News About Wineries, Wine, and Wine Tasting

Michigan Rieslings

Northern Michigan is home to some of the best Riesling producers in the world. The Germans of course have a well deserved long standing reputation. California is simply better at reds, Oregon and Washington have a few decent Rieslings but by and large they tend to be harsh and overly high in alcohol for what the Germans would regard as a Riesling.

Michigan is well noted for its white wine production and especially for the Traverse City area's Rieslings. Virtually every winery in the area offers at least one Riesling. Typically we find Northern Michigan Rieslings to be closer to Germany's offerings than the Pacific Northwest's. They tend to be more complex and lower in alcohol (but not as low as the classic German wines) as compared to the Rieslings from Washington or Oregon. Some wine snobs will scoff at anything from the Midwest. Much of this is deserved. However an honest trial of the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsula Rieslings will show that again they are more inline with the classic German Rieslings.

Northern Michigan has an ideal climate for whites and especially Rieslings. Typically Northern Michigan has an idyllic four-season climate. Cold, snowy winters protect the vines and give the ground adequate moisture while spring brings April showers and moderate temperature that help the vines grow deep roots. Dry, hot and somewhat humid summers are followed by temperate autumn weather that allows the grapes to mature evenly. The Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsula benefit from the warm water's moderation of the temperature and extends the harvest far later than most vines at this latitude experience. All this creates an ideal environment for winemaking and the Rieslings of this region are the biggest winners.

There is a tendency by many wine drinkers to over chill white wines. This is something that dulls the complexity of fine wines and while a nice cold drink may be refreshing, it too often hides the nature of white wines. This is especially true of higher alcohol whites; however most Michigan whites are not as high in alcohol as their west coast cousins. Subsequently a slightly warmer serving temperature benefits these complex wines.

Wine Tasting
Tabor Hill Classic Demi-sec

Winery: Tabor Hill
Brand/Type: Classic Demi-sec
Vintage: N/A
Country: USA
Region: Southeastern Michigan
Alcohol content: 12%
Closure: Cork

Claims to be a favorite of celebrities and served in the White House. Also stated to be a soft, semi-dry but was very sweet. Couldn’t finish the bottle. very sweet, not pleasant at all.

TC Wineguide

There’s a new online guide to the wineries and vineyards of Traverse City and the surrounding wine producing region that includes the Old Mission Peninsula, and the Leelanau Peninsula. lists all of the regions wineries and vineyards. TC Wineguide also list the numerous hard cider producers along with mead and beer.

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2009

Brewery Ommegang (that’s right, brewery) hosts an annual Belgian Ale Festival each year. Last year Weinzapf sent a contingent of reporters to cover the festival.

We kept the coverage to our selves for fear of giving any snobby oenophiles a reason to whine…
Not so this year. We’re blowing the cork off and sharing the adventures of our crew as well as reviews that may come along with the adventures.

If you love Barley wine, look for Uncle Jesse. He had the MOST amazing stuff last year. We’ll be looking for him at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2009.

Wine Tasting:
Badger Mountain 2005 Organic Riesling

Winery: Badger Mountain
Brand/Type: Riesling, Organic, NSA (No Sulfites Added)
Vintage: 2005
Country: USA
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington
Alcohol content: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Appearance: Light straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Melon, apricot, and tangerine

This Kabinett style Riesling is one of the best west coast Rieslings around. It’s dry to slightly off-dry (2004 was off-dry) and nicely complex. It delivers a sweet-tart melon/green apple taste then bounces to a tangerine-citrus sensation and leaves with a distinct but pleasant (and very even) mineral finish. It’s not syrupy like some Rieslings but very crisp and mature.

Badger Mountain uses 100% certified organic grapes for this NSA (No Sulfites Added) Riesling. In fact all of Badger Mountain’s wines are certified organic and many are without added sulfites. This is fantastic choice for anyone who suffers from a sulfite allergy. All wines contain sulfites, they’re a naturally occurring part of the fermentation process, but only a few vintners go out of their way to avoid adding them. Badger Mountain proves that you don’t really need to add them to make an excellent wine.

This year Badger Mountain has also moved to screw caps. This is a good thing. We’re happy to see more wineries moving to this closure. Cork is for snobs and Luddites. Maybe you can eBay your Campagnolo corkscrew if enough wineries abandon corks altogether? Then you could afford a case or two of Badger Mountain Organic Riesling!


Almost every wine drinker I know seems to also be a big coffee fan too. I personally recommend Community Coffee! It’s very affordable, but more importantly – very good!