Maker: Shady Lane, Suttons Bay, Michigan, USA
Grape: Riesling (at least 85%)
Place of origin: Shady Lane estate, Leelanau Peninsula AVA, Michigan, USA
Style: Dry Riesling
Purchased for $26 (Michigan By The Bottle Sipper Club)
Appearance: Light gold.
Nose: Golden Delicious apples, lemon thyme, mineral water.
Palate: Mandarin orange, lime, chalk dust.
Finish: Drying and rocky. A little tartness.
Parting words: As I’ve written about before, 2014 and 2015 were essentially lost vintages in Michigan due to the infamous Polar Vortex. There were a few vineyards in Northern Michigan that didn’t get hit as hard as others, though. According to a tasting room employee last year, Shady Lane’s vineyards were among them.
The grapes and vines on Shady Lane survived, but it was still a cold vintage, and the wine reflects that. It has developed nice and slowly and hasn’t lost any of its fruit in its 3+ years in the bottle. It also has retained plenty of acid without being an acid bomb. Shady Lane Reserve Riesling is great with food but also has the depth and complexity for solo sipping. It’s everything a dry Michigan Riesling should be. Shady Lane Reserve Riesling is recommended.
Maker: Shady Lane Cellars, Suttons Bay, Michigan, USA
Grape: Riesling (100%)
Style: Medium dry sparkling white wine (secondary fermentation was using the cuve close, aka “tank” method)
Place of origin: Shady Lane estate (Blocks M, I & N), Leelanau Peninsula AVA, Michigan, USA
Price: $25 (Michigan by the Bottle Tasting Room, Auburn Hills)
For more information, scroll down to this wine’s entry here on Shady Lane’s website.
Appearance: Very pale straw with steady, delicate bubbles.
Nose: Whiff of yeast then classic Riesling profile. Big peach, plum, jackfruit, fresh squeezed blood orange juice.
Palate: Light bodied and medium sweet with moderate acidity. Mineral water, grapefruit, lemon peel, vanilla bean.
Finish: Clean & crisp. Minerals, acid.
Parting words: Shady Lane, one of Leelanau’s best wineries, is named after the founder’s favorite Pavement song (ok, probably not but I like to pretend that it is). Almost all their wines are made from estate grown grapes. That sets them apart from most of their peers. It also makes their wines harder to find and a little more expensive, but it’s worth it.
Sparkling Riesling is relatively rare in the US or anywhere else for that matter. The last one I had was this one but it doesn’t really count since it was the result of an accident. I enjoyed Shady Lane’s intentional version quite a bit, as did a friend I served some to. My wife didn’t like it as much. She found it to be lacking in flavor and aroma. I will say that it is a little bland right out of the refrigerator. Letting the glass or bottle warm for a couple minutes before drinking brings out all the deliciousness described above. It is balanced enough that it pairs very well with spicy Thai or Middle Eastern food.
Sparkling Riesling is rare and a wine this well made at $25 is even more rare. It’s like that easy going but never boring friend with a bubbly but never unbalanced personality you always want to have around at a party (once she comes out of the cold, anyway). Shady Lane Sparkling Riesling is recommended.
Maker: Shady Lane, Sutton’s Bay, Michigan, USA
Place of origin: Leelanau Peninsula AVA, Michigan, USA
Notes: Estate grown. Wine was tasted two days after opening.
Nose: Crisp semi-tart apples, ripe apricot.
On the palate: Medium-bodied and dry. Oak, breadfruit, curry powder, peach, melon.
Finish: Fairly dry without much fruit. Lasts a good length of time.
Parting words: Shady Lane Gewürz is very well done. It has the spice and dryness one expects from a Gewürztraminer, with the crisp fruit typical of Michigan whites. Even at three years old, and being open for two days (with a stopper in the fridge of course) it wasn’t flabby or tired. Went very well with herb-roasted chicken according to the wife. This was my first Shady Lane wine and I am sure it won’t be my last. Shady Lane Cellars Gewürztraminer 2009 is recommended.