Mari Vineyards Late Harvest Riesling, 2016

Maker: Mari Vineyards, Traverse City, Michigan, USA

Place of origin: Irish Vineyard, Old Mission Peninsula AVA, Michigan, USA

Grape: Riesling (100%)

Vintage: 2016

ABV: 10.5%

Notes: 22.5° brix at harvest, 4.2° residual sugar

Purchased for $28 (Winery)

Appearance: Very pale gold. Tiny bubbles visable after pouring.

Nose: Cut Granny Smith apple, pineapple, lemon thyme.

Palate: Full bodied, but not syrupy. Medium sweet. More tart apple, ripe peach, mango, limestone.

Finish: Sweet with a big hit of acid in the cheeks.

Parting words: Like the Mari Vineyards “Monastery”, everything that appears on Mari wine labels has some sort of symbolic meaning. The bird escaping the guilded cage on the Late Harvest Riesling label is meant to represent winemaker Sean O’Keefe’s professional journey. He left his family’s winery, Chateau Grand Traverse, in order to spread his wings and make his own wines at Mari. CGT more or less set the standard for Michigan Riesling and the O’Keefe’s are one of the first families of Michigan wine, hence the cage’s guilding.

Sean’s late harvest Reisling (English for Spätlese) is different stylistically from those produced by his family’s winery. He strives first and foremost for balance, something this style is not always known for. The wine is undeniably sweet, but that sweetness is balanced with acid, fruit and a pinch of minerality. In fact, Sean has been making his late harvest Rieslings drier with every vintage, and just today he promised that the 2019 will be the driest one he’s ever made, firmly in semi-dry territory. I can’t wait to taste it.

Mari’s wines are near the top end price-wise for Michigan but I’ve never been disappointed. I’d easily pay $28 for a high-quality Spätlese, so I have no qualms paying that much for a wine this good. It’s maybe the best LHR being made in Michigan. As a result 2016 Mari Vineyards Late Harvest Reisling is highly recommended.

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