Braganini Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $39.99:
Hands on, motivated by family pride and quest for the best, and feeding off talent wherever he can find it, St. Julian President David Braganini has surely played a pivotal role in the building of the modern Michigan wine industry. His 2010 Cabernet is a toast to his sweat and persistence — and his heartaches and headaches along the way.
This is a lovely wine, off a vintage that was challenged at the beginning but delivered in the end. Black cherry, blackberry, ripe plum, cocoa and spice unfold on the nose. In the mouth, flavors are still restrained but profoundly intense and complex, bound up in supple tannins and acidity. It has an earthy, Old World character.
The neon blue trim on the minimal label, the gold capsule and the scripted “B” on the top reflect David’s pride. “Italian roots, Michigan soil” — his favorite slogan. The back label has notes by winemaker Nancie Corum-Oxley and credits Joe Herman as the grower and Little Lake Vineyard as the source. Joe Herman farms pristine vineyards in Coloma, home to his own Karma Vista Winery, in Southwest Michigan.
It was hands-on winemaking all the way, punching down the bins of fermenting grapes by hand three times a day to break up the cap of skins that floats to the top — to extract more color and flavors. It was then aged it 13 months in French oak.
Certainly it is the best Cab to come out of St. Julian. But wait, says Nancie, as she and Braganini drove to the Cabernet vineyard Thursday to check out the 2012 grapes, which still are hanging. They are hoping the 2012 vintage can match or surpass the 2010.
This 2010 vintage is expensive? Yes. But as Braganini says, “It’s not the most expensive one out there; a lot of time and money went into it.”
St. Julian Wine Club members got the first bottles. It will be available to the public at St. Julian tasting rooms in early November.