All About Chardonnay: Your Essential Guide

Chardonnay wine is synonymous with “white wine.” Go to any wine bar, and when someone orders a glass of “white,” they usually mean Chardonnay. It’s a wine that ranges in style from lean and sparkling to rich and creamy – making it versatile in flavors approved by any palate. 

So let’s pour a glass and learn more about Chardonnay.

Chardonnay Wine’s Origin & History

The Chardonnay grape originates from a cross between the Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc grapes. And it’s the most widely grown white grape varietal in the world. 

The history of Chardonnay goes back to the Middle Ages. It first originated in a small village in the Burgundy region of France called (surprise!) “Chardonnay.” The original meaning of Chardonnay was “place of thistles” or “thistle-covered place.” French Catholic monks began spreading the grape and wine beyond the Burgundy region, where its popularity grew into the world’s best white wine.

But big business almost toppled that popularity in the 1980s. For a period, Chardonnay was considered a wine only drunk by “ignorant” wine drinkers. Much of the Chardonnay wine produced during that period was overly sugary, having lost the buttery, creamy flavor to mass-production.

Wineries saved Chardonnay by experimenting with the white grape to produce flavorful Chardonnays again – making it the most popular white wine once more.

Chardonnay Wine’s Characteristics

Chardonnay is a well-loved white wine with a wide range of flavors and aromas – but this all depends on the climate it’s grown in and whether it’s oaked or unoaked. The beauty of Chardonnay is it can express the flavors of the land and showcase the winemaker’s style. So it can be crisp and refreshing to velvety and rich.

When drinking a glass of Chardonnay wine, you’ll find a dry, medium- body wine with no to low tannins and medium acidity. 

Color: A Chardonnay’s color ranges from pale (unoaked) to deep gold (oaked).

Flavors: A Chardonnay’s flavors depend both on climate and whether it is oaked. The standard flavors are apple, peach, pear, melon, starfruit, and pineapple.

Oaked Chardonnay will have additional flavors of vanilla, baking spices, or butter along with tropical fruits (think pineapples and mangos) to green apples and citrus. The taste will be rich, full-bodied, and smooth.

Unoaked Chardonnay ranges in flavor from citrus and green apple to overripe peach and canned pineapple. It’s lively (like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc) but without the “green” flavors. The taste will be more minerally and dryer than an oaked Chardonnay. 

Aroma: Green apple is the characteristic aroma of Chardonnay wine, but other aromas depend on the growing climate of the grapes. Cooler climates tend to produce aromas of citrus, pear, and tropical fruits. While warmer climates also have tropical fruits but may contain scents of spice or caramel. 

If you’re drinking an oaked Chardonnay, you’ll also detect notes of vanilla, honey, and butter.

Aging: Most unoaked Chardonnays are meant to be drunk young, but there are several that can be aged. For oaked Chardonnay, it can be aged 5-10 years.

Chardonnay Wine Food Pairings

When serving Chardonnay, there’s no need to decant before serving. Just make sure the bottle is at 45-55° (this is a little below room temperature).

When it comes to food pairings for Chardonnay, there are a lot of choices depending on if you’re drinking a bottle of oaked or unoaked wine. Chardonnay wine is versatile handling lighter dishes like fish and lobster to heartier dishes like macaroni & cheese! But overall, keep the spice flavor low and instead accentuate the Chardonnay with creamy, buttery flavors and textures.

An oaked Chardonnay calls for bolder food pairings like crab cakes, linguine & clams, halibut, and pork tenderloin with apples. For a vegetarian option, pick rich or starchy vegetables like corn, pumpkin, squash, or mushrooms.

Overall, oaked Chardonnay pairs well with intense dishes like smoked fish or guacamole. But you can also go simple (think seared scallops) to let the flavors of the wine shine.

Unoaked Chardonnay is a leaner white and has a crisp, delicate, mineral flavor, which calls for pairing with crisp, delicate foods. So think raw seafood (like oysters or sushi), sauteed fish, chicken piccata, or veggie risotto

If you’d like more help with wine and food pairing, check out our guides for winter wines, fall wines, and summer wines. We also have a great Food and Wine Pairing Rules 101 to help deepen your understanding of wine and food!

Grab a bottle (or 2!) of Rove Estate’s Chardonnay!

At Rove Estate, we bottle both oaked and unoaked Chardonnay – and they’re absolutely delicious!

Our 2021 Reserve Oaked Chardonnay is tropical and creamy, tasting of starfruit and pineapple with a touch of hazelnut. 

The 2021 Chardonnay is aged in stainless steel giving off clean, fresh aromas of white peach, honeydew melon, and elderflower. The palate is silky and generous with notes of pineapple, golden delicious apples, and lemon yogurt. The fruit flavors and refreshing acidity make for an elegant, well-balanced wine.

If you’re a Rove Nation Wine Club member, you have access to our 2018 Reserve Oaked Chardonnay. This wine has aromas of fresh apples, lemon, and warm vanilla spice. The palate expresses flavors of honeydew melon, ripe yellow apple, and finishes with a touch of hazelnut.

Want to learn about more wine? Check out our other essential wine guides on Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Rosé. Slainte!

All About Cider: Your Essential Guide

Nothing says fall like carving pumpkins, leaves changing colors, and a glass of cider. As you pull out your fall boots and wool scarves, a warm cup of hot cider in your hands can be just what you need to take the chill off.

So as you prepare for a season of corn mazes, apple cider donuts, and leaf peeping, let’s dive into all things cider.

Cider’s Origin & History

The first recorded reference to cider was when Julius Caesar first attempted to invade Britain in 55 BCE. Though his campaign was unsuccessful (this time), he brought back the fermented drink of apple cider and spread its knowledge throughout the European continent. To make this new drink, the ancient Romans reworked olive presses into apple presses – making it the first of its kind.

Cider’s popularity grew and followed European immigrants to America. Often drinking cider was a lot safer to drink than water, so both the pilgrims and Founding Fathers made it a drink of choice. And since grain and wheat crops were struggling and apple orchards were thriving, making cider was a lot easier (and less expensive) than beer during this time. Cider stayed popular in America until the 1800s.

But cider is still a popular drink in Europe. Just don’t call it “hard” cider while you’re there. Hard cider is something Americans say when distinguishing between alcoholic and non-alcoholic cider – for Europeans, it’s just cider.

Cider’s Characteristics

Cider is originally made from apples – from crabapples to special heritage apples. But you can now find ciders made from pears, pumpkins, honey, and cherries (to name a few)! What’s most important in a cider is the fruit – the fruit in cider matters just like the grapes in wine. So if you want a tasty, flavorful cider, find one made with good fruit.

The beauty of cider is that it has a range of flavors and aromas like wine – it will have its own unique flavor notes and characteristics since the fruit harvested will take on the characteristics of the land it’s grown on (like you find with wine grapes). Depending on the type of cider, it can be high or low in acidity, contain high or low tannins, and range from dry to sweet. And you can enjoy cider either sparkling or still, alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

Color: Depending on the fruit used, cider can range in color from pale yellow to medium yellow, light gold to deep gold, amber, or even red.
Flavors: The fruit of the cider will inform the flavors, but the flavor can be fresh, crisp, and tangy to earthy and bold or sweet and light.
Aroma: The aroma will be fruit-forward and take on the notes of the fruit used in the cider.

Cider Food Pairings

Cider is a versatile drink pairing well with a variety of foods. With your next glass of cider, try it with chicken, pork, salad, seafood, or pizza. If you’re having cider with your entrée, opt for a drier cider and keep the sweet cider as an apéritif or with dessert.

Try Rove Estate’s Hot Harvest Cider Recipe!

Our hot mulled cider is delicious and a fan favorite at the farm. But if you can’t make it out to the farm, try our hot cider recipe at home! Our exclusive recipe uses apple cider and Rove Estate Cherry Cider. Our cherry cider is dry but fruit-forward and the perfect combination of sweet and tart.

HOT HARVEST CIDER:

Ingredients:

  • 1 howler of Rove Estate Cherry Cider or other dry cherry cider
  • 1 quart of apple cider
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Warming spices (we use clove, nutmeg, & cinnamon)
  • A splash of red wine (we like our Merlot, but any fruit-forward dry red will work)

Directions:

  • Add Rove Estate Cherry Cider and apple cider in a crockpot with cinnamon sticks.
  • Put about a teaspoon of each warming spice in a coffee filter (tied shut with a rubber band or string) and add to the cider mixture.
  • Heat mixture on high until hot (typically 45 minutes).
  • Serve hot in a coffee mug with 2 oz of red wine poured on top.
  • Pro Tip: Add a shot of your favorite bourbon or whiskey (our favorite is Traverse City Whiskey).

And when you take a sip of your mulled cider, know we’re clinking glasses with you from Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan. Sláinte!

If you’d like to learn about our wines, check out our essential wine guides on Riesling, Rosé, and Pinot Noir. We also have a delicious Fall Wine and Food Pairing Guide to help plan your next fall gathering.

Your Fall Wine and Food Pairing Guide

As summer moves into fall, temperatures dip, the fireplace sparks to life, and oven-roasted chicken finds its way back onto the dinner menu. And it also marks the beginning of when wine drinkers move away from lighter summer wines to the reds of winter. But the beauty of fall is it bridges the gap between the transition from whites to reds. So let’s dive into some of the best fall wines!

Fall Wine #1: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc originated from south France with its name meaning “wild white.” And it’s the perfect dry white to sip during the cooler days of fall with its high acidity and medium-light body.

Sauvignon Blanc carries tastes of gooseberry, honeydew, white peach, and passion fruit – embodying a mix of late summer and early fall fruits. When choosing a Sauvignon Blanc to sip at your next leaf color-changing party, look for a wine that’s aged with a bit of oak. This will give it a fuller body.

Sauvignon Blanc food pairing pasta dish

Stunning Sauvignon Blanc Fall Food Pairings

Sauvignon Blanc pairs best with lighter meats and herb-driven dishes. Think of herbed sauces like pesto poured over pasta, chicken, tofu, or fish. Sauvignon Blanc also pairs great with turkey, a traditional fall protein. You can also pair this white fall wine with oysters, crab, and calamari. If you want something more vegetable-forward, try a cucumber dill salad, fried zucchini, artichoke, or eggplant.

It’s best to avoid fatty, protein-rich foods when thinking of food pairings for your bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Check out Rove Estate’s 2021 Sauvignon Blanc for your next wine & food pairing.

You’ll find bright aromas of pineapple, guava, lemon verbena, and fresh green peppers. The texture is creamy with concentrated flavors of passionfruit, grapefruit, and lemon verbena. Our Sauvignon Blanc wine delivers concentrated flavors from start to finish.

Fall Wine #2: Gewürztraminer

Pronouncing Gewürztraminer may be a mouthful (“gev-OORTZ-tra-meener”) but this wine doesn’t disappoint when in your glass. The most famous sources for the Gewürztraminer grape come from Germany and the Alsace region of France – making this white wine’s cooler origin perfect for fall.

Gewürztraminer can range from dry to semi-dry and sweet with a medium to full body and low acidity. Gewürztraminer offers a combination of flavors from lychee, grapefruit, and pineapple, to rose, stone fruits, and ginger. You’ll detect aromas of rose, honey, ginger, and lemongrass.

Glorious Gewürztraminer Fall Food Pairings

Gewürztraminer pairs well with spicy and exotic dishes, like Indian food or Singapore noodles. It also pairs great with different fowls from chicken and duck to turkey – making Gewürztraminer a great addition to any Thanksgiving meal. If you want a more vegetarian pairing, try any naturally sweet vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or squash.

Check out Rove Estate’s 2021 Gewürztraminer for your next wine & food pairing.

Our Gewürztraminer wine has classic notes of lychee, grilled pineapple, and delicate rose petals, followed by flavors of apricot, mango, and a hint of ginger. The texture of this wine is soft and silky with concentrated fruit notes.

Fall Wine #3: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the world’s most famous light-bodied red wine. Red wine drinkers love it for its long, smooth finish and aromas of red fruit, flower, and spice – making Pinot Noir the perfect red wine to move you from the light summer Rosé and get you ready for the fuller-bodied red wines of winter.

Though this wine is typically light-bodied, it can also become more complex with aging. Pinot Noir is typically dry with low tannins and medium-high acidity. You’ll discover flavors of cherry, raspberry, mushroom, clove, and hibiscus.

If you pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir from France, you’ll notice it won’t say Pinot Noir on the label. When grown in France, all Pinot Noirs are labeled by the region they come from (like Burgundy). 

Pleasing Pinot Noir Fall Food Pairings

Pinot Noir can be enjoyed with almost any food, making it the perfect food pairing wine partner. Pair your next bottle of Pinot Noir with duck, chicken, salmon, stews, or tomato-based sauces. For a vegetable dish, try it with mushrooms or other earthy vegetables (like root vegetables). And it can pair nicely with bright red to black fruits for dessert.

And remember to decant your Pinot Noir 30 minutes before enjoying that first sip!

Check out Rove Estate’s newly released 2021 Pinot Noir for your next wine & food pairing.

Our Pinot Noir has a long, lingering finish and balanced aromas of Michigan Cherries, baked cranberry, cocoa, and clove.

As summer turns to fall, we hope you’ve found food and wine inspiration to enjoy on those first crisp autumn days and nights.

We’ll be clicking glasses with you from Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan!

Want to learn more about food and wine pairings? Dig into our Food and Wine Pairing 101, and to get you ready for winter, check out our Winter Wine and Food Pairing Guide.

All About Pinot Noir: Your Essential Guide

Pinot Noir wine is the world’s most popular light-bodied red wine – and for good reason. Between its versatility as a grape and its ability to pair with a wide range of foods, Pinot Noir is the perfect complement to a casual dinner evening, a moment of celebration, or sipping on your deck as you commemorate National Pinot Noir Day on August 18th.

So let’s decant a bottle and learn all about Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir Wine’s Origin & History

Pinot Noir comes from one of the oldest wine grapes in the world, dating even further back than Cabernet Sauvignon. The ancient Romans regularly enjoyed drinking it. And one such Roman first recorded it growing in Burgundy, France, in 1 B.C.E. marking that area as Pinot Noir’s place of origin.

Though the most coveted Pinot Noir grapes grow in France, great Pinot Noir wine comes from the USA, Germany, Moldova, and Italy. These regions boost remarkable Pinot Noir grapes because they all have the type of climate this grape loves: long cool seasons in a protected valley or near a body of water.

Our grape grower (aka, viticulturist) often refers to Pinot Noir grapes as the “ballerina of red wines” because of its delicate nature and challenge to grow. The grapes like to grow close together, which reduces airflow and encourages fungi growth. At Rove Estate, we use diligent wine cultivation practices that are critical for a successful Pinot Noir harvest. And it also helps that our location is 1,165 feet above sea level – ideal for the right amount of air flow to dry off the clusters.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Pinot Noir grape is it shares the same DNA with two white wine grapes: Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc! (And fun fact, Rove Estate grows all 3 Pinot varietals!)

The similarities of the 3 wine grapes can also be seen in how they grow. In French, Pinot is a synonym for “pine cone,” and all 3 Pinot varietal grape clusters hang tight together looking like pine cones. Perhaps this shared DNA is what makes Pinot Noir such a versatile grape, often finding it made into a red, rosé, white, or sparkling wine.

Pinot Noir Wine’s Characteristics

Pinot Noir is a beloved wine of red wine drinkers seeking a lighter touch than Merlot. When you sip a glass of Pinot Noir, you’ll discover a smooth, silky, dry wine with low tannins, medium-high acidity, and a light body.

Color: A Pinot Noir has a light ruby red color.

Flavors: Pinot Noir presents bright red fruit characteristics like cherry and raspberry, as well as tastes of mushroom, clove, and hibiscus.

Aroma: Pinot Noir wine gives off notes of berries, spice, florals, and earth.

Northern Michigan Pinot Noir is known for bright red fruits, such as red cherry, cranberry, and other ripe berries. On Rove Estate where we plant Pinot Noir, the soil has a long history of cherry orchards, which is one of the reasons that note is so prominent in our red wines.

Aging: Pinot Noir wine ages well and can stay in your wine cellar for 10+ years.

Pinot Noir Wine Food Pairings

One aspect of Pinot Noir that some find surprising is that it’s recommended it be served slightly chilled at 55-60° – so just below room temperature. This is because of its delicate, acidic, and low tannin profile. 

You can decant your bottle of Pinot Noir before serving if you like, but it doesn’t need more than 30 minutes. But decanting is a preference and not a requirement since Pinot Noir wine is ready to be served out of the bottle.

When thinking about food pairings for Pinot Noir, you’ll be happy because its high acidity and low tannins makes it a superb choice for a range of foods! It’s light enough for grilled fish but complex enough for roasted meats or stews. 

If you want something meat forward, Pinot Noir wine pairs well with duck, chicken, pork, or salmon. But with its earthy notes and mushroom flavor, Pinot Noir also pairs nicely with vegetarian dishes like mushrooms, tomato-based sauces, earthy vegetables, or bright red to black fruits.

There isn’t much you need to avoid when pairing dishes with a bottle of Pinot Noir, but try avoiding extremely spicy or fatty dishes that will overwhelm its delicate flavors.

If you’d like more help with wine and food pairs, check out our food pairing guide for winter wines and summer wines. We also have a great Food and Wine Pairing Rules 101 to help increase your knowledge about all things wine and food!

Get ready for Rove Estate’s 2021 Pinot Noir!

At Rove Estate, we’re busy bottling our exclusive 2021 Pinot Noir. Our Pinot Noir boosts aromas of cocoa and Michigan cherries followed by a delicate balance of baked cranberry, bright red fruit, and hint of clove on the palate, transitioning into a soft lingering finish. 

Sign up for our newsletter below so you know all about the release of our 2021 Pinot Noir!

If you’re a Rove Nation Wine Club member, email us at wineclub@roveestate.com to reserve a bottle today.

Want to learn about more different wines? Check out our other essential wine guides on Riesling and Rosé!

All About Rosé Wine: Your Essential Guide

If you closed your eyes and imagined the best summer wine, we bet Rosé is what comes to mind. Rosé wine has become the quintessential summer wine to sip with its delicate, refreshing flavors. It’s perfect for a summer party, sipping at the poolside, or eating alfresco. 

So let’s dive into all things Rosé wine!

Rosé Wine’s Origin & History

Produced for centuries, Rosé wine draws on connections back to the ancient Greeks. And thanks to the Phoenicians and Romans, Southern France became the epicenter of Rosé wine. The Phoenicians brought the Greek grapes to Southern France where the popularity of the light pink wines grew. When the Romans arrived, they used their considerable trade routes to make Rosé wine popular throughout the Mediterranean.

So what is a Rosé wine exactly? 

First, there is no specific Rosé grape. Rosé wines are made from several types of grapes or a single varietal. There are some grapes grown and harvested specifically for Rosé. They harvest the grapes early in the grapevine’s life, which helps maintain the Rosé’s acidity and fresh fruit flavors.

And Rosé wine is not created by mixing red and white wines. Though such blends exist, Rosé wine is a category itself. 

Grape skins are what give the color to Rosé. This is achieved through a variety of maceration methods, but mostly, it has to do with the time the grape skin comes into contact with the wine. Red wines come into contact with the grape skins for a long period, while most white wines have no contact with the grape skins. Rosé is in the middle. The longer the grape skin remains with the wine during maceration, the deeper pink the Rosé will get. 

At Rove Estate, our signature Rosé blends have about 4 hours of skin contact to create that beautiful light pink or salmon color. We do not manipulate the color, so that pretty pink is 100% authentic! 

We also choose specific vineyards for our Rosé wines, and it completely depends on the season. In a year that we can make high quality red wines, we will. But because we are a farm-first winery at Rove Estate, we make a Rosé wine in years that might be a little cooler. Sometimes our Rosé is a blend of red grape varietals (Cabernet Franc and Merlot), or some years we will do a single varietal wine (like Pinot Noir). These are all stylistic preferences that are decided in the cellar!

Rosé Wine’s Characteristics

The beauty of Rosé wine is its wide variety of flavors and tastes that can please any palate. Rosé wine comes in so many varieties that it’s a great year-round wine that can brighten up a winter night or cool down a summer’s day.

Rosé wine can be still, sparkling, or part of a blend. It’s usually fresh, fruity, and acidic and ranges from very dry to extremely sweet (like a Zinfandel).

The Rosé will taste different based on the type of grapes used, so it’s important to read the label to understand the flavor profile of the wine. 

Color: Rosé wines come in a spectrum of pink, from pale blush and vivid pink, to dark pink.

Flavors: Depending on the type of Rosé, the flavors can range from strawberry to citrus zest and rhubarb.

At Rove Estate, because of our soil type and the fact that we grew cherries on our farm for decades before transitioning to vineyards, our Rose gets a lot of red fruit flavors – red cherry, dark cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, cranberry, and raspberry.

For other labels, typically light Rosés have strawberry, mint, and grapefruit flavors. Light-medium Rosés have cherry, rose petal, and herbal flavors. Medium-full Rosés have hints of raspberry, hibiscus, and white pepper. Whereas full rich Rosé wines have flavors of berry jam, bell peppers, and black pepper.

Aromas: Because of the ranges of Rosé varieties, the aroma profile can be different as well. You’ll find scents of strawberry, watermelon, and floral (think roses, violets, and jasmine).

Aging: Rosé wines are not aged since they’re produced for ultimate freshness. But it’s recommended to not store a bottle of Rosé over 2 years.

Rosé Wine Food Pairings

Depending on the type of Rosé wine you choose will determine the best food pairing.

Light Rosé wines pair well with salads, pasta, rice dishes, burgers, grilled fish, and seafood. Light-medium Rosé wines pair with grilled meats like lamb and pork and shellfish. Medium-full Rosés pair nicely with grilled chicken, pork, vegetables, and salads. Full rich Rosé wines are a great pair with BBQ, grilled ribeye, and pizza. 

If you need more ideas for food pairings with your bottle of Rosé, check out our Summer Wine and Food Pairing Guide. And if you’d like to dig deeper into wine and food pairings, read our Food and Wine Pairing Rules 101 guide. 

When serving your Rosé, serve it somewhere between 40-50°. So put your bottle in the fridge or an ice bucket several hours before serving. Though Rosé wines are made from red wine grapes, it’s not necessary to decant before serving – so this is up to preference!

Get ready to “Rosé all night” with Rove Estate’s 2020 Ragaire Rosé.

People like to say, “Rosé all day,” but at Rove Estate, we say, “Rosé all night!” Why? Because our 2020 Ragaire Rosé will make you want to do just that! 

Ragaire is a Galic word meaning “someone who enjoys wandering all night.” And a bottle of Rove Estate Ragaire Rosé is the perfect companion for long talks in the night swinging on a porch swing or with a bonfire crackling in the background. 

The Rove Estate Ragaire Rosé has aromas of white cherry, lemon, and delicate sweet pea flowers. The acidity zings from start to finish with vibrant flavors of peach, strawberry, cassis, and watermelon. You’ll love every sip!

All About Riesling Wine: Your Essential Guide

The Riesling grape is a versatile grape grown in various parts of the world. It produces a white wine that ranges from sweet to dry. 

So whether you’re celebrating National Riesling Day on March 13th or toasting a night with friends, Riesling wine is an ideal pairing for any event.

Read on to learn about Riesling’s history, characteristics, and perfect food pairings.

Riesling Wine’s Origin & History

Riesling wine has a long history dating back to the Middle Ages. Originally grown in the Rhine region of western Germany, the first mention of Riesling was in the cellar of a German noble during the 15th century.

There wasn’t much knowledge about the origin of the Riesling grape until scientists conducted DNA tests. They found that the Riesling grape is a cross between Gouais blanc – a rare grape dating back hundreds of years – and a half-wild, half Savagnin grape (the future parent of the Sauvignon Blanc).

Though created in Germany – and still the most common grape grown there – the Riesling grape is now grown from California to New York to France, Australia, and New Zealand. Depending on its origin, a different flavor profile comes through the wine. Cooler regions tend to produce a drier Riesling wine, while warmer regions produce a sweeter Riesling.

Riesling Wine’s Characteristics

Whether it’s your first time trying a Riesling or you’re a lover of its sweet side, it’s never a bad time to learn about the bottle of wine you’re about to open. 

And if you like Muscat Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, or Pinot Blanc, a Riesling is the perfect next wine for you.

Riesling is a white wine that has a light body, no tannins, and is high in acidity (sort of like lemonade). And the beauty of a Riesling is it can be sweet, semi-sweet, dry, or even sparkling

Color: A Riesling can range in color from pale straw to deep yellow.

Flavors: Riesling wines come in an orchard of flavors from apple, apricot, peach, and pear to pineapple, lime, and Meyer lemon. 

Aromas: Riesling wines are aromatic, giving off scents of fruit and florals. Some of the most common scents are honeycomb, jasmine, lime peel, and citrus blossom.

Aging: Rieslings are usually unaged and drunk at their freshest state to keep their fruity flavors prominent. 

But, because of the Riesling’s high acidity, you can drink older vintages with no problem. Its sweetness will also allow the wine to age beautifully. Bottle aging a Riesling wine will create the classic petrol smell Riesling lovers live for!

Riesling Wine Food Pairings

First, serve your Riesling cold – think fridge cold, around 45°. And here’s a tip: the lighter the wine color, the colder it should be to maintain its freshness and acidity.

For food pairings, think SPICY. If you love Thai or Indian foods, Riesling wine can handle the flavor challenges of those more spicy recipes. Pair with a semi-sweet or sweet Riesling – you’ll find it helps balance the whole dish!

But its food pairings don’t stop there. Rieslings pair well with chicken, pork (especially the drier types), shrimp, crab, and whitefish. If you like veggie-forward dishes, Riesling pairs well with roasted veggies and vegetables with natural sweetness: carrots, bell peppers, coconut, and squash.

If you need more ideas for food pairings with your bottle of Riesling, check out our Winter Wine and Food Pairing Guide

And if you’d like to dig deeper into wine and food pairings and grow your wine knowledge, read our Food and Wine Pairing Rules 101 guide. 

At Rove Estate, we offer both a dry and sweet Riesling. Have a bottle or 2 on hand for your next wine tasting party with your family and friends!

Your Winter Wine and Food Pairing Guide

Winter means bundling up to play in the snow and then sitting by a fire sipping a glass of great wine staring out at a snowy landscape. Finding the perfect winter wine to elevate your cold evening can make it an even more enchanting experience. But when pairing wine with the perfect dish, it can be the “cherry on top” for your winter night. 

To help you create this experience, we’ve put together a list of the best wines to drink in winter along with several food pairings. What’s great about winter wines is they go so well with the comfort dishes you love.

Read on to find out more about winter wines and what to eat with them.

Winter Wine #1: Cabernet Franc

It’s no surprise that red wines are great winter wines. The tannins in red wines have warming properties that can help push away those winter chills. 

And a Cabernet Franc is the perfect medium-bodied red wine to handle winter comfort foods with its dark fruit flavors and high acidity. Drinking a glass of Cabernet Franc on a winter night is like slipping into your favorite sweater. 

Captivating Cabernet Franc Winter Food Pairings

Cabernet Franc pairs well with roasted pork, beef stew, spaghetti and meatballs in a red sauce, turkey with cranberries, and roasted red peppers or eggplant.

Check out our 2018 Trí red blend for your wine & food pairing.

It is a red blend with 56% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, and 4% Pinot Noir. You’ll discover aromas of dark fruit, especially plum, and licorice with black cherry flavors and notes of allspice and clove. 

Winter Wine #2: Merlot

Merlot is one of the best-loved wines for winter – and it’s no big surprise. It’s the perfect wine to enjoy during a simple, relaxing evening playing card games with friends.

Merlot is a mellow wine that has a soft finish, easy tannins, and bursts with red fruits. But depending on the region for the Merlot, it can be more fruit-forward or medium to full-bodied. The more dominant the Merlot, the bolder the meal you should choose to complement its boisterous nature.

Magnificent Merlot Winter Food Pairings

Try pairing your next Merlot with pizza, penne pasta, barbeque, ratatouille, or braised meat. Be sure to avoid anything delicate or spicy since the flavors will clash.

Check out our 2018 Trí red blend for your wine & food pairing.

This red blend – which is predominantly Cabernet Franc and Merlot with a touch of Pinot Noir – will satisfy your Merlot needs.

Winter Wine #3: Chardonnay

Now hear us out – most don’t think of white wines in winter, but we think we can change your mind.

Take the Chardonnay. It can be crisp and fruity or full-bodied and complex. Many are finding it to be an ideal winter white wine since its richer tones pair well with soups or meat-based winter dishes. Sipping a Chardonnay alongside a classic winter soup will remind you of being away at your favorite weekend getaway spot.

And to fully experience a Chardonnay as a winter wine, before sipping, decant it and allow the wine to breathe a little to wake up and savor its full richness.

Charming Chardonnay Winter Food Pairings

Chardonnay pairs well with creamy pasta, corn chowder, or fish, chicken, or pork in a creamy sauce.

Check out our 2018 Reserve Oaked Chardonnay for your next wine & food pairing.

You’ll find aromas of fresh apples, lemon, and warm vanilla spice. The palate expresses flavors of honeydew melon, ripe yellow apple, and finishes with a touch of hazelnut.

Winter Wine #4: Riesling

Riesling comes from the cool climate of Germany, making it fit well as a winter wine –  and Germans know all about cold winter nights. Sipping a Riesling as you sit next to the fire may help you feel more like you’re away visiting Europe this winter.

Rieslings can range from dry to sweet, with notes for bright citrus and green apple. It traditionally has an even balance of sweetness and acidity, making Riesling a great pairing for most foods.

Ravishing Riesling Food Pairings

Try pairing the Riesling with winter comfort foods like sausage and mashed potatoes to spicy curries. Or better yet, because of its versatility, set it out at your next Thanksgiving dinner.

Check out our 2020 Select Harvest Riesling or 2020 Riesling for your next wine & food pairing

The 2020 Select Harvest Riesling is harmonious from start to finish with aromas of fresh nectarines, lemon curd, and lime introducing flavors of peach, juicy pear, and a kiss of candied ginger.

The 2020 Riesling is dry with aromas of yellow apple, lime, and pear blossom giving way to mouthwatering acidity balanced with sweet orange, white peach, and green apple.

We hope you enjoy winter a bit more with some great wine and food.

If you want to dig deeper into wine and food pairings, look at our Food and Wine Pairing 101.

The Perfect #NOMI Winter Wine Weekend

We know after the holiday season, many of us feel those January blues. We need a change of pace or scenery to give us something to look forward to. Well, lucky for you, we’ve designed the perfect antidote with a trip to beautiful northern Michigan wine country! The itinerary includes some of our Rove Recs with places you must try and fun things to do up here during a winter wine weekend. Truthfully though, there are SO MANY choices that we could probably write a blog series about all there is to see, taste, and sip here in beautiful Traverse City.

During the weekly commute to work or whatnot, the cold and snowy weather can be a bit of a drag. However, those of us who live in the Great White North choose to embrace this quiet, restorative, snowy wonderland. In fact, we highly recommend visiting the region in the winter or during the shoulder seasons. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a lowkey and more intentional visit. Many of the folks you meet at our local businesses have the time to talk and form a much more personable connection, sharing tips from locals or favorite spots. Eating, drinking, and visiting areas that us locals frequent will surely give you a much more meaningful experience.

Friday Evening

For high-energy vibes to kick off your wine weekend, we recommend… Mama’s Lu’s Taco Shop. They have fresh and delicious tacos for everyone and not to mention, some of the best guacamole in town. We’re pretty sure their street corn will go down in history, so make sure you try ‘em.

They carry local wine, beer, and cider, but if we are being honest, we are obsessed with their margaritas! Nothing says vacation like a margarita, and they have really fun options. Try the Champagne Margarita, which features a local winery’s sparkling wine! 

If you’re coming off a long week at work, you may just be feeling like a relaxing evening to unwind and rest up for an action-packed weekend. After all, it is a vacation. If this is your ideal Friday evening in Traverse City, we recommend picking up some pizza from a local favorite, Charles and Reid Detroit Style Pizza! We love the SOOOO-EEEYYY and the PEP IN YO’ STEP, but always keep an eye out for these pizza geniuses’ specials! They are incredible! Not to mention their owners, Dan and Kristen (and baby Jacqueline), are one of the coolest families in town! There is a lot of love going into those pizzas, and it shows.

Saturday AM

Although it may not be peak season for tourism in Nomi, there is still so much to do! 

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a great place to start any day! If you’re in the mood for brunch, we recommend Red Spire Brunch House or Sugar 2 Salt! If you’re just looking for a quick cup of joe, look no further than Higher Grounds Trading Co.

During the winter, the Commons hosts the Indoor Farmer’s Market from 10 AM-2 PM (on Saturdays) for delicious local produce, meat, jams, soaps, lotions, and so much more. Don’t forget to pick up a delicious pastry from 9 Bean Rows while you’re there. You won’t regret it!

The Commons is also a hub for beautiful boutique shops that are perfect for unique items, souvenirs, and local goods. Definitely take some time to do some shopping while you’re there!

Saturday Afternoon

Winter afternoons are the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors and your favorite local wine. You can kill two birds with one stone here at Rove Estate. We have snowshoe trails around the vineyard available all winter long. You can do loops around our snow-covered vines or take a hike through our path in the woods that leads to Rove Point, the highest point in Leelanau county.

After enjoying the fresh air, you can taste some of our estate-grown wines. Maybe even stick around for a glass or two of your favorites. If you hang around long enough, you will be able to catch the sunset! Sunsets at Rove are seriously some of the best around, and even better with a glass of wine in hand. We are known (year round) for incredible sunsets due to our panoramic views and very high altitude. Friday through Sunday, we offer our seasonal favorite—hot winter sangria in mugs—and have our solo fire pits pumping out heat. The perfect combination to warm up after a hike around the vineyard during your wine weekend. 

If you do not have your own snowshoes, there are plenty of places in the area to rent them! Check the Traverse City Tourism guide to snowshoeing here for recommendations!

Saturday Evening

If you have not made it to Farm Club yet, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to check it out! Farm Club is a farm, restaurant, brewery, bakery, and marketplace. In the winter, they bring out their Shepherd’s Tent, complete with a cozy wood burning stove where you can book a private four-course meal for $65 per person. This is a fantastic opportunity to taste true farm-to-table northern Michigan cuisine. They also have a fantastic menu of their own beers, local wine, cider, and non-alcoholic options!

If the Shepherd’s Tent is booked out, their constantly fresh and changing menu for indoor dining is a fantastic option.

Sunday 

If you’re looking for that little extra R&R before you head back home, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa offers incredible services of massage, facials, nail care, and access to their pools, hot tubs, saunas, and fitness centers. Begin your morning feeling rejuvenated!

For some fuel for your journey home, try Raduno, which features seasonal salads, sandwiches, baked goods, pasta, and more! The menu is constantly rotating as they carefully source all of their ingredients and produce from local Michigan farmers. We love the local love! 

Lake District Wine Co. is a neighbor to Raduno so you can stop in and pick up some wine for the journey home. Their extensive selection features international wines as well as many of our local wineries. These weekends are just too short to visit every single winery here in the Traverse Wine Coast, but this is a perfect one-stop shop to try another local winery and give you ideas on where to go for your next adventure in beautiful northern Michigan!

What is a Nice Bottle of Wine for a Gift? 11 Tips to Guide Your Holiday Wine Purchases

What is a nice bottle of wine for a gift? That depends largely on the person you’re buying for! Our guide leaves you with tasting notes and food pairings to help you buy the perfect wine for your loved one or work friend.

We constantly get asked questions about what wine to buy as a gift for someone. As the holidays are quickly approaching, we wanted to give you a guide for what wines to purchase for anyone, whether they are family, your best friend, or your work colleague. Whether you are bringing wine to turkey day or as a secret Santa gift, this guide is for you!

What is a Nice Bottle of Wine for a Gift?

What is a nice bottle of wine for a gift? Our wine gifting guide gives you 11 tips to follow

The Mother-in-Law: 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé

This dry style Rosé color is so gorgeous it will bring beauty to the table at any family gathering. It goes with everything from Thanksgiving turkey to cranberry sauce to the beautiful cocktail shrimp spread on Christmas Eve! They will thank you for knowing the exact wine to pair for their party (bonus points!).

‘That’ Wine Friend: 2020 Gewurztraminer

We all know them… and of course love them. But that one friend who geeks out about yeast strains, Pinot Noir clones, and aging in amphora will love the individuality of our Gewurztraminer. With its gorgeous tropical and floral notes that are so elegant and delicious, it will have them discussing the aromas all night long. Of course, they will get a kick out of actually knowing how to pronounce it too!

The Classy One: 2020 Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc is one of the most versatile wines, with a full flavor, balance, and truly timeless appeal. With a round texture and intriguing aromas, it complements most foods. Boasting classic aromas of pear, apple, and ripe lemon with a subtle touch of smoke, this is a wine that will never go out of style!

The Life of the Party: 2020 Brut Sparkling

With the ‘pop’ of the cork, our 2020 Brut Sparkling lets you know it has arrived, much like the life of the party! This wine is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Riesling, and flavors of green apple, lemon drop, and white peach create an exciting wine full of flavor. This wine makes an entrance and sparkles anywhere it goes!

 

The Optimist: 2020 Select Harvest Riesling

We all have that friend that is a literal ray of sunshine whenever they walk into the room. The Select Harvest Riesling also has that special effect, and with every sip, you find yourself smiling just a little bit more. With notes of peach and key lime pie that finish with just a hint of sweetness, it can seriously brighten anyone’s day! 

The Quirky Intellectual: 2018 Oaked Chardonnay

This classic wine is perfectly enjoyed by the fireplace, in your pajamas while reading a good book. The toasty and smoky notes are warm while the fruit flavors balance the wine. It is enjoyed at room temperature and is the perfect white wine for the cozier time of year. 

The Foodie: 2020 Dry Riesling

Dry Riesling is all the rage with its electric acidity, ability to age and intense aromas. It pairs well with the simplest dishes to fine dining delicacies (hello tuna tartare!). Your foodie friend will appreciate a wine to go with all the crazy things they cook up this holiday season!

The Boss: 2020 Unoaked Chardonnay

It is no secret that this wine is one of our best sellers at Rove Estate. With its tropical fruit bomb nose and delicious flavors everyone who tries this wine likes it. Your boss will be highly impressed with your fine taste in wine!

 

The Secret Santa Party: 2020 Pinot Grigio

What is a nice bottle of wine for a gift when you don’t know someone? Pinot Grigio is always a safe bet! Everyone knows and loves Pinot Grigio—it’s refreshing, delicious, and pairs well with food. It is a great wine to start a meal or drink on the patio all summer long. Whoever receives this wine will be pleasantly surprised and enjoy it no matter where or what they are doing!

The Health Guru: 2018 Trí 

This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. It has notes of cherries, plums and currants along with warm baking spices. The color from these red wines come from the skins which also contain antioxidants. Any health-conscious friend will appreciate the health benefits associated with those high levels of antioxidants!

 

The Wine Collector: The Holiday Trio!

Our holiday trio contains the Dry Riesling, Pinot Noir Rosé, and the 2018 Trí. Why give one bottle when you can give three?! Your friend with the gorgeous wine cellar will appreciate these bottles to age or drink over this holiday season. You save 20% on the wine when you purchase the trio—talk about a win/win!

Let Wine Connect You and Your Loved Ones

We hope you find this guide helpful and see our amazing estate-grown wines in a new light. The truth of the matter is wine is a fantastic gift! Anyone and everyone would be appreciative of your thoughtfulness in picking a fantastic locally grown wine for them to share with their loved ones. Wine connects people and this is the perfect time of year to slow down, enjoy one another’s company, and give the gift of true human connection.

Every Glass Holds a Story: The Life Cycle of Wine Vineyards

The year’s stormy weather, the type of grapes on the vine, the leathery hands of the workers that picked each one—these are the things that make up the story of every vintage. Just as every family has its story to tell, so does every glass of wine. Let us take you through the life cycle of wine vineyards.

When we say “every glass holds a story,” we mean it both literally and figuratively. We are farmers first, and we know that good wine is made in the vineyard. It is easy to forget, or to simplify all of the work and time that goes into each bottle of wine.

Sometimes we can forget ourselves as we get sucked into the seasonal grind of Mother Nature. Each week, month, and season is a critical building block that ultimately determines the beautiful and alluring nuances making each vintage unique in its own right. A true time capsule, perfectly summing up the season—from the grit to the glory. From unexpected hail, to unseasonable heat, or an October snow storm thrown in for good measure. And literally everything in between.

Those variables show through in our wines. We love showing our guests these delicate details and making that connection from the vine to the glass. We wanted to take the time to start at the beginning. To take a moment and pause and go through the plant life cycle, from bud burst in Spring through harvest. There is always SO MUCH going on in the vineyard, so much more than meets the eye. From the deep roots and soil nutrition through canopy management to focusing on sugar production in the fruit zone. We are constantly learning, and evolving our farming practices to ensure the best health of our vines and also highest quality in production. We take the responsibility of being stewards of the land very seriously and that is one of our greatest privileges—to be able to do what we love all while adding value to the land. The cherry on top is that we get to share the fruits of our labor with you. Wine is about connection. And we believe that connection is understanding that every glass holds a story. 

March through November, our vines are doing so much work to produce and ripen our fruit! Then once we harvest, the hard work in the cellar starts. This winter, stay tuned for additional blog posts on the enology (wine making) side of our business.

The Life Cycle of Wine Grapes: 6 Steps

  1. Budburst – When temperatures rise in the spring, the vine awakens. Buds containing the genetic makeup for the vine growth bursts from the vine, signifying the beginning of the growing season. 
  2. Shoot and Leaf Growth – From these buds, new green shoots and leaves grow at rapid rates using the nutrients stored in the trunk and energy from the sunlight and heat beginning with the warming climate.
  3. Flowering and Fruit Set – Like many other fruit plants, flowers (through inflorescence) will appear and the flowers will go through pollination, which sets where the grape berries will form. 
  4. Grape Development – As the growing season progresses, the warmth, sunlight, water, soil nutrients, climate, and weather all affect how fast or slow the grapes will ripen. As the grapes ripen, the sugar accumulates within the grapes.
  5. Harvest – One of the most crucial points of the growing season (and for future winemaking) is selecting the harvest date. In the fall, the nights cool, helping to retain acidity (needed for balance in the wine). The sunny days continue the photosynthesis of the vine, adding to the sugar concentration of the grapes. The sugar eventually will get to a desired concentration (sugar concentration relates to final potential alcohol in the wine), and the flavors and aromas of the grape will also be to the liking of the vineyard manager/winemaker. At this point the grapes are harvested off the vine and taken to a facility to be made into wine.
  6. Dormancy – With dormancy, the life cycle of wine grapes ends. After harvest when the temperatures cool, the vine will lose its leaves and store enough CHO (carbohydrates) and nutrients to sustain over the cool winter. It serves as a kind of hibernation state for the vine.