Friday, July 23, 2010

Michigan Winery Visit: J. Trees Cellars

The second stop on our Michigan weekend day trip was the new J. Trees Cellars tasting room115 N. Main St., Blissfield, Michigan, (877) 304-3254. The J. Trees Cellars tasting room is located across from the Main Street Stable and Tavern Grill in historic Blissfield. It was a beautiful day and we were zipping along enjoying the sunshine and soon overshot the general area where we knew the tasting room was located. We circled back and located the diminutive tasting room.

The tasting room is small but tasteful, with a nice bar and a side room we imagine could handle overflow crowds. J. Trees is the effort of winemaker Jon Treloar. He opened the tasting room in Blissfield in April to showcase his first four releases. The vineyards are located in Petersburg, Michigan, and plans are to open a tasting room in the original farmhouse on that property.

Paul Evans was handling duties at the tasting room and started us off with the 2008 Chardonnay. This lively wine set the tone for our tasting. It was surprisingly good. That’s not to say we doubted Jon’s winemaking chops – he has a Masters in Viticulture from Michigan State and was in charge of their vineyard program – but for his first effort he’s come up with a Chardonnay that compares favorably with just about any in Ohio and Michigan. It is lightly oaked with sophisticated tropical flavor notes. Green Dragon isn’t fond of heavily oaked Chards, so we were liking this.

2010_0318Pentamere-Trees0008The highlight of our day was the 2008 Dry Riesling. We think Dry Riesling done right is absolutely sublime. We gladly travel hundreds of miles to the Finger Lakes to sample and buy Dry Riesling. J. Trees Cellars has done Dry Riesling right – we knew it after just one sip. It has the acidity that dials in crisp refreshment and a light mixture of apple and pear flavors with a dash of minerality. This might be the best Dry Riesling within a hundred miles of Toledo.

The next tasting was Fuji Ice Cider. We approached the tasting bar cautiously – we’re not fruity wine people and our palate trends to the dry side. All righty, our preconceptions were wrong again. This is a beautifully tasting drink (I guess this is cider versus a wine). It takes 70 to 80 apples to make one bottle. The apples have to be picked at the height of winter when they are frozen. That’s a lot of effort for a $20 half bottle. This is a unique bottle that I believe stands alone in the area.

We wrapped up with the 2008 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. Jon must love the bitter Michigan cold, because the grapes for this dessert wine must also be harvested after they freeze on the vine. The flavors are intense and concentrated. This full bodied, thick wine tastes of pineapple and honey. Very nice and a good buy for $35 (half bottle).

Blissfield is a very short distance from Toledo and the J. Trees Cellars tasting room is well worth the trip. It is open Friday through Sunday and 4 to 7 on Tuesday. You can also visit them during the Wine Days of Summer special Pioneer Wine Trail promotion August 7-8.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The J Trees Dry Riesling has become my favorite white wine. I was a chardonnay person before, but Jon's riesling has changed all that. It's also available by the glass at The Stable across the street from his tasting room.