Maker: St. Julian Wine Co., Paw Paw, Michigan
Varietal: Not Stated
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, screw cap
Our Rating: 7 out of 10
We don’t try many local wines – the wineries tend to produce sweet wines that aren’t much to our liking. But when we saw STJ Red (NV) from St. Julian described as a “dry, fruity” wine, we decided to risk the modest purchase price and see how it compared with Australian and domestic reds in a similar price range. The nose is quite interesting, with dark berry, smoke, and spice notes. On the palate, though, STJ Red has a fruity blandness tinged with oak and mixed with an unpleasant sharp note that lingers into the finish. We tried it immediately after opening the bottle, then after a bit of breathing, and finally the next day. No amount of air brought this one around to the point where we’d consider drinking it an enjoyable experience.
We’re disappointed that this wine wasn’t better – we’d enjoy recommending a local red table wine if we could. St. Julian claims to be Michigan’s oldest and largest winery. We note on their website that they do offer a Merlot, as well as a series of Braganini Reserve wines that include a Meritage, a Pinot Noir, and a Cabernet Franc. These reds, which sell for $15 – $22 per bottle, look a lot more promising, though they seem to be a bit hard to find at retailers. We notice that at their tasting dinners they serve the Braganini Reserve wines almost exclusively, so they clearly have more faith in them than the STJ Red. So, don’t write off St. Julian just yet, but try something other than STJ Red.