To avoid the heat and humidity of Toledo, we hit the road to the Irish Hills in Michigan. It was just what the doctor ordered. The rolling hills, great scenery and wafting breeze chased the sweaty humidity right away.
We decided to visit Hidden Lake Gardens, a botanical garden about eight miles west of Tecumseh. On our return trip we planned to visit the J. Trees Cellars tasting room in Blissfield. As we motored through the downtown Tecumseh, we noticed Pentamere Winery and decided that would be another great stop on our weekend outing.
Pentamere Winery, 131 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh, Michigan (517) 423-9000, is an urban winery. That’s something that’s not uncommon in hipper wine communities in California or the Northwest – but it is a rarity in our area. Pentamere is Michigan’s first urban winery and one of the state’s smallest winery.
We certainly have a preference for estate wineries – wineries that produce their wine on property with grapes that they have grown – but Pentamere has a unique angle that I find very intriguing. All their wine is produced at their downtown winery and their grapes are sourced from growing regions around the Great Lakes including Michigan, Ontario and Ohio. As Sherry told us as she poured us samples, all the growing regions must be in the Great Lakes watershed.
The tasting room is light, airy and very classy. It features a long bar and one of the best assortment of wine accessories you’ll find anywhere. Pentamere is a combination of Greek and Latin words meaning five lakes, which ties in nicely with their nautical theme. Almost all the wines are named after ships.
We followed their first rule stated on their tasting notes: “Drink what tastes good to you” and started with the dry whites. First was Wings of the Wind, which had a clean citrus fruit flavor. I must point out one drawback at Pentamere and that is that the grapes in the various wines are always not listed on the bottles or tasting notes. I believe this blend had Vidal Blanc, but a check of the website shed no light on this mystery.
The 2008 Dry Riesling, which lists for $18, has pronounced lemon and pear flavor notes. It was pleasing, but lacked the acidity we like in a Dry Riesling.
White Swan was our favorite. It is a dry Vidal Blanc and had a medium body with an interesting tangerine zing. This wine is a good selection for seafood or poultry. We bought a bottle of this.
Moving to the dry reds, we started with Walk-In-The-Water, a blend of five reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chambourcin, Zweigelt and Syrah. This had cherry, cedar and an earthy quality. Very unique.
The 2003 Chambourcin is finished in oak and so is unlike most Chambourcins we’ve had. Le Griffon 2005 is a red Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc. This is Pentamere’s top of the line wine and lists for $32.
We wrapped up with a sample of Monarch of the Glen. This is a medium dry Cabernet Franc. We are big Cab Franc fans and we enjoyed this light red wine.
Tecumseh is a very appealing town and Pentamere is front and center on their tourist-friendly main street. Add this urban winery to cap off a nice day of sight-seeing and dining in Southeast Michigan. Pentamere is part of the upcoming Pioneer Wine Trail event, the Wine Days of Summer.