Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Leelanau Wine Cellars Meritage

Leelanau Wine Cellars

2005 Meritage
(Leelanau Peninsula)

Leelanau Cellars near the Northern tip of the Leelanau Peninsula feels a bit like the rebel of this wine region. This impression is enhanced by its young winemaker’s James Dean looks and cool demeanor – you can almost envision Shawn Walters with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve, sitting on a Harley, or maybe cruising in a VW bus…

His wines tell a somewhat different story – not that his is a bad one.

Although Leelanau Cellars makes a lot of wine by Michigan standards – 70,000 cases, counting fruit and bulk brands – Shawn is most proud of his premium estate wines, grown on approximately 70 acres of the peninsular area (some fruit also coming from Old Mission Peninsula, next door).

He should be proud, since he makes a full range of excellent wine, including some spectacular whites – particularly a deliciously aromatic Vignoles – and fine reds.

Shawn’s latest medal-winning effort (Gold at the Great Lakes Wine Competition) is his 2005 Meritage, a blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Cabernet Franc, and 22% Merlot. Only 250 cases were made of this 13.5% table red, which has smooth tannins, lots of fruit, not too much oak, plenty of varietal character and a long finish. This wine would never be confused with a Californian red; it is more elegant, leaning to the Bordeaux model. And this is a good thing.

Reviewed August 7, 2006 by Craig Pinhey.

Other reviewed wines from Leelanau Wine Cellars


The Wine

Winery: Leelanau Wine Cellars
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Meritage
Appellation: Leelanau Peninsula
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon (39%), Cabernet Franc (39%), Merlot (22%)
Price: 750ml $22.00

Review Date: 8/7/2006

The Reviewer

Craig Pinhey

Craig Pinhey is a professionally certified Sommelier, educator, wine judge, and wine writer. He is on the tasting panel for Wine Access, Canada's most respected wine magazine, and is the provincial wine columnist for the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal. Craig appears weekly on CBC Radio, and is regular beverage columnist for Halifax's The Coast, East Coast Living, Progress Magazine, and [here]: New Brunswick's Urban Voice. He prefers wines with mineral and earthy notes, distinct varietal fruit and regional character, and moderate alcohol so he can drink more of it.