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98 Harvests and Counting.

The sights, sounds and smells of harvest are truly amazing! Transforming the fruit off the vine into bottles of wine is incredibly gratifying for all involved; from the winemaking team, to our growers, to the wine consultants eager to share with you the latest and greatest creations. Every harvest is different with its own challenges and opportunities, and our 98th harvest is providing plenty of both.

The challenges with harvest start long before the first grape is picked. January of 2019 gave us another Polar Vortex and many of the vines were badly damaged by the extreme cold. This wiped out many of our vinifera vines for this year. We will have little to no Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Merlot or Grüner Veltliner from the 2019 harvest. Thankfully, the European vinifera vinesat our Mountain Road Estate Vineyard produced almost a normal crop of beautiful fruit. We harvested the Estate Riesling,Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon in October and will have some beautiful wines for our members.

This year, something unusual happened. Normally, Michigan’s southern Lake Michigan Shore Appellation has less extreme weather than our friends in Northern Michigan. The extreme cold in January and February dipped into Michigan from the Northeast and crossed over Michigan to the southwest, sparing the state’s northwestern vineyards from the worst of the cold. While wineries in the Northern AVAs frequently get many of their grapes from our region in the South, we needed to go North this year. The 2019 vintage will have some Leelanau Peninsula AVA Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris from a newly formed grower partnership. This aligns with our commitment to using Pure Michigan fruit and allows us to stay true, even with this extremely challenging harvest.

Michigan’s extreme cold is one of the reasons we love our hybrid grapes because they can withstand these crazy temperatures.These hybrids produced a great crop this year, so we will have plenty of grapes, like Chambourcin, Traminette, Chancellor, Vidal and Vignoles. These are used in many of our blended wines and will give us the opportunity to be creative in what we put together in the cellar for future bottlings. It’s kind of like when you are making different kinds of chili and you mix and match ingredients to create the best recipes. We might need to think out of the box, but the winemaking team is excited to collaborate on new blends that Mother Nature’s challenging harvest provided us this year. As Wine Club members, you will get the best of our best!

SJ ONE HARVEST

Dry & Sweet

Wine Bottles on the ground in a cornfield.

WINES THAT GIVE A DAMN. At St. Julian, we believe in the importance of caring passionately…. in giving a damn about our community. We are excited for the next bottles in our series of wines designed to benefit different charities that speak to us. November is a time when we take an extra moment to pause and express gratitude for bountiful harvests in our region. Yet, there are many in our communities that do not know where their next meal is coming from. Feeding America West Michigan is an organization that reclaims surplus food from farmers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. This food is then distributed through a network of over 900 food pantries, shelters and after-school programs throughout West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. A portion of the proceeds from the ONE Harvest wines will be given to this very worthwhile organization. 

ONE HARVEST DRY is a delicious red blend made with Chambourcin,Chancellor and Cabernet Franc. Together, these varietals create deep plumand cherry flavors with great structure. Aged in oak, this wine has hints of smoke on the finish. Enjoy it with hardy stews, grilled vegetables and meats and your favorite red sauce pasta and pizza dishes.

ONE HARVEST SWEET is a refreshing blend of Foch, DeChanauc and Rougeon. The color has a brilliant red hue from the Rougeon, which has dark berry fruit character. The DeChanauc gives great body and Foch a touch of acidity and dark plum and cherry flavors. At 7% Residual Sugar, you can choose to serve this wine chilled or at room temperature. Chilled will bring out the fruitiness, while room temp will make the flavor more “wine” like. Enjoy with all your BBQ favorites, pizza and pasta.

2018 BR LATE HARVEST RIESLING

Riesling is a European Varietal that is a favorite among chefs and wine lovers everywhere because it is so aromatic, food-friendly and filled with personality. The cool nights and rich soils of the Lake Michigan Appellation provide a great location for growing this cool-climate grape. Thanks to the grape’s cold-hardiness, we were able to make a beautiful “late harvest” reserve wine for our members.

To craft this wine, the grapes were left on the vine longer than usual. This allows the fruit to develop a fungus called Botrytis, or “noble rot.” This fungus is highly desired because it concentrates the grapes sugar level through the evaporation of water, actually causing the grape to shrivel like a raisin. This produces a wine with more residual sugar, more acid, more intense flavors and greater complexity.

The 2018 Braganini Reserve Late Harvest Riesling has abundant citrus flavors with white peach, cantaloupe and orange blossom honey. The natural acid of this grape helps to balance out the 7.5% residual sugar sweetness, making this wine very food friendly. Do you love spicy food? The sweetness of this wine pairs wonderfully with spice. You can also enjoy this wine with roast pork, glazed ham, poultry and most barbecued food. We love it with salty cheese and fresh apples, pears and apricots. The sweetness of the wine also is wonderful with fall inspired desserts like apple cake, pear crisp and cinnamon coffee cake.

Wine bottle in a cornfield
ASK THE WINEMAKER

& our Winemaker, Nancie Oxley will answer.

Nancie Oxley standing amongst wine barrels
How do you decide which new grape varietals to plant? Taylor Jacobville in Bartlett, Nebraska

St. Julian has the most amazing growers! They are always willing to hear new ideas and try planting new varieties of grapes. As we learn more about what grows well in this region, and our technology and equipment improves, we are fortunate that we can “experiment” with new plantings.

I drink a LOT of wine and research a LOT about what is happening in the industry. Many times, I will talk with a fellow winemaker who has expressed success with certain grapes that might grow well in our region. Sometimes, I just have this “gut” feeling that a variety will do well in our region with our growers and winemaking team, like when we planted the Albariño. A varietal native to Spain, Albariño was new in this region. But I believed our climate could build the high acidity and fruit flavors needed to produce great wine from this variety- and it did!

One of my personal favorite varieties is Barbera, an Italian red that has lighter tannins, high acidity and flavors of red fruit and spice. This grape is native to the cool climate of northern Italy which is similar to our region. We just planted 2 acres with our grower Dan Nitz in Baroda. I’m super excited to work with this grape! We planted some varieties that other growers in the are a are seeing some success with, namely Cinsault, Grenache, Blaufränkisch and Mouvẻdre. I’m excited to get our first bottling of these varieties. 

This past spring on our Wine Club trip to Tuscany, we had a lot of wines made from Sangiovese. The members on this trip really loved the balance of acidity combined with the plum, herbal and cherry flavors and they wanted to know if we could ever grow this in Michigan. I started researching this varietal and I really think we could be successful with it at our Mountain Road Estate Vineyard. So we are planning on planting this next spring! The same goes for the Italian wines we enjoyed on the trip made from the grape Vermintino. I think this will grow well here, as well. Wine Club will always get the first chance to enjoy these wines!

Great wine begins in the vineyard.

Great wine begins in the vineyard with great fruit. St. Julian has amazing grower partners and we honor these relationships by putting our growers’ names on the bottles, something many wineries don’t do. Winemaker Nan cie started this practice 10 years ago because she truly believes that in order to get the best fruit, we have to give the growers the support and recognition they deserve. St. Julian works with 15 growers, all located in the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation. We would like to introduce you to one of our largest growers, Dan Nitz. Dan currently grows 300 acres of grapes in the Baroda area for St. Julian wines; including Riesling, Traminette, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin and Vidal. In addition, he is on board with planting new varietals for us like Barbera, Auxerrois, Cinsaut and Grenache. Many of the grapes he grows are destined for Wine Club wines, and he is proud to be “working for our VIPs.” We  hope that when you pick up a bottle of any St. Julian reserve wine, you look for the names and locations of the local growers who provided the fruit for the wine you are about to enjoy! It’s a great  thing to know where your wine comes from!

Dan Nitz, grapes on his farm, and the back of a wine bottle made using his grapes
SUNNY PORTUGAL!

MARCH 13 - March 22, 2020

Clinking wine glasses in portugal

Join Winemaker Nancie Oxley, as she personally travels around sunny Portugal!

Explore the wine regions of this beautiful coastal country known for its olive trees, country estates and spectacular shoreline. Tour a cork farm where St. Julian gets its corks and learn about this very important local industry. Ancient castles, groves of lemon & almond trees, delicious local cuisine and world-class wines await you on this once in a life time trip! $3,300 includes airfare!* ( rate subject to change until booking) MARCH 13 - 22, 2020 Details available by contacting info@sealandairtravel.com or call 269-657-5529

Cozy Cottage Pie ready to eat
COZY COTTAGE PIE + 2018 BR PINOT NOIR
 1 1/4 lb. lean ground beef or lamb 
1 onion, chopped 
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp. cooking oil
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 1/2  tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/4 cup beef stock
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of nutmeg
2 bay leaves,
2 tsp. chopped rosemary 
 2 tsp. chopped thyme
1 package of pre-made mashed potatoes
(or homemade)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a deep frying pan, add oil, onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Add meat and brown. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Return veggies and add tomato paste, herbs, bay leaf, stock, sauce & nutmeg. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 min. Spoon mixture into an ovenproof dish and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

RIESLING APPLE CAKE
RIESLING APPLE CAKE + 2018 BR LATE HARVEST RIESLING
7 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup of your favorite St. Julian Riesling
2 1/2 lbs apples, peeled and chopped into small cubes
 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 10 inch springform pan. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy (about 10 minutes). Add the eggs, one by one, mixing to incorporate each before adding the next. Add the flour mixed with the baking powder. Then add the milk and wine. Mix well. Add the apples and fold them into the batter gently. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve.

WHAT WE'RE DRINKING IN NOVEMBER

Great Wines for Great Times

VINEYARD SELECT

2018 BR Chardonnay, 2018 BR Pinot Noir, 2018 BR Dry Riesling, ONE Harvest Dry Red Blend, 2017 BR Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 BL Albariño /Riesling

PERFECTLY PAIRED

2018 BR Chardonnay, ONE Harvest Sweet Red, 2018 BR Pinot Noir, 2018 BR LH Riesling, 2017 BR Cabernet Sauvignon, Cranberry Wine

SWEETER HARVEST

2018 BR LH Riesling, ONE Harvest Sweet Red, Sweet Nancie Raspberry, 2018 BR LH Vignoles, Cranberry Wine, 2018 BR LH Riesling

VINEYARD SELECT RED

2018 BR Pinot Noir, ONE Harvest Dry Red Blend, 2017 BR Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Cap Drain #2, ONE Harvest Dry Red Blend, 2016 BR Merlot

PERFECTLY PAIRED WHITE

2018 BR Chardonnay, 2018 BR LH Riesling, 2018 BR DRY Riesling, 2018 BR LH VIgnoles, 2018 BR Albariño/ Riesling, 2018 SJ Reserve White Blend

THIS MONTH'S TASTING NOTES

Explore the flavors and pairings of our wines with our tasting notes.