Michigan’s “Riesling Specialist”: Chateau Grand Traverse’s Lot 49 Is Jancis Robinson’s Wine of the Week

February 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Well-deserved congratulations go out to Michigan winemaker Chateau Grand Traverse. Its Lot 49 2010 Riesling was selected by noted British wine critic and journalist, Jancis Robinson, as her “Wine of the Week.” Robinson came about the wine earlier this week at the Frankland Estate International Riesling Tasting (“FEIRT”) in Australia. CGT’s Lot 49 traveled a long way from home to be in this blind tasting of 87 Rieslings from around the world, which was curated by Berlin-based wine writer Stuart Pigott.


Robinson dubbed Lot 49 as “the most interesting wine by far,” which she thought might be a “wild-fermented” dry German Riesling. But no. Just a well-produced local wine from our little corner of the world. Lot 49 is produced from a single parcel of steeply-sloping land on Old Mission Peninsula. If you’ve never visited CGT, their vineyards are located on a scenic overlook that slopes toward the crystalline green waters of Grand Traverse Bay. The water surrounding the Old Mission Peninsula helps to moderate the temperature, and encourage the growth of vinifera grapes.

In 2010, I presciently wrote on the Beet, “[I]n 1974, Ed O’Keefe started Chateau Grand Traverse. The first winery in Michigan to plant 100% vinifera grapes (as opposed to cooler-climate hybrid grapes), Chateau Grand Traverse is best known for its award-winning Riesling. CGT is now producing 80,000 cases per year, and edging toward the title of the top-selling winery in Michigan. Today, many will say that CGT’s dry Riesling is world-class, and is helping to put Michigan on the short list of top U.S. Riesling producers (along with Oregon, Washington and New York).” [Although I admit that when I wrote this, CGT had not yet produced Lot 49. And we can now expand the "short list" to include non-U.S. producers.]

You can order this wine directly from the winery here.