Maker: Sandhill Crane Vineyards, Jackson, Michigan, USA
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon (at least 75%)
Place of origin: Michigan
Purchased for $22 (Michigan by the Bottle Tasting Room)
Appearance: Brick red.
Nose: Toasted oak, walnut, crushed black cherries, dark chocolate.
Palate: Medium bodied. Tart and a little chewy. Balanced. Blackberry, black pepper, mushroom.
Finish: Tart, then a little tannic.
Parting words: Sandhill Crane is located in Jackson County Michigan, in the south central part of the state. While Jackson doesn’t have the lakefront and glacial features of Southwest and Northwest Michigan wine country, it does have three fine wineries, Lone Oak (in Grass Lake), Chateau Aeronautique, and Sandhill Crane.
Sandhill Crane is the biggest of the three with a wide variety of blends and varietals, including this Cabernet Sauvignon. Michigan isn’t known for this grape, but it is grown more widely than one might think. Still, it’s rare to find it bottled as a varietal here, so when it is, it’s almost always worth picking up. This wine is no exception.
No one would confuse this wine for a Napa Cab or a Left Bank Bordeaux, but it has some very nice varietal and cool climate notes with fruit, acid and tannin pleasantly balanced. It would probably hold up for another year or two at least, but this vintage is drinking very well right now, so sear yourself a steak and crack open your bottle if you have one. The 2016 and 2017 vintage should be able to age this long too if you have one of those. 2012 Sandhill Crane Cabernet Sauvignon is recommended.