While perusing the wine shelves at Royal Oak’s Holiday Market recently, I was pleased to note that some of the places we visited in our recent Tasting Leelanau adventures were well represented, including the likes of Shady Lane, Chateau Fontaine and Black Star Farms. It’s good to see retailers who recognize the fact that our wines continue to improve and have achieved a quality level that no longer needs the caveat “It’s pretty good for Michigan,” and Brian Croze and Jeff Mar do a great job in that regard.
I was also reminded of the fact that we had yet to try any of the 2008 Rieslings from one of our favorite producers on that “other” peninsula, Chateau Grand Traverse on Old Mission. The 2007s were excellent, and in fact, the last three vintages have all been wines that I’d be happy to pour for any one, so I was most interested in tasting the current lineup. Only the Semi-dry Riesling was unavailable, so I grabbed the other three, brought them home and we enjoyed them over the next three nights. Prices listed are those at the winery followed by Detroit area retail.
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Old Mission Peninsula Dry Riesling, 12.5% alc., $12.49 -$14.99: Clean medium color; delivers straightforward northern Michigan Riesling character, with green apple flavors and aromas shaded with some nice mineral and a very subtle herbaceousness. Medium bodied and more, with good length and the requisite acidity; the minerality comes out more as it opens in the glass. A solid, if unexceptional dry Riesling that doesn’t quite seem to live up the the previous vintage and the price has risen at least a few dollars, depending where you’re getting it. Find this wine
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Old Mission Peninsula Whole Cluster Riesling, 12% alc., $13.99-$14.99: Clean medium color, and ripe without being overly so; apple-like flavors and aromas more green than red are accented with nice minerality and a very subtle herbaceous quality. More than medium bodied, with excellent acids and good length, and while I like this just fine (and better than the dry Riesling), it too seems to come up just a little short of the 2007 version. Find this wine
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Old Mission Peninsula Late Harvest Riesling, 10.5% alc., $13.99-$14.99: Clean medium color, with Spatlese-level sweetness and not cloying in the least; offers rich, ripe red apple, apricot, honey and mandarin orange citrus underscored with subtle mineral. Medium bodied and a little oily in texture, with good intensity and cut; the acids balance the sweetness very nicely. This is the most satisfying of the three wines noted here; Kim uttered “delicious” after her first sip. Find this wine
Granted, the 2007 vintage was a tough act to follow in Traverse area wine country, but these three are all perfectly fine in their own regard. I’d only buy the Dry Riesling at the winery price; $14.99 is just a little too much for me, especially remembering the lovely 2007 priced at $9.99. The other two are fairly priced at either end of that one dollar swing, and offer further evidence that Riesling is still king on Old Mission Peninsula.
Reporting from Day-twah,