Wine Tips of the Week - In SEARCH for Chardonnay and NC Wineries
Dean and Lisa Foster
In this issue, we'd like your recommendations about Chardonnay!
In SEARCH of Chardonnay
On the Road Again - North Carolina Wineries
We've written about North Carolina's Yadkin Valley AVA wineries and wines in the past. Yes, good wine is made in North Carolina, especially in the Yadkin Valley. Because of its (high) elevation, the temperatures and growing season enable vineyard managers and wine makers to grow and produce some excellent viniferas and a few good French-American hybrids.
Recently, we made the trip south again and by the time we reached the VA/NC border on Interstate 77, we couldn't resist the craving and temptation to stop at a few Yadkin Valley wineries. Besides, we needed wine for our week away from home and were craving Chardonnay (hmmm). Why buy from a liquor store when so many wineries are inviting you to visit (highway signs aggressively promote wineries in VA and NC)?
This trip, we only stopped at three wineries, although in the past we have stopped at MANY wineries in VA and most of those in northern NC, the Yadkin Valley AVA, along I-77.
First across the border heading south, we stopped at Round Peak Vineyards. Round Peak has become one of our favorites. Good wine, very friendly tasting staff (usually one of the owners, husband and wife), and they are DOG FRIENDLY with a cute "dog yard" next to the winery, providing a shady spot for Rohan, our doggie companion.
Round Peak produces a line of dry whites and reds which we have enjoyed and purchased over and over. They often sell out (see their website for a painful illustration), so we've often missed some of their best. But, we've always found a few wines worth taking with us. They also produce a line of sweeter wines, using the Skull Camp label, for those who like their wine on the sweeter side. And, just recently they've started BREWING BEER and putting two on tap at a time. We really enjoyed a sample of Kolsch-style beer. Regrettably, they had not received their shipment of growlers yet so we had to go on our way without the beer. However, we were satisfied (very) with a few wines including a wonderful Chardonnay, a tasty dry rose (made with Cabernet Franc). Usually, Dean doesn't like roses, even the better dry ones, but this Cab Franc Rose was excellent.
Next down the road is Shelton Vineyards. Shelton is a big name in NC, and this is a huge wine operation. The tasting room has to be one of the largest on the East Coast. But, despite their size, they produce good wines and employ a friendly staff. And, there is a very nice restaurant on the property (too often, we forget to eat while on our wine trips).
Yep, we bought another Chardonnay for our trip. Too bad we don't like sweet Riesling. Cases of their "American Riesling" were on sale for $6 per bottle. Unheard of. Several years ago we lucked out and bought a case of mixed, dry, excellent reds for about $10 a bottle. While not usually this inexpensive, Shelton has about the most reasonable wine prices we've found at any winery (on the East Coast).
Our last (but not least) stop this trip in the Yadkin Valley was Dobbins Creek Vineyards. Dobbins Creek is one of five vineyards/wineries within the Swan Creek Association (a sub-area of the Yadkin Valley AVA) all within five miles of each other. We've stopped at all of these wineries at one time or another and have several favorites among them. This trip, we favored their dry Riesling, Chardonnay of course, and the wonderful, dry Hemric Mountain Rose made from Cabernet Franc.
And, the view from the front porch is AMAZING. Even if you don't drink wine, take drive up the mountain and take a look over the valley. WOW!
Enough already. Time for a glass (or two) of wine!