Following along with my quest for good wine, I came across two red wines that were highly rated by taste testers and hold a high price tag. The two wines were Tabor Hill’s Lake Michigan Shore Cabernet Franc 2004 and Lake Michigan Shore Merlot 2005. Did they meet my expectations or did they flop against European red wines?
My experience at Tabor Hill Winery was excellent. The staff is very professional and the food is terrific in the restaurant that is attached to the winery. Before my family ate at the restaurant though, we all went through the winery tour and also did wine tasting.
As a favorite of my husbands’ we both immediately tried the two reds mentioned above that are considered dry red wines by Tabor Hill. Even though we have sampled many bottles of European wine selections with the same grapes, we were a little surprised with the results.
The Cabernet Franc wines from around the world hold a permanent position in our wine cellar in the basement of our house. We had never had any Michigan Cabernet Franc’s though, so this was something new to our taste buds. When the bottle is first poured into wine glasses, the smell is similar to those from Europe. It gives off a scent of berries but also has a black pepper and oak scent mixed in with it. The bouquet was not full, but rather had a hint of scent that filled the glasses. When tasting the wine, my mouth was in confusion as to what it had just tasted. Since Michigan is known for the Lake Effect grown grapes, the grapes have a slight sweet taste. Hence, the wine that had just been tasted was slightly sweet, unlike most red wines. It was hard to believe that the red wine was ever in an oak barrel at all.
The Lake Michigan Shore Merlot had the same effect on our taste buds. The scent was missing in action and so was the taste. Although the Cabernet Franc did have a slight tannin taste the Merlot was completely missing any flavor. Sadly, the wine was like tasting grape flavored water. It was a complete washout. If looking at the wine, it is not a surprise why the burgundy color that is usually visible in the two selected wines was missing. Even though these two wines were in American and French oak barrels for over eight months, it was entirely missing the tannin flavor. If one tried hard to taste a hint of the tannin flavor, one could however it was rather hard.
In my opinion, I was completely shocked with these two red wines. Tabor Hill is producing some wonderful wines such as the Angelo Spinazze’s Spumante and Classic Demi-Sec however these two were a miss. Seasoned wine drinkers should be warned that the wines mentioned here should be tasted before purchasing since it can be a huge disappointment. The Cabernet Franc 2004 is $24.95 a bottle while the Merlot is $31.95 per bottle. With high prices (normally I can pay less than $10.00 for a perfect bottle) I would expect a better tasting wine that has high tannins to be able to store in a cellar. With the low tannic level, these two wines from Tabor Hill will not last more than two years in a cellar. Although I did not prefer to drink these two wines, I did enjoy other wines from this winery.