Juice Up Your Wine List

Get out of your “comfort zone” with these suggestions for your next favorites
Photo by Robert Kneschke/Adobe Stock

Once you know what kinds of wine you like, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. After all, nothing can beat your familiar favorites, right?

However, if you’re willing to be a little adventurous and branch out, you might just find your next favorite wine.

Here, we’ve asked Ping Ho, owner and wine director at The Royce wine bar in Detroit, for some recommendations for wines to try if you like these classic Michigan varietals.

If you like Chardonnay … you may want to try Pinot Blanc or Vignoles.

Pinot Blanc “has some depth to it,” Ho says, which would make it a good fit for someone who likes unoaked Chardonnay.

“Vignoles is another interesting grape,” she adds. “Vignoles has some rounded qualities that someone [who drinks Chardonnay] might enjoy.”

If you like Gewürztraminer … you may want to try a late-harvest Riesling.

According to Ho, a sweeter Riesling, such as a late-harvest variety, would hit the right notes. “It’s got that acid and some residual sugar,” she says.

If you like Pinot Noir … you may want to try Gamay.

Ho says Gamay’s red fruit flavors and moderate to low tannins would appeal to Pinot Noir drinkers. “It just has the same berry quality of a Pinot — perhaps not as much earth notes, but the fruit would be very appealing to someone who enjoys Pinot Noir, medium-to-lighter-body wine.”

If you like Cabernet Franc … you may want to try Blaufränkisch.

Michigan Blaufränkisch (or Lemberger) is “quite fruit forward and drinkable,” Ho says. “But it has also some earth undertones as well.”

This article originally appeared in the 2023 Michigan Wine Country magazine.

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