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NC Wine Touring: Native Vines Winery

Hello Again Wine Friends!

This is the final stop that we made on the birthday wine tour from weeks ago, and we definitely knew that this place was going to be fantastic. Mmmm. Native Vines Winery is located in Lexington, and is the first American Indian-owned winery in the United States. Producing wine since 1998, this newer veteran winery is famous for their Green Tea Wine, and most of the fruit wines are made with fresh fruit grown on the 36 acres of property owned by Native Vines.

Last stop with the ladies: Native Vines Winery!

Now onto the wines of Native Vines (comments are all mine, just a heads up)…!

Sauvignon Blanc
Dried apple flavor undertone to this dry white wine.

This sweet, smooth and buttery pear-note white wine hits all the right notes from start to finish.

Pinot Noir
This pinot has traditional flavors well-blended of dry oak and currants winding together from first to last sip.

Cab Franc
This cab franc’s peppery flavor hits you quickly, then smooths out with the toasted oak flavor that finishes on a dry note.

Warhorse Red
Cherry with a hint of pepper, and a buttery smooth finish make this a good red that takes you by surprise from start to finish.

White Buffalo
This peach and rose flavored wine is sweet yet light from beginning to end, and finishes on a light but smooth peach note.

Green Tea
This is the first wine of its kind I’ve tasted, and the green tea flavor is so delicious, sweet, smooth and light, that you don’t realize you’re drinking wine!

Raspberry Tea
This tastes just like a fresh-raspberry version of the Green Tea wine. Sweet, fruity, light and delicious!

This sweet apple wine has a buttery undertone with a crisp, lighter finish.

This sweet wine tastes like a decadent blackberry jam in a glass. Yum!

This lambrusco-styled wine has a dryly sweet berry flavor that makes it sweet on the start and end, but just a little dry in the middle to take you on a journey while you’re taking a sip.

Hope you enjoyed this, and definitely try to get to this place if you’re out by Lexington, or intend to be wine tasting! 🙂

Craft You Later,

NC Wine Touring: Weathervane Winery

Hello Again Wine Friends,

I am at my second-to-last vineyard from the birthday wine tour we did a few weeks ago, and this is a good one indeed. Weathervane Winery is right in Lexington, NC, and a very quaint and pretty spot it is, too!

Weathervane with the Ladies!

Wines of Weathervane reviewed below!

Evening Breeze
WV: Fruity yet floral, a crisp Riesling. Bold and pleasing to the palette.
Beth: Sweet, crisp and citrusy white whine that brings to mind a crisp spring night.

WV: Pinot Grigio offering floral notes and a crisp and flavorful taste. It is soft and fruity yet assertive and dry!
Beth: Smooth, sweetly dry white wine with lavender undertones that make it unique and intriguing.

Sunset Red
WV: Soft full flavor Merlot laced with oak to enhance fruitiness.
Beth: Soft and tart berry flavors underneath from start to finish, with a smooth oaky overtone that wraps the sip up quite pleasantly.

Cirrus Red
WV: A soft, rich textured Malbec with the taste of ripe plums, cherries, currants and red berries.
Beth: A smoothly dry berry red wine with heavy juicy plum and tart currant flavors underneath, and a hint of spice (cinnamon?) at the end of the sip.

Temperature Rising
WV: Luscious, rich and velvety Super Tuscan! This is like liquid Viagra, not for the weak hearted.
Beth: Smooth, butter texture with a grape oak finish that leaves the palate pleased.

Grand Vieux Chateau du Roi
WV: This big red wine offers a great berry & cherry aroma. Made in the style of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Beth: Very cherry and berry flavored full-bodied wine with an oaked butter finish that makes the red wine slightly dry yet incredibly smooth.

WV: Well-rounded, full-bodied mellow Zinfandel.
Beth: A dry start, with a heavy berry middle that leads to a sweet finish, this is a good Red Zin.

Tropical Wave
WV: Limited release fruity Viognier that is a Tropical Wave.
Beth: Notes of kiwi, pear & the tropics, with smooth and buttery undertones, this is one of the best Viogniers that I have tried….and that is my favorite white varietal, so, take that as a MMMMMMMMMM note from me! 😉

In addition they carry wine slushes (two flavors usually available) at most times, red and white wine mixed with other goodness to make a frozen spectacular of a treat!

I recommend highly stopping by this quaint winery and have a tasting or a glass of wine or wine slush, relax, and enjoy the calm view surrounding the tasting room!

Craft You Later,

NC Wine Touring: Childress Vineyards

Hello Again Wine Friends,

Day 2 of that weeks-ago wine tasting weekend saw us starting with the über-picturesque Childress Vineyards, owned by famed NASCAR-owner Richard Childress, situated in Lexington, NC, conveniently located off of the NC-64 and NC-52 intersection. (Read: this one is easy to get to!)

I arrived and this was the first thing I saw once I passed the vineyards (which were pretty in and of themselves):

Childress greeting-way

I seriously felt like I was at a super fancy resort driving up to this place. Which made me feel kind of super-fancy myself, not to mention under-dressed in jeans and a button-down plaid shirt. But oh well, in for a penny in for a pound, right?!?! I walked into the entryway and see this view immediately:

Childress entryway

So pretty! Then I stopped gawking long enough to realize that people are dressed in everything from golf attire to super-casual jean attire to fancy-dresses attire. Whew! I fit right in the middle, yay!

Within 10 minutes of arriving, we set off with a group on a free guided tour of the winery. I won’t get into all of the details, however they explained the process to us in great detail…

From Grape Harvesting…

To Grape Smashing…

To Extracting Juices…

To Processing the Wine…

To Aging the Wine in Oak Barrels…

To Bottling the Wine…

Ladies of Wine Tasting at Childress

So now onto the wines themselves that we tasted! Kera & I decided to split the “Cellar Select Tasting” between us. We ended up doing the basics on that list plus 2 extras!

Classic White
CV: Tempting floral and tropical fruit aromas and bright citrus flavors.
Beth: Light papaya and rose flavor throughout this airy white wine.

Classic Blush
CV: Boasting plenty of tropical fruit aromas set off by strawberry and apple notes.
Beth: Sweetly floral and berry flavored blush wine.

Classic Red
CV: A smooth, uncomplicated red blend with cherry flavors and a clean finish. Aged briefly in oak.
Beth: Dry cherry undertones over a smooth red lightly oaky wine.

Muscadine White
CV: Muscadine blend proving aromatic, fruity, refreshing and fun on the tongue.
Beth: Sweet muscadine flavor with a very smooth finish to this light sweet white wine.

Muscadine Red
CV: A perfect blend of Muscadine grapes. Aromatic, sweet spice and refreshing.
Beth: Berry overtones with an undertone of allspice and corriander, very sweet from start to finish, but with a a dry ending note.

2010 Pinto Gris
CV: Nose of fresh pears and spring flowers. Light, spicy cinnamon flavors. Smooth, firm and balanced.
Beth: Pear overtones with a crisp smooth wine from the start, that ends on a smooth cinnamony finish.

2010 Riesling
CV: A fresh, fruity semi-sweet wine full of floral and peach aromas.
Beth: A peacy, sweet wine that carries a taste of summer, and finishes with a hint of tartness.

Late Harvest Viognier
CV: Sweet, heavy dessert wine made from high quality, botrytisized grapes with notes of citrus and orange blossom honey.
Beth: This nicely sweet Viognier starts of citrusy and sweet, and finishes smooth as fresh honey. Yum.

CV: Port-style dessert wine made from real blueberries.
Beth: Richly flavored with fresh blueberries that you can taste, this super sweet port is a heavy and rich decadence that would go great as an after-dinner port or in a dessert sauce topping. I bought a bottle for my port-loving brother, and he really loved it!

Enjoy the ratings, and let me know if you’ve been here and enjoyed the view and wine tasting and tour!

Craft You Later,

NC Wine Touring: Shadow Springs Vineyard

Hello Again Wine Lovers,

The final day 1 Swan Creek Winery that we visited awhile ago for my friend’s birthday weekend was Shadow Springs Vineyard. This was a little different for tasting in that every other winery had us try all of the wines. This place had the option of picking 7 or trying all 13 – in case you don’t like sweet or dry, you aren’t forced to try them all! I thought that was pretty neat. Now, Lisa, Kera and I decided that we were going to basically split a sweet (Kera & I) and a dry (Lisa & I) so that we could try what we’d like only. Clearly, I’m the non-picky one of the group, hehe.

Shadow Springs Vineyard is also in the heart of Amish Country. We drove past horse and buggy signs, lots of farmland, few machines, and finally a field of horses before arriving at the picturesque and quaint Shadow Springs Tasting Room. The Vineyard started in January 2005 with the first planting in April, and then progressed along until the Tasting Room opened in June 2008. With a wide variety of grapes harvested each year, there are plenty of wine options coming out of this vineyard.

Onto the tastings! Description from the vineyard followed by my thoughts, in order, below. Weee!

’08 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
SS: This wine was Barrel Fermented in new and once used French Oak barrels for 10 months. It has a rich buttery flavor.
Beth: Very smooth and slightly oaky chardonnay. I tried a very small sip of this as Lisa almost forgot to let me!

’10 Viognier
SS: This viognier was fermented in stainless steel tanks to give it a nice clean quality with crisp acidity and fruit notes of apricot, lime and melon.
Beth: Being my favorite varietal, I found this a deliciously fresh and fruity start, with a crisp melon middle and a very smooth and citrusy finish.

’08 Cabernet Franc
SS: A medium bodied red with strong aromas of cherry and oak. Lively acidity throughout the fruity finish makes this a perfect match for Italian Food.
Beth: I didn’t try this one but Lisa really liked it, said it was nice and strongly “cherry”.

’06 Cabernet Sauvignon
SS: This 100% Cab Sauv displays soft tannins from 18 months aging in French, Hungarian and American barrels. It highlights flavors of cherry, vanilla and oak.
Beth: I looked over, she poured it, I looked at Kera, said “yes” and looked back and it was gone with a very happy Lisa left behind. 🙂

’08 Chambourcin
SS: This 100% Chambourcin was aged for 18 months in oak barrels which has given it silky tannins and a long finish. It has hints of black raspberry, blackberry and dark sugars.
Beth: This was a very deliciously dry berry wine that started strong on the berry, had a sugared oak taste in the middle, and finished with more dry berry flavor that lingered on the tongue.

’07 Merlot
SS: This 100% Merlot has flavors of plums and cherries. It displays a good balance between fruit and oak flavors.
Beth: This was a very delicious and fruity oaked Merlot, very true to the expected Merlot-ness.

’07 Meritage
SS: This is a Bordeaux blend of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot and Petit Verdot. With almost 2 years in the barrel it is a big wine with a great flavor and a wonderful finish.
Beth: This was a very sweetly dry hearty wine that had a swirl of berry, plum and oak flavors just dancing in your mouth from start to finish. Yum.

’07 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
SS: Our biggest and boldest wine this Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in oak barrels for almost 3 years. It has aromas of blackberry, mocha, black cherry and licorice.
Beth: Lisa & I really liked this slightly sweet, oaky dry, berry wine that had a hint of licorice swirling amidst the berries from start to middle, and then the mocha peeked out towards the end. Yum.

Crimson Sunset
SS: This Merlot/Franc blend is fruit forward with aromas of plum, cherry and raspberry. With 1% residual sugar, this wine is pleasant and easy to drink.
Beth: Very sweet blend of fruity berries that take you from start to finish and give you a mental picture of a susent of berries in your mouth – lots of colors, and a haze of sweet over top.

’10 Seyval Blanc
SS: Stainless steel fermented crisp and clean off dry Seyval Blanc with highlights of peach and mango.
Beth: This slightly sweet wine starts off peach, and finishes crisp with a lift of mango at the end. Yum.

’11 L’Amour Doux
SS: This dessert wine is made from our late harvest Viognier. It has flavors of apricot, pear, pineapple and orange blossom honey.
Beth: This super super sweet wine has a tropical fruit taste from the start, with a little lighter pear playing with your palate through the middle, and finishing with a sweet taste of honey.

SS: This Strawberry wine is light and refreshing. With 11% alcohol and a sweet taste it is the perfect wine any time of the year.
Beth: This super sweet wine reminds me of a wine version of strawberry jam, sweet and tart by turns, but starting and ending with a sweet note.

Dark Shadow
SS: This wine has a warm chocolate cherry flavor. It is a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot, Seyval Blanc and Dark Chocolate. YUM!!!
Beth: This slightly sweet wine has a bittersweet dark chocolate undertone with a sweet grape overtone, and a finish of chocolate covered cherries.

In the Winter, Shadow Springs does a special wine that blends the Shortcake with the Dark Shadow!

So let me know what you think of these wines, if you have tried them or not, and any other wine thoughts you may have!

Craft You Later,

NC Wine Touring: Dobbins Creek Vineyard

Hello Again Wine Friends,

I am continuing the blogging about the birthday wine touring trip I took with some friends a while ago. Today I wanted to share with you my experiences at Dobbins Creek Vineyard in Hamptonville, NC. This is again a Yadkin Valley winery, further part of the 5-vineyard Swan Creek AVA, and a very small and locally grown & run vineyard. This was probably my favorite of the Swan Creek because the owner, Charles, was a hoot. He did our wine tasting, and boy was he fun! He also gave us Cheez-Its for cleansing our palate, which I thought was genius. Cheese, wine, YUM!

Wine Tasting Ladies at the Dobbins Creek Vineyard!

So a little about Dobbins Creek. The land the vineyard is planted on was originally a tobacco farm back in the 1950s, and was later converted to pastureland throughout the 1960s through to the 1990s. In 2000, Charles King bought out land portions from a brother and sister, and decided to start the vineyard. In Spring of 2002, the first vines were planted, with further plantings in each subsequent year until 2005. In 2006, a tasting room was added to the land, taking 18 months to complete. I must say, the finished product is gorgeous – all wood and stone, with a very pretty (and large) front porch that has a great view of the vineyard.

So now onto the wines. I will warn you, these are some of the driest wines in the Swan Creek area, though they have quite a few sweet wines as well. That said, here we go, with vineyard notes followed by my notes below for each! 🙂

Stainless Chardonnay
DC: Wonderful smells of apple and pear make it distinctive. Golden delicious apple flavors finish cleanly. Pairs well with fish, chicken and fruit. Being an unoaked Chardonnay it is very fruit forward.
Beth: Very clear fresh, sweet apple flavors in the overtones and undertones, with a crisp and clean finish, and a very slightly metallic flavor underneath. Very slight.

New Dry Riesling
DC: Smells of pear give nice top notes. Tastes of grapefruit and melon on the tongue with a flavorful ending. Pairs well with turkey, pears and soft cheeses.
Beth: Sweetly dry flavor, with a very smooth pear and grapefruit start, and a great melon finish, that doesn’t overpower with dryness yet retains a slight hint of sweet. This was one of my 2 favorite wines at this vineyard!

09 Merlot
DC: Earthiness and smoke hit your nose. A very smooth finish starting with pitted fruit flavors. Will pair well with most meats and hard cheeses.
Beth: Very smooth, fruity flavor that has a smoked oak undertone throughout, and finishes with a smooth dark cherry note.

08 Merlot
DC: This classic is 100% Merlot. Dark berry flavors of cherry and raspberry give this medium bodied wine a distinguished flavor. The finish hangs on the back of the tongue. Beef, Pork, and meats with sauces complement one another.
Beth: Very dry berry flavor to this wine from the start, with a sweet raspberry flavor coming in and the middle, and finishing on a smoothly dry note that lingers.

07 Reserve Merlot
DC: Big bold, and full bodied describe its taste. Black cherry flavors impart a good amount of tannin. Aged for 20 months in oak barrels. Enjoy now or save for a special occasion.
Beth: The first thing I thought when I tried this is “My Mother will LOVE this dry Merlot!”. My second thought was that this oak undertone balances very well with the black cherry throughout the taste, and finishes like it starts: very dry. This is not a bad thing, I promise you. It would go great, in my opinion, with a really juicy steak or chicken dish, or even a sweeter salad.

09 Cabernet Franc
DC: Slightly lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon it still packs as much punch. Having raspberry and earthy smells. Flavor starts on the tip of the tongue, building to concentrated flavor on the end. Long smooth finish is accompanied with spice notes. A year round wine that is good pairing with meats and pasta.
Beth: I found the start of this wine to be dry with strong notes of berry, and undertones of allspice, that meld deliciously until a smooth dry-berry finish, almost reminiscent of Craisins in the flavor to me.

Hemric Mountain Red
DC: Red wine blended with Blackberries makes a fantastic fruit wine. The aroma of blackberry encourages you to have a sip. Sweet on the front and a zing on the finish. A glass is all that is needed to enjoy this wine.
Beth: Strong chocolate undertones and blackberry overtones flow together for this just-sweet-enough and super delicious red wine. The only thing I thought while drinking this was YUM. I had to force myself to concentrate on the various flavors. Clearly this is my other favorite wine here! I also bought a bottle as this inspired me to attempt (at a future date) a Hemric Red-soaked wafer for a Tiramisu. Stay tuned for that! 😉

Hemric Mountain Blush
DC: Presenting this 2009 as our blush Cabernet Franc. A hint of sweetness gives this wine fragrant smells and flavors of strawberry. This red grape sits on the skins for a brief time. The juice is then pressed off to achieve its beautiful color. A semisweet wine pairing with fruit, soft cheese and spicy food.
Beth: This is indeed a semisweet wine, somewhat reminiscent of a White Zinfandel, however nowhere near as sweet (thank goodness). Very fruity undertones of strawberry stay on your tongue throughout each sip, and it finishes on a slightly sweet and tart note.

Hemric Mountain Rosé
DC: Summer Porch Wine. Details to come as this is a new release.
Beth: This is indeed a summer porch wine. This very lightly fruity, very sweet (but not overly so) wine starts with hints of berries and finishes on a very crisp note. A little sweet for me, but definitely something full-flavored yet light for a hot summer eve.

Sweet Riesling
DC: Details to come as this is a new release, however this is the sweet version of the Dry Riesling.
Beth: This sweet wine that starts with delicious pear flavors, has middle notes of citrus and melon, and finishes with a smooth and slightly sweet note that lingers. Very good, but I am biased towards the Dry Riesling a bit… 😉

Let me know if you’ve had their wines, and if you agree/disagree or your thoughts on things. Hope you enjoyed this!

Craft You Later,

NC Wine Touring: Raffaldini Vineyards

Hello again my friends,

In a continuation of the NC Wine Touring reviews, I wanted to share my experience from my friend’s birthday trip of going to Raffaldini Vineyards in Ronda, NC. This is part of the Yadkin Valley wineries, as well as the subset of 5 wineries that make up the Swan Creek AVA. This is one of the prettiest vineyards I’ve been to, without a doubt, from the Tuscan-style Villa to the deck overlooking the actual vineyard to the gardens on the walk up to the Villa. Gorgeous.

Raffaldini Vineyards Stone Garden and Pond!

Raffaldini Vineyards in Ronda started its journey around year 2000, planting 40 acres of varietals between 2003-2005. Some of the varietals are so rare that Raffaldini Vineyards is either the first vineyard in the United States or the only on the East Coast to grow them. Steeped in Italian history and heritage, Raffaldini has the marketing motto “Chianti in the Carolinas” and the family motto “Audentes Fortuna Iuvat” (translation: ‘Fortune Favors the Daring’).

Raffaldini Vineyards ‘Creek’!

Raffaldini Vineyards Piazza!

For the Wine Tasting, only 2 of the 5 of us partook because the wines are typically more on the dry side. So Lisa and I decided to be the victims who were chosen to try these wines, take one for the team so-to-speak. Heh. Darn. Just twist my arm a bit harder, please…. (Lisa & I both have a real love for the drier and more robust wines, if you couldn’t tell from my sarcasm there.)

Raffaldini Vineyards make a gorgeous backdrop for our group!

So here is the tasting we did, with the notes from Raffaldini followed by my thoughts, in order of tasting.

2011 Pinot Grigio
R: Light to medium-bodied and crisp, aromas and flavors of apple and mineral. Italy’s most popular white wine [varietal].
Beth: Slightly peach fragrance, apple undertones throught, and a crisp finish.

2010 Vermentino
R: Clean, versatile, full-bodied white wine.
Beth: Tropical and citrus undertones, with a crisp start and a smooth finish. Yum.

2011 Girasole Rosé
R: A complex aroma of berries, and raspberry and  strawberry flavors balance acidity and a medium-bodied, clean, dry finish.
Beth: Tart mineral undertone similar to stainless-barrelled Chardonnay, with dry berry overtones and a slightly sweet finish.

2009 Sangiovese
R: “Chianti” style, medium-bodied ruby-red colored wine with hints of rhubarb and strawberries, and cherry dominating the palate.
Beth: Sweet cherry smelling, oak undertone, slightly subtle hint of strawberry-rhubarb, and a slightly dry finish.

Il Mezzogiorno
R: A blackberry, black raspberry, currant and rhubarb medium-bodied wine with rich fruit and oak flavors leading up to a long, lingering spicy finish.
Beth: Very smooth start and finish, with a heavy currant, berry and rhubarb middle making it slightly tart but still sweet, and a spiced finish that leaves a pleasant taste on the tongue. This was one of my 2 favorite wines from Raffaldini. Delicious!

2009 Riserva
R: Smoky, savory and warming red wine with dark cherry flavors.
Beth: Very smooth start with a smoked oak flavor undertone, and overtones of dark cherries, finishing with a smooth flourish.

Bella Misto
R: Full-bodied, jammy red fruit and earthy aromas.
Beth: This was a very dry red that had very raspberry-jam flavors throughout, with undertones in aroma of almost a dry clay to finish the sip.

La Doce Vita
R: With intense aromas of floral lychee, orange peel and cardamom, and a smooth and sweet Moscato d’Asti style, this is a juicy explosion of fruit like biting into ripe kiwi or plump peaches.
Beth: This was my other favorite wine from Raffaldini. This was delicious, and surprising. The best way I can describe it is like a dry sparkling wine was split down the middle by a sweet grape juice, and the resulting effect leaves a light kiwi bubble on your tongue. I bought a bottle for a friend’s wedding that’s coming up, because I know they’ll love it.

So that is the Raffaldini Vineyards “secondo me” for today, and I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts on my thoughts, this wine if you’ve ever had it, or my blog in general. Love to hear from you!

Craft You Later,

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