Categorized | Michigan Wines, Reviews

Peninsula Cellars Red

By Darin Pemberton

Peninsula Cellars, located in Traverse City Michigan, is a producer of wines that happens to sit on the same 45th parallel as Alsace, Burgundy and Bordeaux. It makes both red and white wines and seems to have pretty solid distribution in Michigan and surrounding areas. Additionally, they also sell direct.

Peninsula Cellars, Traverse City, MI WEP Rating: 125%

  • Varietals: Baco Noir, Leon Millot, Cab Franc, Merlot, Lemberger
  • Vineyards: Kroupa Estate, Grey Hare, Ligon,Hawkeye
  • Appellation: Old Mission Peninsula
  • Harvest Date Late September to Early October
  • Aging Protocol 25% stainless 75% oak aged
  • Alcohol 10-11% (my bottle’s label read 12% – dp)
  • Residual Sugar 1.00%
  • Price: $12

Nose: Pine, Burning wet leaves, raspberry, candy, fruity, – I really enjoyed the scents hitting me. Very aggressive when poured within 5 minutes of opening. As I let it sit in my glass the wine seems to ‘smell’ smoother, more mature.

Taste: Even sitting for 10-15 minutes my first thought was ‘fruit bomb’. Initial sample had very aggressive fruit-forward with a slightly bitter aftertaste. First impression words would be “young and impetuous.” They say, wine gets better with time. No need to wait years – 20-30 minutes after opening, this wine went from a bratty adolescent into a mature young woman. The flavors seemed to now wash over my tongue with fluidity and purpose. I was getting candied cherries, blackberry, chocolate and maybe caramel – was also a nicely balanced vegital action. As I finished my glass I realized this wine had just graduated into a very nice, very respectable blend. In the last couple years I’ve moved from Washington State to Alabama and now here to Michigan. Of the wines I’ve sampled since my moves, Old School House might be the most-versatile. I found my bottle to be exactly what I’m looking for in an everyday wine. Laid back, lots of substance, great smells and flavors. Letting this wine sit for about an hour was key for my tasting experience. As such, I wouldn’t hesitate to put this bottle out with wines costing twice as much. As the bottle grew empty I found myself a little upset I only picked up one. If you’re out shopping, and happen upon Old School Red, buy two. Or four. Then bring them over.