!  

We plan on sampling Rosé every Thursday this month at the Westside Farmer’s Market  in Ann Arbor along with 2 other alternating award winning estate wines.  Need a particular wine?  Let us know ahead of time and we bring it to you for pickup at the market.  See you there Thursday, 3-7pm….

Thank you Susan & Bill Braymer

Laurentide: The Gold Standard of Un-Oaked Chardonnay


Ben continues his posts for Laurentide, waxing poetic on Chardonnay….

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The Chardonnay grape is one of the most recognizable varietals on the planet and a staple in the world of wine.  It is commonly the stereotypical white wine used in pop culture and easily one of the most famous varietal of wines.  Chardonnay,  however is a very polarizing grape.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say they either love Chardonnay or dislike Chardonnay.  Those who drink Chardonnay are then further divided into two different camps, those who prefer it Oaked or those who prefer it Un-Oaked.  Oaked meaning that the Chardonnay was aged in Oak barrels at some stage of the production.  Un-Oaked is the style of making Chardonnay without the oak barrels and using stainless steel. These varying styles produce two drastically different tasting wines from the same Chardonnay grapes. The Oaked Chardonnay is often a deeper shade of yellow in its appearance, and a distinct buttery flavor. Obviously this varies with which type of wood is used in the barrel but for the most part the taste of an Oaked Chardonnay is clear when tasting. Un-Oaked Chardonnay is often lighter in its appearance, and has a fruity aspect to it that is often covered up in Oaked Chardonnays by the oak tannins.

Here at Laurentide we have just released our 2013 vintage of Un-Oaked Chardonnay.  In my opinion it is the ideal representation of the Un-Oaked Chardonnay. It’s an 100% estate wine, that starts off with a lot of fruit and is deceptively smooth for a dry wine. When I first tried it I was blown away with how delicious it tasted.  So when I proclaim that Laurentide’s  un-Oaked Chardonnay is the gold standard for un-Oaked Chardonnay, I would be wrong.  According to the judges at the International Eastern Wine Competition, it was awarded two awards; best of class for its price range and a double gold.  This was a competition with blind tasting so no bias influenced the judges decisions. It was the result of pure Leelanau fruit, world-class winemaking, and a lot of hard work from various people who made it possible.  In celebration of winning Best of Class and a Double Gold, we are holding a special sale this month for the 2013 Chardonnay. The special is three bottles for $45 which is a great value for what in my opinion, is the ideal example of an un-Oaked Chardonnay. We hope to see you in the tasting room to try it along with our other estate wines!Laurentide Chardonnay 2013












Leelanau County: The best, “first time,” wine-tasting experience.

Ben,   our assistant manager  continues writing his thoughts for Laurentide’s blog….

If you are like me then you’re relatively new to the world of wine and all that it has to offer.  Whether you enjoy a casual glass with dinner or you are new to the wine tasting scene, the amount of information associated with wine can be intimidating.  This may be a deterrent for inexperienced wine drinkers to learn more about wine even if they remain curious deep down.  This has been my dilemma.  It seems the more that I learn about wine, the less I seem to know.  This seems counter-intuitive, but however you want to look at it, the reality of wine as a subject is one that is basically infinite.  So it would make sense to just accept the fact that it’s an impossible topic to master and to just start with the basics, asking yourself questions like… do you prefer dry or sweet wines? Which varietals taste the best to you? In my opinion that’s what makes Leelanau county a great place to discover your palate.  Leelanau has always been a great place for producing world class fruit, cherries, apples, and of course, grapes.

A common trait in the wines produced here is that they all have a very authentic fruitiness to them that allows for a clean impression of the varietal that you are tasting.  This allows for novices like myself to confidently say a sentence like, “I am finding I really enjoy a dry white wine like Pinot Gris.” Now when you throw in the beautiful countryside, friendly people, laid back pace, and numerous unique wineries, then you have the ingredients for an ideal wine tasting experience.  All of these qualities to Leelanau County make it an exceptional wine tasting experience for first timers.

So my advice to inexperienced wine drinkers is to remain curious and be a sponge for any and all information. The BEST advice I’ve ever heard in this industry so far is along the lines of, “you like what you like and don’t let other people tell you that you are wrong for liking a certain wine.” A simple but very important philosophy to remember when you are wine tasting. Hopefully we will see a few new faces here at Laurentide so we can serve you world class wine and provide a sliver of what Leelanau has to offer.


Thank you to :http://www.andersonaerialphotography.com/galleries/plog-content/images/counties/leelanau/north-lake-leelanau-pano-n-s-psd-copy-copy.jpg for the aerial image.

15 Things To Do With Cherry Wine…

Ben, our resident Cherry wine expert and assistant manager writes for Laurentide’s blog….ATT_1431718720011_IMG_20150515_152952401

  1. Obviously, enjoy a glass of it like you would any other wine!
  2. Create a world class sangria with it, the possibilities of different fresh fruit combinations are endless!
  3. Marinate meat with it! Chicken, duck, steak, pork, and my personal favorite… RIBS!
  4. Make a wonderful spritzer! Mix with club soda, tonic water, sprite, basically anything that you think sounds good I would encourage you to try, you really never know.
  5. Fortify it with some fine Brandy or another hard liquor of your choice.
  6. Cook with it! Use as a main ingredient for a reduction. It has a great cherry flavor that is extremely versatile in the kitchen.
  7. Pair it with chocolate! Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, or take our recommendation and enjoy it with some authentic Mindo chocolate that is sold right here in the tasting room!
  8. Serve as a dessert wine. Perfect ending to any meal.
  9. Bake with it! It is an outstanding ingredient for brownies that need a hint of cherry flavor or perhaps it could be the star of your, “drunk cupcakes.”
  10. You can throw it In a cooking pot and add some spices to create a delicious mulled wine. Ideal for those cozy fall/winter evenings.
  11. Compare with other cherry wines! Fruit wines are all unique in their own way and it is always fun to see how they differ from one another.
  12. Give it as a gift! A fun gift idea, especially when presented with all of these various uses, can go a long way for the right person.
  13. Use as a staple ingredient when making salad dressing, mixes flawlessly into most vinaigrettes.
  14. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze it. That way your cherry wine can become instantly chilled without diluting it. You could also throw it in as extra flavor enhancer into the spritzers/sangria’s mentioned earlier.

The fifteenth idea isn’t a singular idea but rather a hodgepodge of all the ideas that didn’t quite make the list on their own but were honorable mentions. Cherry wine has health benefits; either pour into your next bath where it supposedly softens and regenerates your skin or just drink it to get some fruit into your diet. You can use it to wash off other fruits because the alcohol will kill the bacteria that is present. Add it to a smoothie or daiquiri. Add it to cranberry or BBQ sauce. And last but not least.. Stain something red!

Laurentide Best of Class!

Laurentide Chardonnay 2013 Best of Show!

Wine Competition News and PR

For Immediate Release

February 17, 2015

Contact: Debra Del Fiorentino
Vineyard & Winery Management
Phone: 707.577.7700 x109
Email: ddelfiorentino@vwmmedia.com

The International “East Meets West” Wine Challenge Reveals Top Awards
 International Eastern Wine Competition vs. West Coast Wine Competition

Santa Rosa, CA – For the second year, Vineyard & Winery Management combined two of its oldest and most established wine competitions into one by creating the International “East Meets West” Wine Challenge.  The judging was held Feb. 10-11, 2015 in Sonoma County, California. A total of 1164 wines were awarded medals.

Since 1982, the West Coast Wine Competition has annually recognized wines produced and bottled in the West. The International Eastern Wine Competition, started in 1975, is one of the oldest and longest-running wine competitions in the nation.

This year, the competitions merged into one large event.  Wines were simultaneously judged in two established regional divisions: International Eastern Wine Competition and the West Coast Wine Competition. Traditional awards were given in each division. Best of Show winners moved on to compete in the East Meets West Taste Off to see which wine was best overall. This afforded each entrant two chances to win medals: one in its own division and one in the Taste Off.  A Riesling Championship was also held.

“This challenge allows eastern and western wines to compete in their own right while allowing each to contend on a national scale,” said event producer and Vineyard & Winery Management magazine publisher Robert Merletti.

According to Director of Wine Competitions and Chief Judge Debra Del Fiorentino, “This format worked well for us last year and has gained momentum this year.  Keeping these established brands intact and adding a twist like the East Meets West Taste Off put an exciting spin on the challenge.”

The International Eastern division garnered 22 best of class, 23 double gold, and 76 gold medals.  The West Coast division collected 25 best of class, 12 double gold, and 68  gold medals

Our Chardonnay, 1 of 22 Best of Class medals awarded in the International Eastern division! 

Thank you to all those who contributed to making this a fine, fine wine from our vineyard workers to wine maker.

We are grateful.

Susan and Bill Braymer, Laurentide Winery