Wine

Davesté Vineyards Rkatsiteli Vertical Tasting

Davesté Vineyards’ Tasting Room

We recently held a vertical tasting of Rkatsiteli from Davesté Vineyards in Troutman, NC.  We first reviewed Davesté’s Rkatsiteli several years ago (Previous Review).  Davesté produces the only known single variety Rkatsiteli in North Carolina.  It’s become their signature wine.

Davesté opened in September, 2007.  The grapes were first planted in 2005.  Owners Dave and Ester DeFehr, whose combined first names are the inspiration for the Davesté’s name, first began plans for the vineyard and winery in 2003.  Land was purchased in 2004.  Today, in addition to Rkatsiteli, Davesté grows Traminette and Chambourcin.  Most other fruit is sourced locally within North Carolina with some coming from Virginia and California.  

Rkatsiteli grapes nearly ready for harvest at Davesté Vineyards

Rkatsiteli is thought of have originated in the country of Georgia and is believed to be one of oldest vinifera varieties.  It’s typically known for producing high acid wines.  It’s gaining popularity in the Finger Lakes region of New York and in Virginia.  

We inquired how Rkatsiteli does here in North Carolina.  Winemaker Leslie Johnson tells us, “In the vineyard, Rkatsiteli is pretty easy to manage. It likes to grow straight up instead of sprawling like a hybrid. The main disease we fight every year is downy mildew for this varietal. We like to harvest these grapes a bit earlier than others to help retain the acidity.”  

She added, “In the past, all of our Rkatsiteli has been fermented and aged in stainless steel. With our increased yields in 2019, we currently have some Rkatsiteli aging in French oak barrels to try something new.”  We can’t wait to taste a barrel aged Rkasiteli!

We tasted the 2015 – 2018 vintages of Rkatsiteli from Davesté.  Here are our notes and information about each wine.

2015

  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 12.5% Alcohol
  • Bronze Medal Winner at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition
  • Nose:  Pear, lemon rind, and honey
  • Palate:  Bruised pear, preserved lemon rind, pithy
  • Finish:  Medium

2016

  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • Nose:  Faint pear and light honey; Delicate and refined
  • Palate:  Fresh pear and zesty lemon
  • Finish:  Medium+
  • Favorite overall

2017

  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 12.8% Alcohol
  • Double Gold Medal Winner at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition and Silver Medal Winner at NC State Fair
  • Nose:  Floral, minerally, and honeysuckle
  • Palate: Minerally with notes of lemon
  • Finish:  Short and tart

2018

  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 12.8% Alcohol
  • Silver Medal Winner at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition and Double Gold Medal Winner at NC State Fair
  • Nose:  Perfumy, pronounced honeysuckle, sweet pear
  • Palate:  Rose petals, lemon, lime, fresh and vibrant
  • Finish:  Medium+

Davesté suggests pairing their Rkatsiteli with pad Thai, shrimp scampi, or chèvre.  We had spinach pie, roasted vegetables with a lemon tahini sauce and various cheeses.  Rkatsiteli should do well with most vegetables and seafood.

If you’ve ever in the Troutman / Lake Norman area, stop by and visit Davesté.  Their beautiful grounds are the perfect place to relax.  In addition to wine, Davesté produces beer and has many live music events throughout the year, but be sure to pick up a bottle of Rkatsiteli while you’re there!

Cheers!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
Wright Wine Sanctuary

Wright Wine Sanctuary

In this episode we sit down with John Wright of Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg, NC.  Growing grapes on the coast may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Currituck and the Outer Banks, but Sanctuary Vineyards is proving that you can grow European style grapes and make some top quality wine.

John talks about how this really is a labor of love.  He is constantly pouring time and energy back into the vines.  He treats each vine with careful attention and it clearly shows in the final product.  John really enjoys experimenting and is enjoys listening to the environment to learn what really grows well and produces the best wine possible.  

We hope you enjoy this episode.  If you like what you’re hearing, be sure to leave us a rating and review!  

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments

Jones von Drehle Petit Manseng Revisited

We have been big fans of Petit Manseng since the first time we tasted it at Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery some years ago.  This small grape can produce a full bodied high alcohol wine.  It’s often called the red drinker’s white wine.

We did a Spotlight on Petit Manseng in North Carolina in July, 2017.  In that post, we had tasted through the 2013, 2014, and 2015 vintages of Petit Manseng from Jones von Drehle in addition to giving a bit of information about Petit Manseng itself.  This time around, we were fortunate enough to add the 2012 vintage, the first vintage, and the 2016 vintage to the mix, so we tasted 2012 – 2016.  And we should note, all bottles were purchased for this tasting.

We decided to change things up this time.  We did this tasting blind.  We also added a wine from the Southwest of France to the mix.  This wine was a 2011 iLori Les Jonquilles from Domaine Brana.  Made from fruit grown in the Irouleguy appellation, it is a blend of Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, and Petit Corbu.  Bottles were covered in foil by one of us.  The other randomly assigned a number.  Friends arrived and the tasting began.

We used a chalk board to record feedback on the wines.  We discussed the nose, palate, and finish.  We tried to guess the year or whether the wine was the French one.  We didn’t do so well on the guesses of the vintages, but the last wine was clearly different than the others.  This was a big clue that it was not solely Petit Manseng.  Interestingly enough, that wine was by far the least favorite of the group.  Our impressions of it did improve when we paired it with a savory tomato cobbler.

Our group thought wine 1 was young with notes of apricot, citrus, and pineapple.  We guessed it might be the 2016 vintage.  It turned out to be the 2013.  It seems this wine might have a few years to go.

Wine 2 had more notes of pineapple and apricot.  We found banana and an herbaceous note along with a hint of minerality.  We incorrectly guessed this to be the 2014.  It was in fact the 2012.  This wine is still showing beautifully.

Wine 3 had a subtle nose.  The palate gave us mandarin orange and pineapple.  We found the finish was hot.  We thought, for that reason, it might be the 2015 which clocked in at 15.6% alcohol.  It was in fact the 2016.  

We missed numbering wine 4 on the chalk board.  This one was different than the others.  There was lots of stewed stone fruit notes.  Think peaches or nectarines.  Someone got a crème brûlée note on the finish.  A few thought this might be the French wine, but we weren’t so sure.  It turned out to be the 2014.

Wine 5 presented a yeasty note with pear and green apple.  It was silky and soft.  We thought it might be the 2012.  It turned out to be the 2015.  We were surprised by this.  We didn’t feel it was hot at all which is surprising given that 15.6% alcohol.  This one was a definite favorite.

We finally made it to the last wine, #6.  This one was clearly different.  It was green and seemed old.  The finish was astringent.  We were pretty sure this was indeed the French wine.  And we were right.  This was the least favorite of the group.

Once we finished tasting through all the wines, we did the reveals and then enjoyed some food and a bit more of our favorites.

We look forward to exploring more Petit Manseng in the future!  

To learn more about Jones von Drehle, check out our first episode of Cork Talk where we sat down with Chuck and Diana Jones.

Cheers!

 

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
NC Wine Goes Urban

NC Wine Goes Urban

This conversation takes us to plēb Urban Winery in Asheville, NC to celebrate their 1st anniversary party!  Learn about what it means to truly be an urban winery and make wine more accessible to the masses.  From featuring grapes that grow well, to being more sustainable, plēb is certainly breaking into the Asheville scene and embracing #NCWine.  

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments
From the Board Room & Classroom to the Farm

From the Board Room & Classroom to the Farm

This episode features Chuck and Jamey Johnson of Shadow Springs Vineyard and Windsor Run Cellars.  We discuss how the they traded in the 8 to 5 corporate job for something they’re more passionate about.  Having two wineries that are just over a half mile apart provides many conveniences but also several challenges.  They view the wineries as being alter egos of each other.  Windsor Run Cellars is a bit more adventurous and likes to experiment with fun flavors and innovative beverages.  Shadow Springs Vineyard walks on the more serious side but they still know how to have fun as well.

One thing that comes across in this conversation is how passionate Chuck and Jamey are about the wine industry here in North Carolina.  When they were first getting started, the industry helped them to get their winery up and running.  Now that they’ve been in the business for almost 15 years, they’re looking for ways to “give back” to the industry to help others along the same path.  In many ways they’re still pioneers in the industry, but they’ve definitely left their mark and are looking for ways to contribute more.

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments
Wine, Sangria, and S’mores!

Wine, Sangria, and S’mores!

Bonus Episode!  Banner Elk Winery & Villa is a mainstay of the High Country of North Carolina.  No matter the season, this winery is always a popular destination.  The wines are delicious, the sangrias are a hit in the summer, and who doesn’t love s’mores.  Escape the heat and head to the mountains for a visit!

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments
Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

Laurel Gray Vineyards is located in the Swan Creek AVA, part of the Yadkin Vally in North Carolina.  Listen to the story of Kim and Benny Myers about how they transform Benny’s family farm into a vineyard.  Years of hard work have gone into building the vineyard and winery, and they certainly have a loyal following.  

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 2 comments
From Shine, to Milk, to Wine

From Shine, to Milk, to Wine

We sit with Charles and Ann Edwards of Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards on a warm spring evening.  Listen as they tell us how a family farm transitioned from moonshine to dairy, and is now producing excellent wines. We recorded this episode outside because there’s nothing better than relaxing under the shade trees when you visit. 

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments
Cork Talk with Raffaldini Vineyards

Cork Talk with Raffaldini Vineyards

This episode we chat with Jay Raffaldini from Raffaldini Vineyards. We discuss how Jay discovered his property and has put a lot of effort into bringing a bit of Chianti to North Carolina. Jay wants his visitors to relax and enjoy what he calls the exhale moment because as he says, “Life is meant to be slow.”

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 5 comments