Not long ago, I spent a relaxing weekend in South Haven, Mich., with the family. There is nothing more peaceful than walking along Lake Michigan, going to the pier and, of course, a little wine tasting.
Southwestern Michigan has some fantastic wines and vineyards. As they say, this wasn't my first rodeo visiting and tasting. My latest trip included my daughter, Kelly Markland, of Lowell, Ind., and my daughter-in-law, Wendy Markland, of Grant Park.
These are just a few of the vineyards and tasting rooms southwestern Michigan offers. There are plenty more. I promise to get to those in future columns.
1. Our first stop was Cogdal Vineyards. Cogdal is "Home of Little Man Winery." The tasting room was quaint. The cherry and maple wood used to construct the beautiful bar, cabinets and tables and the trim was taken off of the property.
The Lake Michigan Shore Riesling is a beautiful semidry white wine with just a hint of mango and apple; it's so crisp and clean. If you wait just a minute, you might be able to taste a hint of peach as well.
I also tried the Little Man Wine blend called Vision. This was a perfect choice of blackberry, black cherry and red currant. This wine lingered on my palate and would make an ideal choice for dessert or a stand-alone drink. Needless to say, a bottle (or bottles) came home with me.
The girls loved the South Beach Red and the North Beach White wines, both a bit sweeter and perfect for a warm summer day at the lake. Cogdal Vineyards is located at 7143 107th Ave., South Haven, Mich.
2. The next stop was my favorite: Fenn Valley Vineyards, just a few miles up the road. I've been to Fenn Valley several times, and it never disappoints. The trip is a scenic route especially this time of year.
The peach and honey wines are a bit too sweet for me, but others with flavors of peach, honey and a little spice were delicious. I did buy a few bottles of the cranberry wine, which always is a hit at Thanksgiving. It's a little tart but a fun wine with turkey.
If you enjoy Michigan cherries, you'll love the Michigan Awesome Cherry wine, a beautiful aroma with a crisp tartness of fresh cherries. It goes great with chocolate, too.
The 42 Ice Wine is fabulous for dessert. This small bottle is packed with flavor because it's made with frozen grapes. It's aromatic with ripe fruits and so, so sweet.
There is nothing better on a cold evening than sitting by the fire enjoying a cup of hot mulled wine. Fenn Valley has a perfect choice. A mulled red wine with cinnamon, cloves and oranges. Just warm this in a slow cooker, garnish with a cinnamon stick and you are set for the night!
Fenn Valley Vineyards is located at 6130 122nd Ave., Fennville, Mich.
3. Next up was 12 Corners Vineyard. Although the vineyard is located in Benton Harbor, they have a tasting room in South Haven. The room has an urban look with brick walls and sharp decor, but the wines are the centerpiece.
The girls loved the South Pier Sunset Red and Niagara White; the red is sweet and fruity while the white is a bit drier with a fruit taste.
I am a fan of the semisweet white wine, Traminette. It's a beautiful, aromatic wine with blends of floral and spice.
12 Corners Vineyard Tasting Room is located at 511 Phoenix Road, South Haven, Mich.