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NC Wine Touring: Laurel Gray Vineyards

Hello Friends,

I am going to talk a little bit about a winery I recently visited. This was part of a birthday DIY wine tour some friends and I did for one of their 21st birthdays. Definitely not mine, trust me, been there & done that quite a few moons ago, thank you!

So we stopped was at Laurel Gray Vineyards. This is a very quaint and pretty, small local vineyard in Hamptonville, North Carolina, just off the NC-421 and I-77 intersection. The owners, Kim & Ben Myers, live on an 84-acre former dairy cattle and tobacco farm, that has been in the Myers family for 10 generations. They planted their first grapes (French Vinifera) in 2001, and in 2003 opened the tasting room in a renovated milking parlor, continuing to grow from there.

Laurel Gray Vineyard

When we first drove up, the first thing we noticed was the beautiful landscaping and lush roses. At the entrance to the Tasting Room, there are 2 rose gardens with 40 tea roses. Completely gorgeous and clearly lovingly well-tended. In addition to these rose-filled areas, the vineyards themselves have roses in front of every other row (something almost every vineyard does), which does two things: first it creates a pretty look, and second (most importantly) it warns the growers if there is trouble for the grape plants. Roses and Grapevines are similar in many ways so they are a natural warning if insects or weather or anything else are affecting the grapes.

So we enter this cute cottage-like Tasting Room and see a wine bar and a shop in one, complete with wine glasses, wine bottles, shirts, aprons, and a whole array of food items. We also see two ladies getting everything setup, as we are there right at 11am, which is when the Tasting Room opens on Saturdays. Wooo! We are the first up to bat!

We let them know we want to do some tastings, and they set a list of wines out, and start placing pieces of sourdough bread (scratch-made) in a few dishes in front of us, along with some Laurel Gray wine glasses. It smelled heavenly, slightly sweet, but still sour. Mmmm. So onto the wines!

Laurel Gray Wine Glass

So in our cute wine glasses we get poured a selection of wines in a 1-1.5 oz amount. We start with dry whites, followed by dry reds, then semi sweet wines, and finish with sweet wines. Here are their provided notes, and my thoughts on the wines, in order of how we tasted them. Enjoy!

2011 Pinot Gris
LG: Clean and fruity with hints of melon, citrus and mineral. Kim’s favorite wine for a warm summer evening. Serve with a light fish or chicken dishes or creamy soft cheese.
Beth: Clean, crisp, citrus and fruity wine with a lightly sweet undertone.

2011 Viognier
LG: Peaches and apricots are the best words to describe this full bodied delicious white wine. It is a breath of a souther summer day. Enjoy seafood, poultry, creamy pasta, and someone you love. (International Award Winner)
Beth: Peachy overtones, with a sweet start and a slightly dry finish, and a true Viognier flavor throughout.

2010 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
LG: Aged in French oak barrels for one year this Chardonnay is a balance of apple, butter, and vanilla flavors. Voted Best Vintage by a select market group, a wine that pairs well with hard cheese, light pasta dishes, chicken or seafood. Benny’s white wine choice for 2012.
Beth: Apple overtones, buttery smoothness throughout, and oak undertones flavor this Chardonnay.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
LG: Our delicate French style Cabernet is barrel aged for 22 months and then bottle aged for 18 months. Blackberries, dark chocolate and cherries blend with buttery oak for a smooth, long finish. Enjoy with all red meat and bold cheeses. International Award Winner.
Beth: Chocolate cherry/berry flavors throughout, with a slightly dry start and a sweet finish, that tastes very smooth from beginning to end.

2009 Windsor (Newest Release)
LG: A rich and delicious blend of four estate vinifera red grapes. Our boldest wine, Windsor is wonderful with red meat, olives, bold cheese, and dark chocolate! A portion of the sale of this wine will help promote Yadkin Co Tourism. International Award Winner.
Beth: A buttery dry red wine with grape flavors rolling around your tongue through to a smooth finish.

2009 Scarlet Mountain
LG: This is our signature wine blended from four of our estate vinifera grapes. The richness of ripe red cherries, blueberries, raspberries and buttered toast delight the senses. International Award Winner and Customer Favorite, serve Scarlet Mountain with grilled burgers, pizza, Italian dishes, it really goes well with almost anything!
Beth: This slightly dry wine has a sweetness from a full-flavor presence of berries, and finishes very smoothly with a cherry note at the very end.

Rosé 1773
LG: On a warm day in the south, this semi-sweet blend of fresh picked berries and exotic flavor is the perfect picnic wine. To enjoy an international experience serve Rosé 1773 with Asian, Spanish or Indian food.
Beth: This is a very sweet berry overtone, and a very slight spice undertone that is in between pepper and nutmeg. Tastes similar to a drier White Zinfandel to me.

LG: Laurel Gray’s Cebernet, infused with natural black raspberries and just a hint of pure milk chocolate, makes this wine the perfect end to a great dinner with friends. Served with our Chocolate Cabernet Wine Sauce it becomes a decadent and heavenly treat! Tastes just like a raspbery truffle!
Beth: This was my favorite wine at Laurel Gray. I am normally not a fan of overly sweet wines, but this one just hit every good note in a rousing aria of deliciousness. The chocolate and berry flavors were well-balanced and in the forefront of the taste, as well as the smooth sweetness that took you from start to finish, but never overpowered you. This was one of those wines that would be dangerous because it’s so good, though I would love to use it in my cooking! YUM.

LG: Sweet, fresh grapes delight both your nose and palate. Clean and fruity Nectar is a trip down memory lane. Enjoy a glass of Nectar served ice cold and wiggle your toes in the grass. Serve with desserts made with butter, vanilla or tropical fruit.
Beth: This sweet vanilla undertone wine tasted almost like a muscadine grape but not quite as sweet.

Artisan Vinaigrette: This olive oil, vinegar and herb sauce went with the fresh-baked sourdough bread like a Chardonnay with Chicken. Delicious, well-balanced in the spice realm, and not too vinegary, this would be a very addicting treat to start your meal off when paired with some fresh bread.
Crazy ‘Bout Butts BBQ Sauce: This was so good, and I do like my BBQ sauces, that I don’t think I need to do anything but marinate my meats in it and enjoy it. Typically I add at least one thing to a store-bought BBQ sauce, but this is a melt-in-your-mouth experience all on its own, not needing a thing changed.
Chocolate Cabernet Wine Sauce: I really thought I was in heaven when I tried this, paired with the Encore wine. I had a moment where I wouldn’t give the tasting spoon up. This thick chocolate sauce has an undertone of cabernet, but is mostly chocolate, chocolate, berry, and more chocolate in the flavor. Super delicious and highly addicting. You are forewarned!
Caramel Chardonnay Wine Sauce: This is the only sauce we didn’t try, and that may be a good thing, as good caramel sauces are much harder to find and my wastline may not have loved me for trying this!

Sadly, the wines and sauces are only sold at the vineyard, however that just gives and excuse to take a nice drive on a weekend up to Hamptonville to go wine tasting and have a cheery, flavor-filled afternoon!

Let me know if you have tried Laurel Gray Vineyards’ wines, and what you think of them. Do you agree or disagree on my comments? I am by no means an expert, I just try to pay attention to my palatte when I drink wines. Hopefully this helps you make a choice about visiting, though, as it truly is lovely.

Craft You Later,

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