The recently welcomed fresh air of autumn got us thinking about our visit to Shady Lane Cellars last fall. Located on Suttons Bay, Michigan, which lies within the Leelanau Peninsula AVA, Shady Lane prides themselves on doing things handcrafted from the ground up.
During our visit we were fortunate to enjoy one of the most diverse tastings that we have experienced from one single estate. With so many varietals in their lineup, it was impressive to see the consistency in quality they have managed to achieve in their wines. Mostly all estate grown, these wines are the creation of vineyard manager Andy Fles and winemaker Kasey Wierzba. Together they have found a way to grow and craft structured and elegant wines that proudly represent the terroir of the Leelanau Peninsula.
While touring the property, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Wierzba, who has been with the winery since 2013 and is a native of the area. During our conversation we could sense the pride she has in making world class wines from her home state’s soil. Prior to joining Shady Lane she spent 7 years in Napa working for Far Niente, Rudd and Frog’s Leap.
Our tasting and tour were by general manager Rick DeBlasio. He greeted us on a cold day, but his good energy quickly made us forget about the weather. The diverse tasting included Blaufränkisch, Grüner Veltliner and Orange wines, but it was the Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris and Sparkling Riesling that really swayed us. We loved the originality and crispness of the sparkling and the fruit and balance of the Pinot Gris. As far as their Cabernet Franc goes, we must say WOW! We found it to be a perfect example of why Michigan wines from the Leelanau Peninsula need to be taken seriously. It was elegant and complex with some nice cherry notes in the palate and a beautiful smooth finish.
If you are in the Leelanau Peninsula make sure to stop by Shady Lane Cellars to enjoy their awesome patio and delicious wines.