What to Know About Northern Michigan Rieslings For Your Fall Color Tour

Riesling Primer

Riesling can produce compelling flavors anywhere between bone dry and super sweet. The International Riesling Foundation has produced a helpful scale to indicate the sweetness of individual bottlings, and we break down the essential characteristics of each category.

Lean, tart and racy, showing off primarily green apple, citrus and mineral tones. Drink as an aperitif or pair with Great Lakes fish. Less than 1 percent residual sugar.
Medium Dry
Stone fruit, floral and tropical notes start to show up. Pair with pork, salads and soft cheeses. 1 to 2 percent residual sugar.
Medium Sweet
Aromatics can become more intense and texture more viscous. Play the sweetness against spicy Korean barbecue or salty choucroute. 2.1 to 4 percent residual sugar.
Sweet Honey and candied fruit flavors enter the mix. Weight goes up, alcohol goes down. Pair with pear and apple tarts, pâtés and pungent washed-rind cheeses. 4.1 percent-plus residual sugar.

Sleep Among the Vines

Check out these local wine country inns for post-riesling respite.

Tesoro Inn
15627 Center Road, Traverse City, 231.223.7686
Three luxe modern suites with full exposure to the surrounding garden, orchard and vineyards. Savor gourmet breakfasts al fresco, en masse or in bed.
Chateau Chantal
15900 Rue de Vin, Traverse City, 231.223.4110
This expansive chateau has room options ranging from cozy queen beds to a fully equipped executive apartment. Terraces, hearths and hot tubs are steps from the vineyard and tasting room.
Inn at Black Star Farms
10844 East Revold Road, Suttons Bay, 231.941.1251
Elegant agri-tourism at its finest. The Inn’s rooms are appointed with designer fabrics, fireplaces and spa tubs. Lavish locally inspired breakfasts, pre-dinner wine receptions and 160 acres of pastoral bliss to explore.
Whaleback Inn
1757 North Manitou Trail, Leland, 231.256.9090 This idyllic stone and cedar shake lodge has cozy rooms, three deluxe suites and the five-bed Maple House Cottage for a riesling rendezvous with friends. Continental breakfast spread and a private dock with views of Lake Leelanau.

Stand-out Rieslings

With more than 30 wineries between two peninsulas and a full spectrum of styles, there’s tasty riesling everywhere Up North. Here are a few to try.

Black Star Farms Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling
Rich, honeyed elixir eked from partially frozen grapes. Drink now or age for decades.
Chateau Grand Traverse Lot 49 Riesling
Medium-dry with complex fruit and terrific texture from oak Stück aging.
Good Harbor Vineyards Dry Riesling
White peach and apple fruit. Lean, crisp and long on the palate.
Left Foot Charley Seventh Hill Farm Riesling
A sexy tropical bouquet and brilliant balance of sweetness and acidity.
Chateau Fontaine Dry White Riesling Linear and zippy with loads of stone fruit and lemon peel.

This feature and additional photos are available in the September 2013 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Get your copy today!

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