Michigan Wine Tasting and Reviews

Wine Tasting:
2004 Chateau Grand Traverse Semi-Dry Riesling

Winery: Chateau Grand Traverse
Brand/Type: Semi-Dry Riesling
Vintage: 2005
Country: USA
Region: Grand Traverse Peninsula, Michigan
Alcohol content: 12%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Pale blonde
Aroma/Bouquet: Lemony citrus and melon

This is an excellent Riesling that compares well against any German Kabinett. The label says “Semi-Dry” but off dry is more accurate (at least for this bottle).

Very smooth on the palate, it is even with a complex fruit flavor that includes tangerine, orange, melon, apricot, and is well balanced with a mineral presence. It is consistent and crisp from the tip of the tongue to the finish. This is probably one of the more complex tasting Rieslings you will find anywhere.

Chateau Grand Traverse is well represented in most of the upper-Midwest. You can find this as well as other wines of theirs in most Meijer stores. Thankfully Meijer stocks regional wines and supports smaller brands. If you are in Ohio the Andersons also stocks this.

One note on the down side… the cork was overly dry. We’ve noticed this before with other bottles from Chateau Grand Traverse. This may be from improper storage at the retailer (most likely). Regardless of how, we would recommend that drink this brand soon. Frankly, with something this good, it’s too tempting not to drink right away!

Wine Tasting:
2004 Chateau Grand Traverse Johannisberg Late Harvest Riesling

Winery: Chateau Grand Traverse
Brand/Type: Johannisberg Riesling
Vintage: 2004
Country: USA
Region: Grand Traverse Peninsula, Michigan
Alcohol content: 10.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Light blonde
Aroma/Bouquet: Apricot and melon

Off dry, lightly sweet, somewhere between a Kabinett and a Spatlese. Very nice fruitiness with a tart finish. A nice mineral edge.

Another excellent Michigan Riesling. Similar to many German offerings but with a higher alcohol content but not in a bad way; just a bit bolder than the traditional German Riesling.

Wine Tasting:
2005 Chateau Chantal Pinot Noir

Winery: Chateau Chantal
Brand/Type: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2005
Country: USA
Region: Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan
Alcohol content: 12.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Purple to ruby red
Aroma/Bouquet: Barely there… “wine-ish”.

Flat, little flavor, vague cherry, plum, smoke.

Rather disappointing. Considering that this was sampled at their tasting room, perhaps this was a bottle that was left open from the night before?

Wine Tasting:
Chateau Grand Traverse 2004 Edelzwicker

Winery: Chateau Grand Traverse
Brand/Type: Edelzwicker
Vintage: 2004
Country: USA
Region: Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan
Alcohol content: 12.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Pale straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Apricot, sweet silage

This Edelzwicker is described by Chateau Grand Traverse as being a “Noble Blend” of Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. Given this complex blend of grapes, you would expect a complex wine. Chateau Grand Traverse delivers precisely that!

Chateau Grand Traverse has proven that they are not just another Northern Michigan Riesling or Cherry wine producer. They do those very well mind you. However their Chardonnays and in this case, Edelzwickers are quite engaging and rewarding.

This wine offers a large mouthful of flavor. That’s not to say that it is overwhelming, it’s not. It offers a sensory adventure that begins with the nose and continues steadily on until the finish. At 12.5 % alcohol you might expect this to have some harsheness; we detected none. We have to credit Chateau Grand Traverse’s expertise in balancing the blend of grapes. Nice job!

Unfortunately their distribution is not very wide. If you are near a Meijer store look for Chateau Grand Traverse wines in their regional section. IGA’s and Tom’s in Northern Michigan are also stocking vendors for Chateau Grand Traverse. Of course if you are in the Traverse City area you can stop by the winery or their outlet store.

Wine Tasting:
Good Harbor 2004 Late Harvest White Riesling

Winery: Good Harbor
Brand/Type: White Riesling
Vintage: 2004
Country: USA
Region: Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
Alcohol content: 10%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Honey blonde
Aroma/Bouquet: Light citrus and pear

This is a continuation on our tour of Michigan’s Traverse City area wineries.

Good Harbor is again one of the gems of Northern Michigan’s wine country. Good Harbor offers a very nice variety of wines and this time we focus on another white.

Rieslings should show a complex character. Rieslings are to flavor as chameleons are to color. Good Harbor’s whites follow in this theme.

This off dry late harvest White Riesling is quite complex. It has a range of fruitiness that goes from pear to melon with a nice bit of acidity and citrus. It also has a nice mineral edge. This is the driest of Good Harbor’s Rieslings.

Wine Review:
Good Harbor Pinot Grigio

Winery: Good Harbor
Brand/Type: Pinot Grigio
Vintage: 2005
Country: USA
Region: Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
Alcohol content: 12%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Light blonde
Aroma/Bouquet: Light, lemony-citrus and pear, hint of melon

This is another one of Good harbors delightful offerings. It is a crisp and light Pinot Grigio that you could drink alone but goes oh so well with fish. This wine pairs very well with grilled salmon, swordfish, or tuna. Probably too delicate for any fried fish. It is also well suited for robust salads.

For a Pinot Grigio, this has a very light citrus-pear bouquet with just a faint hint of melon. Not as complex to the palate as Good Harbor’s Trillium but very nice and it makes a great wine for hot summer evenings. If you prefer a Pinot Grigio with less bite, but not watered down, this wine is for you.

Wine Review:
Good Harbor Trillium

Winery: Good Harbor
Brand/Type: Trillium – Dry table white
Vintage: 2005
Country: USA
Region: Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
Alcohol content: 11.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Appearance: Pale blonde, almost clear
Aroma/Bouquet: Light, mild apricot-ish

Good Harbor Vineyards produces a nice variety of wines of which encompasses a broad spectrum of varieties. Trillium is described by Good Harbor as being their semi-dry white table wine. Good Harbor claims to use a blend of blend of Riesling, Vignoles and Seyval grapes in making this blended wine. I would place this wine somewhere between a Vouvray and a non-Oaked Chardonnay. Very drinkable alone and well matched with Italian or Asian cuisine. One could probably find a good match with a blackened tuna or garlic shrimp as well.

Trillium has a slight apricot to dandelion bouquet. Again almost resembling a non-oaked chardonnay but far more complex. In some ways it has an initial Vouvray taste but it tends to lean more toward a Spanish white in bite. Good Harbor has indeed created a complex white that is quite a treat and well worth seeking out. And like most Michigan wines, you won’t go broke either.