It’s common to stereotype California and New York as the only places in the U.S.A. that produce notable wines. For my money Michigan is right up there, too!
As of 2013 some 2,650 acres here were under grape-wine cultivation, with an estimated 112 commercial wineries operating in 2017. Many folks acquainted with Michigan viticulture associate the Old Mission Peninsula (northwestern Lower Peninsula) with wine production.
I’m no connoisseur but, for my tastes, anyone interested in wine ought to seek out wineries along the “I-94 Corridor.” Bisecting the lower tier of counties, this route features numerous fine establishments. Indeed, new ones seem to be popping up all the time.
On a recent cold Saturday I decided to combat a bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder by visiting one of my favorite local wineries: Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson. Sandhill Crane has a comfortable tasting room in which to sample its products, and a cafe that offers patrons a variety of delicious dishes. The staff members are friendly and quite knowledgeable when it comes to describing the nature of each wine.
The express purpose of my late-winter jaunt was to sample four new reds from Sandhill Crane. While a red wine aficionado, I tend to prefer strong or sweet varieties. As it happened the wines being introduced veered toward the dry side. Therefore, I took the opportunity to cast my tasting net wider.
Sampling eight wines cost just six dollars, and in the course of doing so I decided on purchasing a trio of them:
Apple Crisp (in the middle below) is an estate-grown blend of Honey Crisp, Gala and Empire apples. It’s a great winter wine, one that will taste good whether chilled or warm (perhaps with a cinnamon stick).
Mood Indigo (on the left) is a rich, port-style wine made from Michigan blueberries. Perfect for sipping. This was more expensive a wine than I’d usually buy but I couldn’t resist it!
Staccato (on the right) was the sole red I took home this time. Semi-sweet, it has delicious “notes” of black cherry, ripe plum and spices.
I enjoyed treating my palate to Sandhill Crane Vineyards’ wines, and would invite anyone to check them out.