2017 Lemon Creek Reserve Cabernet Franc

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National Cabernet Franc Competition Results

At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Lemon Creek Winery Reserve Cabernet Franc earned a Silver Medal by both the Professional Judges and People’s Choice Judges. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges in different areas. A great accomplishment knowing that twenty-four quality wines were in the Category 2 (priced at $31 to $50) from around the United States. The Professional Judges also awarded the 2017 Lemon Creek Winery Cabernet Franc a Silver Medal. This was their first entry into this wine competition.

The Winery

The Lemon Family first established in Berrien County, Michigan in 1834 and at its present farm on Lemon Creek Road in 1855. Benjamin Lemon had a saw mill on a creek near Berrien Springs, MI, the creek thus became known as “Lemon’s Creek”. The soil near Lake Michigan is rolling clay loam and the weather is mitigated by the Lake. They were the first winery planting Cabernet Sauvignon in the state of Michigan.

Lake Michigan Shore is a well-known AVA is the southwest area of Michigan. The AVA is by far the most important in the state with more than 90 percent of Michigan’s vineyards found within Lake Michigan Shore AVA and more than half of the state’s wine output derived from there.

The Lemon Creek Winery has approximately 170 acres of planted wine grapes. They also have about 60 acres of a variety of fruits. They are located at 33 East Lemon Creek Road, Berrien Springs, MI 49103 and their phone number is (269) 471-1321

The 2017 Lemon Creek Reserve Cabernet Franc

The wine is aged over 24 months in French oak barrels. This allows a “depth of color and fullness of body” per their website. From a traditional California Cabernet Franc, it is a bit lighter in color and has a medium viscosity on the eyes.  On the nose is where this wine stands out with both a combination of fruit and a heavy vegetable characteristics.  The pyrazines in the Lemon Creek have a slight classic bell pepper, but also other vegetable flavors as peas, herbs and also mint appear. This coupled with the strawberry and raspberry fruit offer a pleasant change to a hearty Cabernet Franc. The finish is balanced between the fruits and vegetable traits and the silky and rounded tannins slide easily down ones throat.

The Food Pairing

Having the herbal qualities in the wine made for a delightful pairing last evening. A winter comfort food of meat loaf, Yukon gold potatoes and brussel sprouts was perfectly aligned.  The meat loaf was prepared with the following spices: garlic, dried tomatoes, onion, salt, basil, parsley, black pepper, oregano and safflower oil. This with the wine matched seamlessly. The brussel sprouts were slow roasted and drizzled with a balsamic and brown sugar reduction. Again the “green vegetable” with the wine was spectacular.

Personally, I had never tasted a Michigan Cabernet Franc, but having done so last evening, I now can appreciate their “terroir” and why Lemon Creek Winery 2017 Reserve won Silver Medals from two separate sets of judges.






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