Wineries and Vineyards

June, 2017 Visit – Leicester, NC Wineries/Vineyards

June, 2017 Visit – Leicester, NC Wineries/Vineyards

We continue a look back at our mid-June wine visit to the Hendersonville / Asheville area.  Day Two took us northwest of Asheville to Leicester, NC.  Leicester is about 30 minutes from downtown Asheville.  It’s an easy and beautiful drive.  Located in Leicester are Fontaine Vineyards and Addison Farms Vineyard.

Fontaine Vineyards

Stunning View at Fontaine Vineyards

After several wrong turns, we made it to Fontaine Vineyards.  This was our first visit!  Google was a bit confused that morning and had us on a wrong road.  We were glad to finally see the main entrance.  As we drove up and around the vineyard we were awestruck by the view.  Mountains were all around.  The vineyard was small and quaint.

Tasting

Jackie, co-owner with her husband Michel, quickly greeted us upon our arrival.  She gave us a quick overview of their story.  Fontaine is focused on growing European grapes (mostly French) and making small allotments of wine.  They also cater to those looking to get married and function several times a month as a wedding venue particularly in the warmer months.

Tastevin used for Tastings at Fontaine Vineyards

The tastings are done inside the wine cellar.  You won’t find a tasting glass here though.  Instead, Jackie presented us with a metal Tastevin from which to drink.  A tastevin is a metal saucer like cup.  Created by Burgundian winemakers to enable them to judge a wine for clarity and color in a dim wine cellar, the tastevin certainly made for a unique tasting experience.

We tasted the following wines:

  • 2016 Merlot – Dark cherry and plum greeted you on the nose and carried through to the palate.  This wine was somewhat jammy yet quite tannic.  We left with a bottle of this.
  • 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – Soft cherry and black currant describe this wine well.  It also had some woodiness on the palate.
  • 2015 Riesling – A floral nose gave way to a fruity palate and just a touch of sweetness.  Soft and delicate also come to mind when describing this wine.

Crêpes

Ham & Cheese Crêpe at Fontaine Vineyards

Jackie and Michel make crêpes for their guests.  You can choose from savory or sweet.  We went the savory route and had a delicious ham and cheese crêpe while seated on the patio.  The crêpe was just as you would hope to find from a native French cook.  Jackie gladly poured us a glass of the yet to be release Pinot Noir Rosé.  It turned out to be our favorite wine.   The nose smelled of overripe strawberries while watermelon predominated the palate.  Sadly, we couldn’t take any with us.

As we finished out our glass, Jackie pointed out that in the distance you could see Addison Farms and clearly a storm headed that way.  We wrapped up our visit in hopes of making it to Addison Farms before the storm did.

Addison Farms Vineyard

Addison Farms Road Sign

Addison Farms is only about five minutes away from Fontaine.  However, we did not beat the storm.  Luckily, the rain was not heavy, so we ventured inside.

Tasting

We began our tasting with a couple of unique wines from Alchemy Herbal Wine.  These wines are meads made with honey, herbs, and spices.  Griffin Abee, the meadmaker, works with the fine folks at Addison Farms.  We encourage you to try these refreshing and unique wines!

Alchemy Herbal Wine – Love

Here are our notes for the herbal wines:

  • Love – This mead is made with honey (of course), pomegranate juice, rose petals, ginger, cardamon, vanilla, and damiana.  A floral nose with hints of ginger and cardamon gave way to a slightly sweet and refreshing palate with just a hint of tartness.
  • Prosperity – This mead is made with honey, cinnamon, clove, star anise, nutmeg, and allspice.  The nose gave spices with a bit of a woodiness and a good smell of honey.  The palate was tart and woody as well.  We enjoyed both of these.

We then moved on to Addison Farms’ wines to finish the tasting.  Here are our notes:

  • 2015 Crown & Plough Rosé of Sangiovese – We loved this wine.  We came home with a bottle.  A strawberry nose with strawberry and raspberry on the palate make for a delightful rosé.  The palate is also slightly tart with good acidity.
  • 2013 Mischief – Tempranillo – Vanilla, leather, cherry, and a touch of caramel show both on the nose and on the palate.  Pair this with lighter Spanish dishes.
  • 2014 Five Twenty-Nine – Barbera – We adore Barbera and this one is one of the best in NC.  It was part of the NC Fine Wines Case for 2017.  Cocoa and black currant invite you on the nose.  Warm cherry with more cocoa and black currant carry through on the palate.
  • 2013 Coming Home – Cabernet Sauvignon – Notes of pepper and spice show on the nose.  Tart cherry with some leather present on the palate.
  • Smokehouse Red – This is a blend of Chambourcin and Sangiovese.  Cocoa and cherry scents greet you on the nose.  The cherry continues on the palate along with vanilla, caramel, and slight hit of smoke.
  • Gratitude – This port-style wine is made from Chambourcin.  Mocha and raspberry are key descriptors here.  When paired with dark chocolate notes of caramel appear.

Tour with Jeff

Jeff Frisbee, co-owner along with his wife Dianne, arrived in the Tasting Room during our tasting.  He was supposed to give a tour at 2pm, but the tour folks were no shows.  Luckily for us, that meant we got the tour with just ourselves and Jeff.  Also, luckily, the rain had stopped.  We headed out for a walk to the the winery.

Addison Farms is very much a family operation.  Jeff and Dianne started this vineyard as a way to preserve Jeff’s family’s farm which once belonged to his maternal grandparents.  The first acre of vines was planted in 2009.  Another acre and a half was planted in 2010.  Currently, six acres are under vine.  Cabernet Sauvignon was the first planted.  Also, in the vineyard are Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Montepulicano, Petit Verdot, and Petit Manseng.  In addition, they manage two additional acres in Leicester and purchase fruit from other North Carolina growers.

Vineyards at Addison Farms

After the visit to the winery where Jeff walked us through crush, we head to the vineyard.  Jeff strives to make food friendly wines and makes his picking decisions based on acid rather than Brix. He produces around 1000 cases a year.  The business plan calls for having 10 acres under vine.  He says Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc are the easiest to deal with in the vineyard.

Barrels in the Barrel Room at Addison Farms

We ended our tour in the barrel room which sits under the tasting room.  The barrel room has space for 50-60 barrels while another 25 or so are in the winery itself.

We finished the tour and returned to the tasting room to make our purchases and say our goodbyes.

The next time you’re in the Asheville area, be sure to carve out time to visit Leicester and these unique vineyards.  Tell them we sent you.

You can find details of our day one adventures to Burntshirt Vineyards and Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards on our blog.  Cheers!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
June, 2017 – Visit to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

June, 2017 – Visit to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

We continue a look back at our mid-June wine visit to the Hendersonville / Asheville area.  Our second stop was Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards.

Saint Paul Mountain is located in Hendersonville.  Luckily for us, it’s also near our first stop of the day, Burntshirt Vineyards.  This made for a quick trip.

As we drove by the old family barn, the future home of Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Ciders, we saw a bustle of activity and hoped to be able to get a tour of the progress.  We parked at Saint Paul Mountain just as Barbara, the tasting room manager, was about to leave.  Luckily for us, she stopped when she saw us.  We chatted for a bit and then started walking over to the barn.

 

Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Ciders

Appalachian Ridge is a new cider bar that will be opening soon.  Not only will it have artisan hard ciders, it will also have some artisan spirits including their take on Calvados, an Apple Brandy.  We toured the main bar area upstairs.  Then we went downstairs to see some private rooms that have been created from old stables.  Finally, we headed back outside to the new deck.  The large deck contains a full covered bar and has a beautiful view of the orchard.

Hundreds of newly planted apple tree from Normandy

The orchard itself is undergoing a bit of transformation with the addition of hundreds of apple trees from Normandy.  Like vinifera grape vines, these European apple trees are grafted onto American rootstock to allow them to thrive in the North Carolina soil.

The restoration of the barn and the changes since our last visit are amazing.  Keep your eyes out for the Grand Opening announcement.  You won’t want to miss it!

 

Tasting with Fran

We finally reached the tasting room and took a seat.  We were glad to find our favorite band teacher / wine taster working that day.  We met Fran a couple of years ago at the North Carolina Winegrowers Association Conference.  Fran has a bubbly personality and quick wit that will keep you in stitches.  She lead us through a full tasting.  Below are some of our notes.

White Wines and Dry Cider

  • 2015 Chardonnay – This stainless steel aged Chardonnay presented crisp and clean with notes of apple and pineapple.
  • 2015 Barrel Aged Chardonnay – This Chardonnay spent 10 months in French oak.  It had a buttered apple nose with notes of apple, pear, and light oak on the palate.
  • 2015 Vidal Blanc – This wine had a nice acidity with notes of orange and lemon along with tart green apple.
  • 2015 Laurel Hill – This is also a Vidal Blanc, but it has just a touch (2%) of residual sugar.  The nose showed pure orange peel.  The palate gave Meyer lemon and key lime.
  • 2016 Centennial Farm Heritage – This dry Riesling had a classic Riesling nose with a hint of petrol, commonly found with Riesling.  The palate presented big grapefruit.  Nicely tart, this was our favorite white.
  • 2016 Lower Vineyard – Another Riesling but this one had just a touch of residual sugar (1.5%).  The nose was floral with lots of citrus.  The flavors of sweet peach and honeysuckle predominated.
  • 2015 Rosarie – This slightly effervescent rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon had notes of strawberry and a hint of caramel.
  • Wallace #1 Artisan Hard Cider – The original hard cider produced by Saint Paul Mountain is made from seven different varieties of apple with strong apple flavors from nose to palate.

Red Wines

  • 2015 Queen – A Cabernet Franc which spent 6 months in oak, presented cherry and vanilla on the nose with cherry flavors carrying through to the palate.
  • 2014 Chestnut East Reserve – A red blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah, leather and oak showed on the nose.  The palate had flavors of cherry, plum, and caramel.  This was our favorite wine overall.
  • Jasper – Another red blend but this one has Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  Notes of plum, vanilla, and cherry showed on the nose.  The cherry and vanilla carried over the palate with a smooth finish.
  • 2013 Petit Verdot – This was another favorite of the reds.  With a caramel nose and smooth dark plum on the palate, it kept us wanting more.

Dessert Wines

  • Chestnut Gap Cottage – Our first dessert wine and made from 100% blackberries.  It showed those blackberries from nose to palate.  The pairing with dark chocolate just intensified the blackberry flavor.
  • Home Place – This is another 100% blackberry wine, but unlike the previous one, this one has been back-sweetened.  The blackberry was more pronounced on the nose than the Chestnut Gap Cottage and obviously the palate was more sweet.
  • Vin Chocolate Du Barrista – This was our favorite dessert wine.  The wine begins with a Merlot base that is infused with coffee, white chocolate, and vanilla.  Coffee predominates on the nose.  The palate is a playful dance between coffee and cherry.

Visit with Alan

Following our tasting with Fran, we took a minute to visit with Alan Ward.  He is the owner and visionary of both Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards and Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Ciders.   We discussed a variety of wine, cider and spirit topics.  Alan has a great vision for growing his business and the North Carolina Wine, Cider, and Spirits industry.  Those industries are fortunate to have someone like Alan!

Vineyards outside Saint Paul Mountain’s Tasting Room

We said our goodbyes and headed to the see Fran once more to purchase some wine to take back with us.  This concluded our day in Hendersonville, and we headed for Asheville.  Stay tuned next week for the final blog on this trip!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
June, 2017 –  Visit to Burntshirt Vineyards

June, 2017 – Visit to Burntshirt Vineyards

In mid-June, we planned a weekend getaway.  We headed to the Hendersonville / Asheville area.  The trip allowed us to relax, visit a “new to us” winery, and revisit other wineries in the area.  Here are some of the highlights from our visit to Burntshirt Vineyards, our first stop of the weekend.

After we parked, André, the new general manager at Burtshirt, promptly greeted us.  He then took us inside to get started on our tasting.  Burntshirt always treats the blogging community as honored guests.  They’re so hospitable and accommodating.

Tasting

We began our tasting with the 2015 Grüner Veltliner.  Burntshirt is possibly the only vineyard growing and producing a standalone varietal from Grüner.  The tart apple notes with a bit of peach made for a refreshing start to our tasting.  We then moved on to the 2016 Vidal Blanc followed by the 2013 O Cellars Reserve Chardonnay.

Next, we moved to red wines and started with the 2014 O Cellars Reserve Cabernet Franc.  We followed that with the 2015 O Cellars Reserve Heritage and the 2015 O Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  We finished with the 2014 Apple wine.

Our favorite was the Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot making up the other 14%.  It had been aged nearly 2 years in 75% new French Oak.  It presented notes of tobacco, cocoa, leather and dark cherry.  This cab finished even and smooth!  We left with a bottle.

The Horse Barn at Burntshirt Vineyards

Tour

Following our tasting André took us on a little tour of the grounds.  We saw gardens, the Vintner’s Cottage (which you can rent for an overnight stay), and the Shed (where you can find unique gifts).  We particularly enjoyed the visit to the Horse Barn which has been refurbished into an event space.

Our next stop on the tour was the winery itself.  There we met Preston, Burntshirt’s new winemaker.  Preston took us on a little tasting tour.  We sampled white wines from the tank.  These wines were used in a white wine blending event that was held at the end of June.  We tasted through the 2016 Vidal Blanc, 2016 Chardonnay, and 2016 Traminette.  All were vibrant and crisp with good acidity.

We then moved on to reds.  First, we tasted a free run 2016 Merlot from the tank.  It had big oak notes with plum and caramel.  Finally, we moved to the crush pad were we sampled the 2016 Merlot again straight from the barrel.  It showed more fruity and light then the free run merlot.

As a side note, free run is the juice that flows during crushing and de-stemming but just before pressing.  Typically free run juice is combined with pressed juice for the final product.

Wine Barrels at Burntshirt Vineyards

We thanked Preston for the tour of the winery and André for being such a gracious host.  We made our purchases and headed on to our next stop.

If you haven’t visited Burntshirt, please plan a visit!  You won’t be disappointed.  Tell them we sent you! Cheers!

 

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
NC Wineries Perfect for Summer Picnicking!

NC Wineries Perfect for Summer Picnicking!

Summer is the perfect time for a picnic!  It’s also the perfect time for wine.  Why not combine the two for a wonderful afternoon of fun?  Just pack your picnic basket and head to any of these wineries (or others in the state).  Here are some of our suggestions (in no particular order) for great wine and picnic adventures.

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Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard & Winery – Lawndale, NC
Baker Buffalo Creek is located in Lawndale, NC just northwest of Shelby in Cleveland County.  An old dairy farm that’s now a vineyard.  Its red barn has been featured in in a couple Hillshire Farms commercials.  Picnic in the sun, under a shade tree or underneath the covered porch or milk barn.  For wine, we recommend the Barrel-Aged Chardonnnay!  It’s always a crowd-pleaser.

Silver Fork Vineyard & Winery – Morganton, NC
Silver Fork sits near the South Mountains in Burke County. The view is stellar any time of year. Also, you don’t even have to pack a picnic here.  Enjoy the fantastic food from Farm to Fork Eatery.  You won’t be disappointed.  For wine, we recommend the Chardonnay which comes from some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in the state!

Roaring River Vineyards – Traphill, NC
Roaring River sits right on the Roaring River not far from Stone Mountain State Park.  If you’re looking for a serene getaway, this is for you.  Sit on the deck by the river and listen to the water flow.  And don’t worry about being interrupted by a phone call.  Your cell phone probably won’t work here.  As an added bonus, food is available from their onsite restaurant, so “picnic” while enjoying full service.  We recommend the Viognier for your wine choice!

Parker-Binns Vineyard & Winery – Mill Spring, NC
Parker-Binns is located in Polk County between Forest City and Hendersonville and not far from Lake Lure.  Enjoy views of the vineyard and surrounding mountains.  If you come on Sundays, enjoy free wood fired pizza from the oven.  There’s often live music too.  And say cheese, as you’re bound to get your photo taken for sharing on Parker-Binns Facebook page.  We recommend the Rosé which will pair with anything you’re eating!

Hanover Park Vineyard – Yadkinville, NC
Hanover Park is the oldest winery in Yadkin County and oldest continuously operated winery in the Yadkin Valley.  Enjoy a picnic out in the sun or under one of the large, old shade trees near the over 100 year old farmhouse which serves as the tasting room.  We recommend the Viognier.  It goes perfectly with a warm summer day.

Davesté Vineyards – Troutman, NC
Davesté Vineyards is located in Troutman, NC near Lake Norman. Picnic underneath the trees or under the covered pavilion. Live music is often featured. There’s also Davesté beer for those who prefer beer to wine.  For the wine choice, we recommend the Rkatsiteli!  Davesté is the only winery in North Carolina which produces an estate Rkatsiteli.

What are your favorite wine and picnic spots?  Leave us a comment or share with us on social media.  And on social media, don’t forget #NCWine!

Cheers!

Posted by Joe Brock in Food, Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
July Tour of Five Yadkin Valley Wineries

July Tour of Five Yadkin Valley Wineries

The first weekend in July, we decided to make our way to a few Yadkin Valley wineries.  Although we didn’t get to wine each day of the weekend, we were able to make it on Friday and Saturday. Read on for a recap of our visits to Hanover Park Vineyards, Childress Vineyards, Junius Lindsay Vineyards, RayLen Vineyards, and Misty Creek Vineyards.

Empty bottles at Hanover Park

After an evening of tasting library wines, there’s bound to be a few empty bottles.

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Holiday Dinner at Hanover Park

Holiday Dinner at Hanover Park

Another weekend, another wine dinner.  This time we had the pleasure of attending the annual holiday dinner at Hanover Park Vineyard.  Each December, Hanover Park throws a holiday celebration for its wine club members as a thank you for their loyalty and for always being there to support the winery.

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Posted by Matt Kemberling in featured, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
Flint Hill Vineyards Autumn Wine Dinner

Flint Hill Vineyards Autumn Wine Dinner

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of attending the Autumn Wine Dinner at Flint Hill Vineyards.  There are several reasons why you should consider going to events like these.  Not only do they offer a unique experience of the winery after hours, they also give you the opportunity to see what the winemaker feels would be a good pairing for their wines.  This dinner didn’t disappoint on either expectation.

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Posted by Matt Kemberling in featured, Wineries and Vineyards, 1 comment
Piccione Grand Opening

Piccione Grand Opening

This past weekend was the grand opening for Piccione Vineyards.  The newest vineyard in Wilkes county is keeping it close to their Italian neighbors (Raffaldini Vineyards, that is).  Established in 2010, Dr. Bill Piccione of Chicago decided to embrace the red clay terrain and plant primarily Italian varietals.  With 16 acres under vine and plenty of room to expand, Piccione Vineyards has helped expand the Little Italy of the Appalachian foothills.

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Posted by Matt Kemberling in Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
Sunday Adventures #5

Sunday Adventures #5

Sundays are wine adventure days for us. We typically invite a few friends to join us as we expand their horizons of the NC wine scene. Although we did invite a friend, we didn’t get a confirmation. So instead of letting a Sunday go to waste, we continued on ourselves. 

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Posted by Matt Kemberling in Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
Summer Wine Pick Up at Raffaldini

Summer Wine Pick Up at Raffaldini

This past weekend was the wine pick up for Raffaldini Vineyards. Over the past seven years, Raffaldini has grown a loyal following. This is due not only to the great wine that they produce, but also because owner and winemaker Jay Raffaldini shows such passion for what he does.   Twice a year, Jay and his team holds a wine pick up party for his wine club members. At each pick up there are six bottles of wine, a sampling of new releases paired with authentic Italian food, and a short info session about the happenings at the winery and what’s next.

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Posted by Matt Kemberling in Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments