Lorri Hathaway and Sharon Kegerreis are the authors of the award-winning From the Vine: Exploring Michigan Wineries. In Michigan Uncorked: Chardonnay Bares All – A New Trend on the Rise on Absolute Michigan they write about Michigan’s rising chardonnay wave. They write:
Many non-fans of the dry white wine dislike the strong oak taste that is not actually a character of the grape varietal itself, but introduced during its fermentation process. A rising trend is to age Chardonnay in stainless steel tanks rather than in traditional oak barrels. The result? Unoaked Chardonnays with flavors that better express the true nature of the grape.
In Michigan, many winemakers are handcrafting steel-fermented Chardonnays, although popular oak-aged Chardonnays are still exploding through wine country.
The feature lists a few Leelanau chardonnays: Black Star Farms’ Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay, 45 North Unwooded Chardonnay and the Chateau de Leelanau Chardonnay Sur Lie. There are many more to be found across the Leelanau Peninsula including at Chateau Fontaine,Willow, Silver Leaf, Leelanau Cellars, Longview, Bel Lago, Shady Lane and Good Harbor!
Wikipedia’s Chardonnay entry says (in part):
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced.
Chardonnay has a wide-ranging reputation for relative ease of cultivation and ability to adapt to different conditions. The grape is very “malleable”, in that it reflects and takes on the impression of its terroir and winemaker.
While Chardonnay can adapt to almost all vineyard soils, the three it seems to like most are chalk, clay and limestone, all very prevalent throughout Chardonnay’s traditional “homeland”.