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Chateau Fontaine Vineyards & Winery
by
Kathy Sullivan

Chateau Fontaine Vineyards and WinerySummary: Chateau Fontaine Vineyards & Winery on Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan is a small, boutique winery with acres of vineyards. White and red wines are produced here as well as a cherry wine.

Chateau Fontaine Vineyards and Winery, owned by Dan and Lucie Matthies, is located on French Road in Lake Leelanau, Michigan. The name, Chateau Fontaine, was chosen for the winery because of its location on French Road. This is an area with a history of the French immigrants who homesteaded and settled here in the 1800’s. Fontaine was also chosen, as it is Lucie’s middle name.

Outside of the tasting room, a tree tower of various colored wine bottles adds a colorful touch. A small patio provides a good place to enjoy wine and enjoy the views of the countryside with vineyards in the distance. Visitors will see acres of vineyards rising on a hillside touching the horizon. Inside, the tasting room with yellow walls offers a bright, pleasant, comfortable area to enjoy tasting wines. Wine accessories are also available.

Chateau Fontaine Vineyards and WineryThe Vineyards

The Matthies’ discovered and purchased this farmland property in 1975. Originally it had been comprised of potato fields and a cow pasture. Dan and Lucie loved wines and enjoyed making wine in their basement. In 1990, the Matthies’ began planting grapevines. Today the 27½ acres of vineyards include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Seyval.

We had the opportunity to ride through the vineyards with Lucie. Once driving through the vineyards, one notices the terrain is hilly. Rows of vines follow the gentle rise and fall of the land offering wonderful views. Two bodies of water influence the weather of these vineyards. Lake Leelanau to the east and Good Harbor Bay Chateau Fontaine Vineyards and Wineryout to Lake Michigan to the west help provide ideal grape growing conditions.

At harvest time dealing with birds is a challenge. Poles with owl figurines may provide some protection, however the gun cannons that make a gun-like sound every few minutes are more persuasive for the birds to keep away. Still the birds get their share of grapes and some of the rows had to be covered with netting for further protection.

A few years after planting the vineyards, Dan and Lucie opened their own commercial winery with the first vintage in 1998. Today their son is the vineyard manager and Chateau Fontaine produces 4,500 cases.

White Wines

Chardonnay 2008 offered an aroma of apple notes. The taste continued the apple notes with citrus nuances. The wine had a velvety mouthfeel. The apple notes yielded to citrus on the aftertaste. Pinot Gris 2008 had citrus notes on the aroma and taste. The taste had additional grapefruit notes. The crisp finish had a lingering grapefruit taste. White Riesling 2008 was clear with a faint yellow hue. The aroma had faint floral and peach nuances. The taste was smooth with peach notes. The fruity finish was crisp. Woodland White was clear with yellow hues. The aroma was floral with hints of peach. The smooth taste had peach with citrus nuances. The finish was crisp and fruity. Gewürztraminer 2009 was clear with a floral aroma. The taste offered nuances of rose petals and yellow stone fruit. The crisp finish had spice notes yielding to yellow stone fruit.

Chateau Fontaine Vineyards and WineryRed Wines

Pinot Noir 2007 was red with red berry notes on the aroma and taste. The finish with red berry nuances yielded to pepper hints. Woodland Red 2007 was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The result was a red translucent wine with an aroma of dark fruit and hints of spice. The taste had notes of pepper and dark fruit. The fruity finish offered mild tannins.

Chateau Fontaine Vineyards and WineryFruit Wine

Cherry Wine offered cherry notes throughout the taste. When paired with chocolate the wine became very dry.

Enjoy a visit to Chateau Fontaine in Lake Leelanau, Michigan where you will discover a small boutique winery. A popular area for a photo is in front of the bottle tree with the vineyards in the background.

Chateau Fontaine
2290 S. French Road
Lake Leelanau, Michigan 49653

GPS: N44º 56.887’ W85º 45.306’

 

 


 

                                  

 
 
   

 


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