Fall’s cool evenings and a bevy of rich flavors beg for vin rouge. Here are five legit Northern Michigan wine bottlings to feed the need. Traverse food and wine editor Tim Tebeau talks Northern Michigan red wine blends from the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas.
Villa Mari Vineyards, Praefectus 2012
Cabernet franc grapes from a 10-year-old vineyard at the base of Old Mission are fortified with cabernet sauvignon and syrah grown in Mari’s hoop houses to produce a dark and brawny wine loaded with dark berry fruit, black tea and toasty oak tones.
Brys Estate, Cab/Merlot 2013
Brys winemaker Coenraad Stassen sorted meticulously to tease out ripe, forward black raspberry and blueberry notes from this blend of Bordeaux varietals. Seven months in barrel lends spice and structure.
Hawthorne Vineyards, Cab Franc/Merlot 2012
A 17-month élevage in French and American oak barrels brings dry, spicy dimension to the dark layers of tobacco and plum in this brooding blend from Hawthorne Vineyards.
Chateau Fontaine, Woodland Red 2013
A pleasing polygamy of syrah, merlot, cab franc and cabernet sauvignon, Dan Matthies’s Woodland Red shows loads of fresh berry fruit with subtle peppercorn accents. Finely merged tannins make this an ideal cocktail red or pairing for fall game birds.
Shady Lane, Franc ’n’ Franc 2012
Fragrant with briary berry tones sewn with dried lavender and cocoa, Adam Satchwell’s signature Franc ’n’ Franc is a manifold and well-muscled wine worthy of thick steaks over wood coals.