Global Riesling champion Stuart Pigott says, “Riesling’s range goes from bone dry to honey sweet, from feather light to tongue heavy and every single gradation and combination of those things. No other grape variety can do that.”
As the author of the Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story, Mr. Pigott ought to know. Stuart has spent years traversing what he calls “Planet Riesling” in search of the essence and spirit of this remarkable grape. He will bring his book and his insight to Traverse City July 26-28, 2014 as the featured guest for the inaugural City of Riesling. City of Riesling will be a multi-faceted exploration of this diverse and exciting wine set in one of the hot new Riesling regions.
Stuart has chosen to hold the Midwest release of his book in Stuart says, “It’s fitting that Traverse City should be the location for the most ambitious presentation of my book, because it’s not only the centre of one of America’s most innovative Riesling regions, but also one of the most creative cities in the entire country.”
One of the highlights of the weekend will be the Night of 100 Rieslings on Sunday evening. Following the world premier screening of Stuart’s short film Watch Your Back: A Riesling Movie at the Film Festival’s state-of-the-art Bijou By the Bay and a sparkling Riesling toast, attendees will enjoy a gala affair at Clinch Park on Grand Traverse Bay highlighted by the Bar of 100 Rieslings that includes local music from Girls with Guitars and a farm-to-table dinner by Epicure Catering.
Restaurateur and Advanced Sommelier Amanda Danielson is, with Sean O’Keefe of Chateau Grand Traverse, the co-founder of City of Riesling. She explains, “Our goal is to educate the industry at every level about Riesling first. We want consumers to stop hating or loving it because ‘Riesling is sweet.’ The fact that Michigan produces some amazing Rieslings is important, but meaningless if not presented in a global context. Therefore, Sean and I decided to balance 25 Michigan Rieslings with selections from every major and minor Riesling producing region in the world. The bar will be staffed by an educated cast of winemakers and professional sommeliers who can effectively and knowledgeably represent the one hundred Rieslings we are proud to present.”
Those hoping to take their exploration of the grape to a new level will want to participate in Salon Riesling on Monday at The Franklin restaurant. This energetic and educational tasting symposium will feature analysis and discussion from Stuart, Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon and a range of winemakers and wine experts. Topics include Stuart Pigott’s Outer Limits: Explorations of Planet Riesling, the United States of Riesling, Riesling Time Machine and Almost Famous: the Northern Michigan Riesling Panel. Because understanding begins in the glass, each session will include a selection of rare or remarkable wines for tasting.
The weekend is rounded out by the Riesling Oyster Riot at Traverse City’s food truck mecca The Little Fleet on Sunday from 3-5 PM and dinners and tasting events at Traverse City restaurants and wineries.
Tickets are very limited and on sale now at cityofriesling.com.