Editor’s Note: While Carl is out recovering from heart bypass surgery we’ve asked some of his good friends to fill in with their wise words on wine in his absence. Today’s blog is from guest blogger Stan Minden, Premium Wine Buyer for Chalet Party Shoppe and Belmont Beverage Stores of Indiana. Many thanks to Stan for filling in this week!
First: I would like to say “get well soon Carl.” From reading Carl’s blog I know he talks about his trips to Napa and the wineries he visits while in California. So I thought I could write about a winery close enough to our area that we can all visit.
That winery is Dablon Winery & Vineyards. It is located at 111 W. Shawnee Road in Baroda, Mich. The winery is named after Claude Dablon who was a French explorer and Jesuit priest. He was one of the first Europeans to arrive in Michigan in the 1600s.
We visited Dablon for the first time on June 25 of this year. We were met by Caitlin Terwilliger, Dablon’s outside sales manager. We started with a tour of the vineyards. Dablon owns 75 acres and has 36 acres of vineyards. Most of the vineyard is planted with European varietals. We also toured the barrel room and their bottle and fermentation area. I must say that they were as spotlessly clean as any California winery I have visited.
We then went upstairs to their tasting room. To get to the tasting room is a little bit of a climb. The parking lot is on the same ground level as the barrel and bottling room. They do have car access to the tasting room entrance, but no parking. The tasting room was very nice. With a sitting area in front of a fire place on one side, and the tasting bar on the other.
Now we get to the good part…the wine. Dablon is making wines from European varietals and succeeding. They have two levels of wine: Dablon which is made from estate-grown grapes and Music Box which is made from purchased grapes.
Most of the wines are of the dryer style, while they do have some sweet wines. We started with the whites. Under the Dablon label they have two Chardonnays, oaked and un-oaked. I preferred the oaked one. It was buttery, with a hint of toast and tropical fruit.
The Dablon Pinot Noir was very nice and comparable to Oregon or Sonoma Pinot. We also tried the Dablon Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Blend, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. They all showed nice fruit flavors and a dry finish.
The Dablon Red Blend was my favorite. Were they as good as Napa wines? No, but they were the best flight of dry reds I have tasted from southwest Michigan.
After our tasting we bought three different dry reds along with a very nice cheese plate and went out to their patio. There was a trio called the Backsliders playing old ballads from James Taylor and the Eagles genre. Loud enough to hear and sing along with, but not to loud to have a conversation. The wine and music was good, the sun was shining and we had a great afternoon. You should try it.
Tasting room hours at Dablon (until November 30): Sundays through Thursdays they are open from noon to 7 pm. On Fridays they are open from 11 am to 8 pm and on Saturdays you can visit from 10 am to 8 pm. You can reach Dablon Winery & Vineyards at 269-422-2846.
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
August 14 – International Rosé Day
August 18 – Pinot Noir Day
August 31 – International Cabernet Day (Thursday before Labor Day)
September 15 – International Grenache Day (3rd Friday in September)