It’s no big secret that our holiday get togethers and family dinners will look a little different this year.
Maybe that’s a good excuse to explore the world of Michigan wine, which keeps growing every year in popularity, and acclaim.
We reached out to our Top 10 picks for Michigan’s Best Winery, and we asked reps to recommend three wines that would pair perfectly with holiday meals through New Year’s Eve.
We asked them for a red, white and something fun to usher in the New Year.
We’ve included price per bottle, tasting notes and details about the pairings.
You can scroll down at the end of the post if you just want to see one big list.
30 Michigan wines that pair perfectly for the holidays.
Black Star Farms
10844 E Revold Road, Suttons Bay, MI 49682; 231-944-1270
Also, 360 E McKinley Road, Traverse City, MI 49686; 231-944-1300
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. everyday, curbside and online orders only through Dec. 8.
*Selections by tasting room extraordinaire Chris Lopez. They are all available in the tasting room and online. Free shipping on 6+ bottles.
1. Arcturos Merlot ($22) – A deceptively dry wine, with blackberry and plum flavors complemented by hints of oak and dark cocoa. The velvety texture and mild tannins leave a soft but lasting impression on the palate. Merlot is generally a very food friendly pairing well with lamb, beef, pork, and a variety of cheeses such as Edam, Gouda, and Aged Cheddar. Favorite food pairings include, Rosemary and Herb Crusted Lamb Chops, Tandoori Beef Skewers, and Cherry Glazed Pork Loin.
You’ll love it because: Merlot has gotten an undeserved bad rap ever since the movie “Sideways.” This Merlot will remind you why it became so popular in the first place. We have a lot of fun pouring it blind in the tasting room and seeing how amazed guests are when they find out it’s a – gasp! -Merlot!
2. Arcturos Dry Riesling ($14) – This dry and aromatic Riesling is full of flavor and character. Vibrant and fresh with lush fruit aromas, balanced by a bracing acidity, make this wine an excellent accompaniment to a wide variety of foods. Very versatile with light meats, fish and seafood. Perfect with roasted turkey during the holidays and many festive appetizers like baked brie and creamy crab dip. It can also hold its own with Asian cuisine, mildly spiced curry and sushi
You’ll love it because: It is so easy to pair with most of your holiday food options and is another wine to surprise your guests with. So many people think Riesling’s are only very sweet – prove them wrong, but be careful. This wine is one of those wines that goes down so easy you will want to make sure you have enough on hand. (Also at better wine stores.)
3. 2017 Blanc de Blanc ($24) – This dry sparkler is 100% Chardonnay from grapes grown on the Leelanau Peninsula and is made in a brut style. This wine is delicate, fresh, and elegant with floral aromas and crisp fruitiness. The fresh bread nose is typical of wine produced in the methode champenoise. This wine is sensational with smoky or salty appetizers like cheese straws, roasted pecans or smoked salmon and is also wonderful with oysters and other shellfish.
You’ll love it because: It’s delicious! Really, really delicious, and who doesn’t love popping the cork on a bottle of good bubbly.
15900 Rue de Vin, Traverse City MI 49686.
Hours: 11a.m,-5 p.m.
*Selections made by Liz Berger, operations manager at Chateau Chantal. All wines available in the tasting room, online and in local stores.
4. Naughty Red ($14) – A soft, approachable red wine with cherry, strawberry, and blackberry notes on the nose. A dry red blend with no harsh or bitter taste. Pairs well with simple fare- like burgers & pizza.
You’ll love it because: Who doesn’t love a little bit of Naughty at the holidays?
5. Nice White ($14) – A sweeter white wine, with complex tastes including ripe peach, lychee, and a hint of orange peel. The palate is polished with notes of grapefruit and ginger spice, finishing with a balanced minerality. Pairs well with creamy cheeses, sweet fruit desserts or other extravagances.
You’ll love it because: When your done being Naughty it’s good to have a bit of Nice.
6. Celebrate! ($16) – A rose bubbly that is a fruity and floral blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, and Gamay to give a refreshing berry nose. Not too dry, but not sweet- just the right sweetness level to satisfy most palates. Pairs well with salty appetizers, strawberries, fruit salads, and any random Tuesday evening.
You’ll love it because: No need to leave the bubbles for a special occasion with this wine because who doesn’t love to Celebrate!
Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery
10983 Hills Road, Baroda
Round Barn Estate Hours:
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday & Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
*The Public House in downtown Baroda.
*A Tasting Room in Union Pier.
*The Filling Station off of I-94 in Coloma.
*Available online, tasting rooms or at your local retailer.
7. Round Barn Merlot ($32.99) – With aromas of cedar and blackberry and flavors of oak and salal berry this Merlot has a soft yet full-bodied mouthfeel. Pairs well with Dark meats such as prime rib, lamb and rich stews, or casseroles.
You’ll love it because: Merlot is extremely food-versatile. You can pair it with just about anything from lamb to pasta, or just about anything off the grill! It’s also the perfect “sipping-wine” to enjoy after the holiday dinner around a fire.
8. Round Barn Salted Caramel Cream ($29.99) – With its rich flavor, velvety texture, an irresistible combination of smooth caramel, and salty goodness, this wine is a decadent treat. Pairs well with Flourless Chocolate Cake. (Also available at your local retailer.)
You’ll love it because: Salted Caramel Cream is great for the holidays or to usher in a relaxing evening; serve it as an aperitif for a party, add it to desserts for even more delight, or pour a glass to reward yourself (it’ll be our little secret). Try mixing our Salted Caramel Cream with our DiVine Vodka to create a Salty Nutty Russian – A delicious holiday-dessert treat!
9. Round Barn Farm Market Cranberry ($13.99) – Just the right amount of tart and sweet for a refreshing and flavorful treat. This wine has a bright Cranberry color with a fruity, aromatic nose including hints of cranberry and currant. The palate is very lively, with a sweetness that is perfectly balanced with a tart, refreshing finish. Pairs well with the perfect wine for chicken, turkey or pork. Great for holiday fare, light lunches, dinners, or salads. (Also available at your local retailer.)
You’ll love it because: It’s great alone or the perfect start for your favorite cocktails, like a Cranberry Mule, Crantini or a Cranberry Margarita!
Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery
3309 Blue Water Road, Traverse City
*Selections by Coenraad Stassen, Brys Winemaker. All three wines available online, in the tasting room, and in local Michigan wine retailers.
10. 2018 Pinot Noir Reserve ($32) – This wine boasts black cherry, white pepper, and spice on the nose. The palate is viscous and luscious with a long memorable finish of fruit, spice, and well-integrated French oak. Pinot Noir is a great “food wine” and will pair wonderfully with the majority of your main course dishes this holiday, whether it’s red meat, poultry, pork, seafood, or mushrooms.
11. 2018 Dry Riesling Reserve ($18) – This Dry Riesling has beautiful stone fruit aromatics of white peach and apricot, with a soft and luscious mouthfeel and a slight tropical finish. Pairs wonderfully with fish, Asian cuisine, and salads. An approachable and delicious white wine to sip and share anytime during the holiday season – and beyond!
12. 2019 Brys Bubbly ($40) – Created to celebrate Brys Estate’s 15th anniversary, this limited release brut sparkling is made with estate-grown Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. This beautiful wine shows hints of red raspberry and watermelon on the nose with a soft, fruit-forward mid-palate. A well-balanced acidity carries the fruit to the finish. Perfect for everyday enjoyment or celebrations! This would pair great with a cheese and charcuterie appetizer or a fruity dessert.
2 Lads Winery
16985 Smokey Hollow Road, Traverse City
Winter Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
*All wines are available at 2 Lads tasting room and online.
13. 2018 Pinot Noir ($29) – Luscious bright red fruit, dusty cocoa, and savory goodness abound. And the texture? Like ensconcing yourself in liquid velvet. Pair it with mom’s best beef bourguignon recipe – it’s an instant holiday classic. Recommended by Michael Hunter, 2 Lads operations manager.
14. 2019 Pinot Grigio ($17) – Delicate aromatics of white narcissus flower. Lip smacking flavors of grapefruit and Asian pear. Serve with your favorite holiday appetizers – oysters on the half shell, spinach artichoke dip, bruschetta (extra capers on mine, please) – or pair it with an elegant meal of lemon butter scallops. Recommended by Chris Baldyga, owner.
15. Sparkling Pinot Grigio ($35) – Nostalgic aromas of freshly baked bread. Apple crisp and lively tangerine on the palate. Crisp, elegant finish. Pairs well with holiday canapés (try crispy pastry goat cheese and fig tarts) and the company of old friends. And check out that cool bottle(!) – it’s just as fun and festive as the wine inside. Recommended by Emily Pelky, tasting room manager.
St. Julian Winery
716 S Kalamazoo St., Paw Paw
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday & Saturday; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
*Selections made by Tony Strong, Paw Paw tasting room manager. Available in the tasting room, online and popular retail locations throughout the state.
16. Holidaze ($14.99) – A wine created with love, to help all of you tired, stressed, busy people get through the crazy holiday season. Bright flavors of concord jelly, cherry, and strawberry. Pairs well with pizza, prime rib and holiday stuffing.
You’ll love it because: It’s a fun, festive wine perfect for the Holidays.
17. 2019 BR Mountain Road Riesling ($21.99) – Riesling is the perfect Holiday drinking wine. Its acidity cuts through the rich flavors of foods such as sweet potatoes, turkey and even Apple Pie! Our Braganini reserve wines come from select vineyards and this Riesling comes from our famed Mountain Road Estate vineyard in Coloma owned by John and Sarah Braganini (who are also owners of St. Julian Winery). The Mountain Road Riesling is our most awarded Dry White Wine. (Due to limited quantities it is only available through our retail locations and our website.)
18. Sweet Nancie ($12.99) – Beautiful slivery straw color with a bubbly mousse are inviting at first glance. Exotic aromas of mango, melon and pear leap from the glass. Crisp acidity and a perfect touch of sweetness create the impeccable framework on which flavors of mouthwatering peach, pineapple, and lemon zest dance on the palate. The long, satisfying finish begs another sip. The racy structure is absolutely delicious, food-friendly and fun! Sweet Nancie is named after our winemaker Nancie Oxley. Nancie is the first female winemaker in Michigan and her wines have won many awards.
You’ll love it because: The Sweet Nancie wine is a nice light and semi-sweet sparkling wine made from Traminette grapes.
MAWBY Sparkling Wine
4519 S Elm Valley, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
Hours: Mawby will be closed for inside service during the current restrictions through Dec. 8, but will have outside seating for self service, glass pours only. These seats are weather dependent. Dress appropriately. Adjusted hours are 12 noon-5 p.m. Thursday- Monday, for curbside pick up, retail sales and of course, online orders.
*Selections by Claire Lepine, marketing manager. Wines are all available in the tasting room, online and specialty wine shops.
19. Redd ($17) – A blend of 5 red wine varietals, this semi dry, sparkling red wine is juicy and bright. (Think of) popcorn by the fire, present wrapping and warming up after a brisk winter walk.
You’ll love it because: This unexpected red wine is beautiful in glass and finds the perfect balance between sweet and dry. A festive drink during a festive season.
20. Blanc ($25) – 80% Chardonnay, 20% Riesling, all grown on the Leelanau Peninsula. This bottle fermented beauty has flavors of citron, brioche and delicate fruit. Pairs perfectly with seafood: Oysters, king crab legs and scallops. Or latkes with creme fraiche and caviar.
You’ll love it because: A classic Blanc de Blanc with an unexpected fruity component from the Riesling, this wine is comfort in a glass. It received a Silver at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine world Championships in 2019.
21. Talis ($39) – Tasting notes: mature, complex and lightly oaked, this Brut has notes of baked pear, yeast and fresh bread. The perfect charcuterie board: crusty baguettes, creamy cheese, marcona almonds rich salami.
You’ll love it because: Pull out all the stops this year and bid farewell to 2020 in style. Whether you are in sequins or PJs treat yourself to Talis, our estate grown, bottle fermented sparkling wine. We’ve used a Solera blending system since 1994, meaning every bottle has a little bit of every other bottle going back over 25 years. Toast to history and better days to come. This wine was named a Best American Sparkling Wine by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Chateau Grand Traverse
12239 Center Road, Traverse City, MI 49686
Hours: Closed to the public through Dec. 8, but they are offering wine orders online for curbside pickup or shipping via UPS.
*Here is a link to CGT’s blog about pairing wines for Thanksgiving: https://cgtwines.com/5-easy-food-and-wine-pairing-tips/
22. 2018 Gamay Noir ($16) – Most great combinations come to life when the flavors complement each other. For example, if you’re serving an earthy, mushroom-based dish, pair it with an equally earthy wine, such as a Pinot Noir.
You’ll love it because: The light body of the 2018 Gamay Noir Limited will lay a pleasing framework throughout the meal. It slides in flavor-wise where the turkey, cranberries, and stuffing intersect.
23. 2018 Late Harvest Riesling ($14) – Wine should be equally as sweet (or sweeter) than the dish itself. Keep in mind sweetness when planning dessert… choose a port or late harvest wine to really balance the flavors.
You’ll love it because: The 2018 Late Harvest Riesling should stand up to the rich textures of pumpkin pie and the sticky caramel on apple pie.
24. 2019 Pinot Noir Rose Vin Gris ($16) – That celebratory feeling of New Year’s Eve is alive and well in our 2019 Pinot Noir Rosé Vin Gris. It offers the perfect balance of acidity, berry flavors and subtle earthiness in a gorgeously hued wine.
You’ll love it because: Made from 100% Pinot Noir in a vin gris style, this wine is perfectly balanced. Pour a little pink to celebrate the arrival of 2021!
Shady Lane Cellars
9580 E Shady Lane, Suttons Bay, MI 49686
Offseason Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Monday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
*Selections made by general manager Rick DeBlasio of Shady Lane Cellars. All wines are available online, in the tasting room and where you buy Shady Lane Cellars wines.
25. 2017 Franc ‘n’ Franc ($24) – A uniquely Shady Lane Cellars and Leelanau Peninsula blend of Cabernet Franc and Blaufrankisch, this dry red brings notes of cherry and cedar spice with a smooth finish. A versatile food wine it pairs well with all sorts of traditional holiday fair from roast turkey and ham, to wild game such as pheasant or wild boar.
You’ll love it because: It won’t disappoint!
26. 2019 Pinot Gris ($16) – This bright and refreshingly dry red carries ripe notes of granny smith apples and soft citrus fruit on the finish. With round edges and a supple mouth feel, the 2019 Pinot Gris is a sure crowd pleaser. It pairs well with cheese, seafood hors d’oeurves such as mini crab cakes or lump crab stacks.
You’ll love it because: It’s versatile for a variety of palate preferences and a wonderful start to the evening.
New Year’s Eve pick: Tasting notes, cost of wine, what it pairs well with, why you’ll love it!
27. BRIO Bubble Vibes – A brand new release in 2020, this fun, bright and bubbly wine comes in the perfect package. It’s ready to go anywhere and celebrate! Offered in a 375ml can, which is exactly 1/2 bottle of wine. Cost is $7 per can or $26 for a 4-pack.
You’ll love it because: This crisp and refreshing wine boasts a playful and fun spirit perfect to ring in the new year.
Fenn Valley Vineyards, Inc.
6130 122nd Avenue, Fennville, MI 49408
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week
*Selections made by Brian Lesperance, vice president of Fenn Valley Vineyards. All wines are available online and in the tasting rooms in Fennville and Saugatuck.
28. Meritage ($24) – Meritage, the name (merit+heritage), was coined by a small group of American winemakers to identify premium handcrafted wines blended from the traditional noble Bordeaux grape varietals. From this, the Meritage Association was formed in 1988. In January as the winemaker was preparing red blends for the coming year, it was soon noted that a blend of these three varieties was superior to any of the wines by themselves. As a cooler climate Bordeaux style, it is a very versatile red wine. It has medium body, tannins and restrained oak. Therefore there are both savory and fruity flavors to pair with. This is an excellent choice with red meat (prime rib, filet, etc.) or with any kind of red sauce. It is one of my favorites because of the complexity. From the aromatics to the lingering finish, each sip draws out a new dimension.
You’ll love it because: The Cabernet Franc contributes the black cherry fruit flavor, the Cabernet Sauvignon gives a black pepper quality, and the Merlot contributes a light earthy fruit character. As expected, no one variety stands out; they all work together to create a harmonious blend of flavors that complement each other.
29. Pinot Grigio ($14) – Pinot Grigio is a clean crisp dry white wine made in the classic Italian style. As an unoaked version of this classic grape, Pinot Grigio is very light with delicate minerality. It pairs excellent with shellfish, or more mild cheeses.
You’ll love it because: The delicate fruit characters derived solely from the ripe berries are enhanced allowing apple and peach flavors to become forward on the palate with no lingering aftertaste. (It is fermented in stainless steel.)
30. 42 Ice Wine ($22/375ml bottle) – This wine is dessert by itself. Ice Wine is a sweet and rich wine made from grapes left to naturally freeze on the vine. The frozen grapes were then gently pressed, yielding a concentrated juice from which the wine is made. The nose and the taste is that of ripe peaches, mango apricots, honey, raisins, and a hint of violets. This is the fun one for New Year’s! As a very rich, sweet wine it acts as a very delightful contrast to a savory cheese like Roquefort, or any blue cheese. Serve it alongside some nuts and stuffed figs for a dessert you will not forget!
You’ll love it because: While the finished wine is actually sweeter than the grape juice of a normal harvest, the sweetness is matched to a mouthful of fruit flavors that just won’t quit. (42 Ice Wine is also available at grocery stores and wine shops throughout Michigan.)
30 Michigan wines that pair perfectly for the holidays.
1. Arcturos Merlot ($22), Black Star Farms
2. Arcturos Dry Riesling ($14), Black Star Farms
3. 2017 Blanc de Blanc ($24), Black Star Farms
4. Naughty Red ($14), Chateau Chantal
5. Nice White ($14), Chateau Chantal
6. Celebrate! ($16), Chateau Chantal
7. Round Barn Merlot ($32.99), Round Barn Winery
8. Round Barn Salted Caramel Cream ($29.99), Round Barn Winery
9. Round Barn Farm Market Cranberry ($13.99), Round Barn Winery
10. 2018 Pinot Noir Reserve ($32), Brys Estate
11. 2018 Dry Riesling Reserve ($18), Brys Estate
12. 2019 Brys Bubbly ($40), Brys Estate
13. 2018 Pinot Noir ($29), 2 Lads Winery
14. 2019 Pinot Grigio ($17), 2 Lads Winery
15. Sparkling Pinot Grigio ($35), 2 Lads Winery
16. Holidaze ($14.99), St. Julian Winery
17. 2019 BR Mountain Road Riesling ($21.99), St. Julian Winery
18. Sweet Nancie ($12.99), St. Julian Winery
19. Redd ($17), MAWBY
20. Blanc ($25), MAWBY
21. Talis ($39), MAWBY
22. 2018 Gamay Noir ($16), Chateau Grand Traverse
23. 2018 Late Harvest Riesling ($14), Chateau Grand Traverse
24. 2019 Pinot Noir Rose Vin Gris ($16), Chateau Grand Traverse
25. 2017 Franc ‘n’ Franc ($24), Shady Lane Cellars
26. 2019 Pinot Gris ($16), Shady Lane Cellars
27. BRIO Bubble Vibes ($7 per can, $26 for 4-pack), Shady Lane Cellars
28. Meritage ($24), Fenn Valley Winery
29. Pinot Grigio ($14), Fenn Valley Winery
30. 42 Ice Wine ($22/375ml bottle), Fenn Valley Winery
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