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Tastemakers: Lochenheath Classic Wedge/ Chateau Fontaine 2010 Gewurztraminer

Rick Coates - May 16th, 2011
LochenHeath:Classic Wedge
The restaurant at LochenHeath Golf Club (just north of the Grand Traverse
Resort) might just be the the region’s best kept secret. The golf course
closed its doors a few years ago as a result of financial difficulties and
since reopened just last week. Returning to the fold is Chef Joseph George
who was the chef at the time LochenHeath closed. George eventually took
over the executive chef responsibilities at the Grand Traverse Resort a
year ago but jumped at the chance to return to LochenHeath. With George at
the helm, guests can expect a first class dining experience. 
While the menu will change throughout the season, look for Classic Wedge
to be a mainstay. The (iceberg) wedge is making a comeback on menus. Once
popular in the ’50s and ’60s, it lost favor in the ‘70s to other salad
styles. It is now back and for good reason; it is simple but elegant.
There are two key elements to a successful Classic Wedge, fresh Iceberg
lettuce and homemade blue cheese dressing, especially a Maytag Blue
Cheese. From there look for crumbled bacon, tomatoes, onions and even
nuts as possibilities. 
Chef George puts in an added bonus: a wedge of blue cheese. This is a
great salad and pairs well with Chardonnay and certainly will be a great
starter before the main course.
Everything about LochenHeath is first class. While the first go-round was
private, they have reopened allowing the general public to golf and dine.
Golfing is not a requirement to dine -- one will get to experience a
private country club feel while enjoying stunning views of East Bay and
the golf course. Once the weather gets its act together the outdoor deck
will be a popular dining spot. For details on the golf course or to view
the menu check out www.lochenheath.com or call them at 231-938-9800.---
Rick Coates


Chateau Fontaine 2010 Gewurztraminer 

Northern Michigan wineries continue to impress the world wine community.
Last month Dan and Lucie Matthies, proprietors of Chateau Fontaine
Vineyards on the Leelanau Peninsula, took home “Best White Wine” honors at
the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino,
California with their 2010 Gewurztraminer. The competition featured
1,600-plus wines from over 300 wineries from the best wine regions in the
world. This was the second year in a row that a winery from the Leelanau
Peninsula took home “top honors” as last year Bel Lago won with their
Semi-Dry Riesling.
Most wineries from Northern Michigan over the past 10 years have amassed a
collection of medals at competitions and critics continue to praise the
region for its world class wines, but the ultimate judge is the consumer
and Northern Michigan wineries have won them over as well.
Once considered “novelty wines” and something fun to do (touring the
wineries), Northern Michigan wineries have, over the past 10 years, truly
proven themselves on the world stage. More importantly they have proven to
be key contributors to the local economy, now employing hundreds of
workers, and during a struggling tourism economy in recent years local
wineries have been one of the bright spots.
Chateau Fontaine has been producing exceptional wines for the past 12
years. A big part of their success has been their hands-on approach to
customer service both in the tasting room and in the marketplace at
restaurants and retailers. 
As for their award winning 2010 Gewurztraminer it has strong floral aromas
in the nose with hints of rose petal, clove and cinnamon giving the
perfect spice balance one expects from a quality Gewurtz. This semi-dry
white is a great year round wine and pairs nicely with spicy foods such as
Thai and Asian dishes or enjoy it with blackened fish. This is an
excellent clambake or take-to-the-beach wine as well. The Matthies also
recommended it with Thanksgiving dinner.
This wine is drinkable now but is still young and should do well in the
bottle over the next five years. Good luck buying mass quantities: Chateau
Fontaine is limiting one bottle per customer. After their big win, one
retailer called wanting to buy 50 cases and they were turned away (only a
few wine shops in Traverse City have this wine). If you want it you will
have to visit their tasting room and that is a good thing because you will
be able to try several of their other award winning wines (if you make the
trip the Gewurtz is not on the tasting menu but be sure to try the
Semi-Dry Riesling, the Woodland Red and Woodland White, plus their
Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are perennial award winners). For more info on
their hours and location check out www.chateaufontaine.com or call them at
256-0000.--- Rick Coates 

 
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