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Thursday, August 10, 2006

2000 Lynfred Michigan Chambourcin

You may be asking “what the hell is Chambourcin?”

It’s an offbeat varietal that you won’t find in places like France or find it in places like Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, I’ve heard even Pennsylvania and New York vineyards grow this type. It’s a French-American hybrid. Basically the classic grapes can’t grow in places like the Midwest, so way back when a guy named Jonnes Seyve did some cross breeding and we have grapes like Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, and Traminette. They're definitely different than the famous varietals, but they all can make very good wine.

If you go to any Midwest winery the odds are they have a Chaumbourcin. A few years ago Fran and I went on a “wine tour” of Illinois and we had more Chambourcin than I care to remember, but every so often I get a craving.

This is a fairly light red wine, I’d say it’s light purple but there seems to be a hint of brown (a sign the wine may be a tad too old), It looks sort of like a very light Pinot Noir.

There’s a bit of earth on the nose, maybe some tobacco, and most definitely sour cherries.

In a word, this wine is tart. Fran’s first comment was “it’s harsh” and I agree. This isn’t a bash at Lynfred, it’s the way I’d describe most Chambourcin. The sour cherries definitely overpower everything else though as it opens up I taste some cinammon. The more it opens, the smoother it gets, but that's not to say it is even remotely "smooth." The tartness overpowers all....low tannin, high spice.

This sounds like I'm bashing it, and I suppose I am, but the fact is, in six months I'll be craving it again. I think trying these unusual varietals is a fun thing to do and I'd recommend trying some next time you see a bottle, just don't spend too much.

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