Winemakers and oenophiles from both peninsulas gathered yesterday for the state’s ultimate celebration of fermented grapes in their many forms. The Gold Medal Reception for the Michigan Wine Competition was held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of Michigan State University.
Guests at the annual event were invited to experience the best Michigan has to offer. All the wines served were top winners in the 2018 Michigan Wine Competition, held a week prior. This year’s honorees include:
Dry White Wine
Verterra Winery’s 2017 Dry Riesling took top honors. It marks the second consecutive year that the Leland winery captured Best of Class in this category.
Dry Red Red Wine
Known for having some of the best reds in the state, the 2016 Bel Tramanto from Mari Vineyards, holds the title this year. The Traverse City winery is worth a visit for scrumptious wines and equally delicious views.
Lake Leelanau boutique winery, Aurora Cellars came in Best in Class with its 2017 Medium Sweet Riesling, a choice that makes a nice sipping wine on a warm afternoon.
Semi-Dry Red Wine
Representing the west coast, Lawton Ridge Winery in Kalamazoo is home to top honoree 2017 AZO Red. Lawton Ridge commonly comes in with high marks in this category, this year’s champ is soft, supple and fruity, with hints of black raspberry.
It’s no surprise that Mawby, a Suttons Bay winery that specializes in sparkling, should capture the lead position in this category. Their winner is Sandpainting, a blend centered on barrel fermented 2013 pinot noir and chardonnay, with some vignoles.
The state’s oldest winery, St Julian, is still producing some of the absolute best wines in the state, as evidenced by the fact that this is one of two categories in which the Paw Paw winery topped the list. Their Solera Cream Sherry screams dessert with its aromas of butterscotch and pecan, accented by a lush taste of almond and hazelnut.
Perhaps the only thing better than wine that goes well with dessert is wine that could be dessert. Such is the case with the 2016 Riesling Ice Wine from Chateau Grand Traverse in Traverse City.
With all the different fruits grown in this state, it tends to reason that we would produce some delightful options that do not consist of grape juice. St. Julian makes several and comes in with a top entry in another category with its Sweet Nancie Peach.
If there’s one classification that seems to be all the rage around the country these days, it’s Rosé. Left Foot Charley’s 2017 Blaufrankisch Rosé scores atop the leaderboard here, with another victory for the Traverse City region. The dry, but fruity, wine was made with Blaufränkisch grapes grown in Benzie County.
View a complete list of all the medal-winners in each class, and/or visit a tasting room near you to sip, sample, and decide on your own best in class choices.