Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Identifying the differences in white wines February 19, 2016


Cheers to good wine!

Michigan residents are fortunate to be able to taste delicious wines made at wineries throughout our great state. Metro Detroit residents can enjoy various opportunities to sample some of these great wines (besides at the wine parties that my husband and I host!). One such location is the Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room in Royal Oak. After driving by this location on numerous occasions, I finally had the opportunity to check it out.


Michigan By The Bottle opened its first tasting room in Shelby Township and a second location in Royal Oak last year. Now a third is slated to open in Auburn Hills this year. Several Michigan wineries are featured for samplings and many special events are offered throughout the year. The partner wineries represent four major Michigan wine trails and include 2 Lads Winery (Traverse City), Bel Lago Winery (Cedar), Chateau Aeronautique (Jackson), Chateau de Leelanau (Suttons Bay), Domaine Berrien Cellars (Berrien Springs), Peninsula Cellars (Traverse City), Sandhill Crane Vineyards (Jackson) and Verterra Winery (Leland). I have tasted wines from many of these wineries so I looked forward to checking out some new ones (I heard that the Auburn Hills location will have different partner wineries so that will be cool to have a variety!).


My friend and I visited earlier this week for a “Blind Tasting” event which focused on learning the difference between pinot grigio/gris and chardonnay wines – without labels to assist you. White wines are my preference (I have a slight allergy to the tannin in red so my cheeks get super bright when drinking red – thus, I usually do so in the privacy of someone’s home!) and while I feel fairly comfortable identifying white wines, I thought this event sounded fun. And it was.


For $12, we received six pre-selected wines – three chardonnay and three pinot grigio/gris Then we received great instruction on how to tell the difference by using color, smell, and taste. I was impressed by the knowledge and teaching ability of Shannon, the husband in the husband-wife owner team of MBTB. He made the information easy to understand.


wineglassesHere are a few tips I learned:


Pinot grigio and pinot gris are the same type of wine – grigio is the Italian version/grape and gris is the French version/grape.


Swirling the wine in the glass before drinking adds air, which improves aroma and taste. I tested this before/after and it’s true!


Chardonnay tends to be more yellow in color, while grigio/gris appear more copper-like.


Pinot grigio/gris wines tend to have a more floral aroma and taste a bit more bitter than a chardonnay.


Chardonnay can be fermented in oak; a pinto grigio wine almost never is oaked.


Not all wines age well. Pinot wines usually drop off in flavor/aroma 4-6 years from bottling (I also learned that my favorite wine type, riesling, ages great. Too bad my riesling wines tend to not last too long!).


Tannin dries the mouth; acidity in a wine adds moisture to the mouth and give you that ‘tang’ up the cheeks.


I really like Peninsula Cellars’ Chardonnay! In fact, I purchased a bottle to enjoy at home.


The ambiance of the room was relaxed, a little hip and fun. When we visit wineries in northern Michigan, tastings are free so it’s a bit to swallow paying for a flight of wine samples. However, MBTB is a separate business venture from wineries (a pretty cool business from what I can tell!) so it is worth the fee. There are several options for tasting – small and large flights (samples) and a single ‘big pour’ if know what wine you like and simply want to chill with a glass of wine. There is also a limited ‘snack’ menu of crackers, cheeses, meats, chocolate and more.


Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Rooms offer various flights for tasting wines, as well as many special events, live music, book clubs, gifts and more. I will definitely go back for another event.


*This is not a paid endorsement for Michigan By The Bottle. I went and purchased on my own. I enjoyed the event so want to share with my readers.


2 Responses to “Identifying the differences in white wines”

  1. Heather Says:

    Thanks for reading, John. I’m glad you found it interesting!

  2. John Smith Says:

    Very interesting.



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