Category Archives: Riesling

Leelanau Cellars Select Harvest Riesling

In August I went back to the States for the first time in two years. While I was there I gave a wine tasting for some family and friends. It was a strange mixed bag of wines from the US and abroad. It included two wines from Michigan; one from Leelanau Cellars.

Yes. We make wine in Michigan. Every. Single. State. In America makes wine. Even Hawaii and Alaska. California may have the biggest reputation but personally I don’t think they’re even the best. For me the best American wines are coming out of Oregon, Washington, and New York.  But back to Michigan.

MI tasting

Michigan wines are steadily, if somewhat slowly, improving. My experience with them is that they are still largely what one might call a ‘porch wine’. Decent quality but without any real depth of character. They are easy drinking and and usually a little on the sweet side. Even the “dry” wines. But they are gaining recognition and winning awards so we can’t be doing too badly really.

To learn more about Michigan wines, wineries, and wine tourism I suggest checking out Michigan Wines official webpage and Michigan By the Bottle .

Leelanau Cellars

Leelanau Cellars Select Harvest Riesling Tasting Notes:

Leelanau Cellars is one of our more northerly wineries. Located north of Michigan’s famous Traverse City, the Jacobson family has been making wine here for 35 years. Leelanau Cellers’ wines cover a wide range from dry to fruit (we’re big on fruit wine in Michigan), sweet, and even a white port.

The Select Harvest Riesling is part of Leelanau Cellars’ Tall Ships series. As the name implies, it is a non vintage blend. At only 11% abv it’s fairly low in alcohol. That combined with a semi-sweet nature makes it a dangerously easy wine to quaff.

Michigan does Riesling well and Leelanau Cellars Select Harvest Riesling is no exception. It shows distinctive characteristics of the grape from the clear, pale lemon color to the floral and stone fruits on the nose. The residual sugar lends a slightly thick, honey-like texture to the wine. However rather than being cloying-the fear of those who don’t love a sweet wine-the nose and palate are delicate. Honeysuckle, fresh peaches, and the richness of dried apricots form a beautiful marriage of aromas and flavors. 

So yes, we make wine in Michigan. You should check it out sometime.

Villa Antonori Bianca 2015

I love Italian wine. Red or white. I don’t care. I love it all. And when you find a trusted producer, like Marchesi Antinori, you are guaranteed that even the lower end wines will be nice. Such is the case of the Villa Antinori Bianca 2015.

The Villa Antonori Bianca is a Tuscan wine. A white Tuscan wine! Surely not! Surely yes! Tuscany is not just about red wines. The red wines might be more well-known but there is no shortage of white wine in Tuscany.

Villa Antonori Bianca

Marchesi Antinori is the famed producer of Tignanello-the herald and (still) standard bearer of Super Tuscan wines. Antonori produces far more than Super Tuscans though; and they’ve been doing it for 26 generations. They have eight estates producing wine in both the Toscana and Umbria IGTs (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), three DOCs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), and three DOCGs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).

Antinori produces many high-end wines and are lauded, rightfully, for their excellence. It’s so nice to know that the same sense of excellence and commitment to quality extends to all their wines. The Villa Antinori Bianca being included.

Villa Antonori Bianca

Villa Antonori Bianca 2015 Tasting Notes:

The Villa Antonori Bianca is a testament to a master blender. The wine is a blend of five grapes: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Trebbiano, Malvasia Toscana, and Rhine Riesling. How a body is supposed to be able to pick out all those grapes is beyond my comprehension.

Straw yellow with faint green highlights the wine is full of light and life in the glass and the nose. The nose is aromatic; brimming with flowers and citrus. Flavors of lemon and grapefruit wrap around a highly acidic core. The acid was something of a surprise after the delicate nose but it was perfect for cutting through the saltiness of what we were eating.

It’s a lovely wine perfect for pairing or sipping on a hot day.

Chamlija Reisling

The 2014 Chamlija Riesling

A friend of mine was in town not too long ago and I met her at her hotel for a drink. Normally I’d have suggested Solera or one of the other wine places I like so much but she was staying at Soho House and I couldn’t not go.

Soho House is a private club/luxury hotel with locations around the world. A new location was recently opened in Istanbul in what was the American Consulate here. Now the American Consulate is far outside the city it might as well be in Bulgaria. It’s a gorgeous building and Soho House has done a lot of expensive renovation on it. Interestingly enough it’s still owned by the Consulate (there are some rules as to what one can and can’t do with things owned by embassies) but Soho House has leased it for something like 99 years. Since I don’t have an impressive enough bank account nor am I cool enough to get membership, I can only get into Soho House with a member or guest of the hotel.

Inside it’s all muted lighting, semi uncomfortable furniture (sure I’m a little overweight but I don’t usually have a problem getting my rather non-existent hips into an armchair!), and hushed voices. Use of social media at the hotel is forbidden as are making phone calls (in the club) and taking pictures. They even go so far as to put it on the coasters (one of which I nabbed).


What does this have to do with wine? Just reaffirming that I would rather be home drinking some Turkish wine than hanging out in a club that’s too cool for me with prices reminiscent of my DC days (cocktails ranged from between  35-40 TL).

Even though summer is over and I generally only drink white wine in the summer, I couldn’t resist any longer the Chamlija Reisling I bought at the end of the season. I generally like Riesling and since I have yet to meet a Chamlija wine I don’t like I thought that this would probably be 90 TL (from La Cave) well-spent. I was right.

Rieslings are fruity, aromatic wines that can run the gamut from super sweet to dry. If you’re looking for a particular style but the label doesn’t describe the sweetness level you can tell by the alcohol content. Generally the lower the alcohol content the sweeter the Riesling is. The 2014 Chamlija Riesling, at 13.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), was on the drier side.

A beautiful pale to medium lemon, this Riesling has a delicate and beautiful nose of possibly jasmine, honeysuckle, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and green apple. Rieslings have a fairly wide range of possible flavors the most dominant of which depend largely on whether the grapes are from cooler or warmer climates. Chamlija’s vineyard is only 120 kilometers from Istanbul which I guess puts in somewhere in the temperate climate area? I really must find a friend who doesn’t mind squiring me around though because as close as Chamlija is, it might as well be on the other side of the country to someone like me who doesn’t drive.

In the mouth the Chamlija Reisling is smooth and clean with zesty citrus, honeysuckle, green apples, and cantaloupe; super lovely. With medium high acidity it’s also quite literally mouth watering! It’s so rare that I like any white wine that’s not sweet so I’m over the moon when I do. Chamlija has scored for me a couple times now; once with their Viognier-Narince, with the single varietal Viognier and now with this. I really do heart Chamlija.

Not only are Chamlija wines gorgeous to drink but their labels are beautiful. I believe that the daughter of the current vintner designs all of them. I think I should like a print to hang in my apartment. Perhaps one of these days when I make it to winery!