(Co-written with Sarah Nash)
Sarah and I were having lunch at the “The Stable” in Blissfield, Michigan (the casual dining partner of the famous Hathaway House) a few weeks ago when she offered me a sip of the wine she was drinking. We went to the restaurant because we’d heard that they had a great craft beer selection but we had a moment which made us think, ”We have been living under a hop vine!” We drink wine so we weren’t surprised that we loved a wine. The revelation was that this wine was made right here in Monroe County.
J. Trees Cellars opened in 2008, growing grapes and producing wine and cider in Petersburg, Michigan. A tasting room was soon added in Blissfield across from “The Stable.” In their words they are a “small Michigan winery, crafting fine wines & ciders from estate grown fruit, as well as other high quality Michigan fruit.”
Once we discovered that they existed we knew we needed to visit them as soon as we had a free night. We finally paid a visit to their tasting room yesterday. Our hosts were charming, very excited about their products and extremely patient. (We brought our kids and… well… they were kids being kids but didn’t faze them a bit.)
Every single one of their offerings was excellent. We said we weren’t going to do a full tasting but once we got started we couldn’t help ourselves. We like our wines on the drier side, which most of theirs are. I really enjoyed their Dry Riesling, a recent silver medal winner at the Indy International Wine Competition and the Michigan Wine Competition. Sarah enjoyed their Dry Rose which was fruity, luscious and tart yet well-balanced and would make a great base for a summer sangria. Their House Red was a spot on I-could-drink-this-any-time-of the year-any day-of-the-week simple yet finely crafted red wine. They also sell hard ciders including “Farmstead,” a crisp, refreshing dry cider, fermented by the wild yeast in the orchard and “Cin-ful” a cider fermented with cinnamon bark. Sarah suggested that they offer a warmed version of the “Cin-ful” in the fall. They also sell an “Ice Cider” made with apples frozen on the tree and harvested and pressed in January making it the very sweet high ABV character you would expect from a traditional ice wine. We were also lucky enough to get a “sneak peak” of their Sparkling Riesling which they released today!
As I mentioned earlier, a few of their wines are served across the street at The Stable which is a great place to enjoy it with a number of great “upscale pub food” offerings. You can also find their wine at the Hathaway House, Evans Street Station in Tecumseh, Flicks in Lambertville and a number of other places across Michigan. You can find all locations on their website. Unfortunately, while their products are created in Monroe County you can currently only find them at one location in the city of Monroe, Danny’s Fine Foods. We’ll happily shop for it there but have made it our mission to try to make them more widely available in Monroe. Until then, “like” them on Facebook and take a trip down to Blissfield and enjoy a flight in their tasting room and maybe a glass at “The Stable.” It’s well worth the trip.