It dawned on me this evening I spent four days in Michigan visiting the state’s wineries and consumed only a single glass of wine – every thing else was the 1-ounce pour at 11 wineries. That one glass was a really rich Leelanau Cellars Rose with Tony Lentych at Leelanau Cellars.

It’s time to start drinking some of the treasure I brought back. Almost like a disclaimer, but a really positive one, Michigan wines are done in a lighter style. I think the wines are incredibly food friendly.

Tonight I opened a 2007 Peninsula Cellars Dry Riesling ($14.99). Peninsula Cellars is one of the most honored wineries in the state. They have won big at various wine competitions, particularly Michigan’s state wine judging, and were even recognized in Time Magazine.

The charming old schoolhouse makes for a unique setting. The Riesling is really outstanding. I used to drink a lot of Riesling, primarily German, as I was really getting into wine. The Michigan Rieslings are bringing me back to the grape.

The state’s Riesling is definitely a lighter style with a hint of minerality instead of clubbing the plate with stone flavor like some Riesling wines can do. The Peninsula Cellars Dry Riesling has nice fruit – think of a really juicy, slightly over-ripe apple. It’s a rich wine that nearly reaches the level of creamy. There is a hint of acidity that’s perfect for this drinkable white wine.

I had the wine with a light pasta dish – onion, fresh lemon, cracked pepper, a splash of the wine, and shrimp over thin spaghetti.

I tasted many good to really great Riesling wines in Michigan. Much has been written about New York and Washington state Rieslings, which I have not tasted, but it’s hard to imagine any substantially better.

I need to transcribe some interviews with some of Michigan’s terrific wine people I visited and write my piece for Palate Press. The four men I interviewed had a lot to say. But they all talked about quality, the wine’s lighter style, and how Michigan wines can stand up to any region.

Obviously, I’ve become a believer.

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