Spring Wine Dinner at Raffaldini Vineyards

It was a perfect spring day, bright and sunny with moderate temperatures. It was the perfect day to visit Raffaldini Vineyards for their spring wine dinner. Sticking with the Four Seasons theme, Raffaldini Vineyards offers a wine tasting dinner four times a year, each pairing with the season. This past weekend, they celebrated spring with four courses both inside and out, paired with four wines that show what it means to be “Chianti in the Carolinas”.

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Spring Wine Dinner

Since the weather was perfect and the season was right, the first course was served al fresco.  As the guests arrived, they were greeted with a spread of various antipasti.  Assorted cheeses, marinated mushrooms, and a polenta pesto chicken tartlet were among the assorted appetizers. While we noshed on the small bites, we sipped on the 2015 Vermentino Superiore. In true Italian style, we sipped and savored on the antipasti until the sun started to set; then we made our way inside.

For il primo, we gradually made our way back inside. Before the first course was brought to the tables, Jay Raffaldini said a few words of thanks to those in attendance and told us a about the food and wine we were about to enjoy. The first course was celletani pasta with Amatriciana sauce paired with the 2013 Sangiovese Riserva. Per the typical cena we helped ourselves to the two bottles that were brought to the table while the plates were being brought to us. The pasta dish topped with a fresh and flavorful tomato sauce that had a slight hint of a smokey bacon.  The wine paired well as it too was a bit lighter with delicate tannins and a mild earthy finish.

The plates were cleared and once again, Jay took the floor to talk about il secondi and our next wine, which we were all eagerly awaiting.  As Jay was talking to us about the 2013 Montepulciano Riserva, a magnum (that’s 1.5 L or the equivalent of 2 normal bottles) was brought to each table for us to enjoy.  The stuffed chicken breast with grilled asparagus and shallot potatoes were rustic enough to provide a pleasing balance to the bold Montepulciano Riserva, which offered robust dried fruits and a complex finish.

We ended the meal with la dolce which was a delightful strawberry panna cotta with a chocolate balsamic glaze paired with the La Befana, their ice-wine style sweet treat. Some diners still had a bit of Montepulciano left over which paired perfectly with the strawberries and chocolate. By the tim we were enjoying our dessert, the sun had long since set. Several guests decided to take their desserts outside to enjoy under the stars to enjoy the fresh spring evening. Cookies and coffee were brought out afterward to help us digest and close out the evening.

Looking back on the evening, we definitely had a good time. If you missed the spring wine dinner at Raffaldini Vineyards, you’ll have more opportunities throughout the year (after all, it’s only spring)! Read in for our wine tasting notes



tasting notes

2015 Vermentino Superiore – This Bold white wine is full of flavor and perfectly refreshing on a warm spring day. The nose had vibrant notes of apricots, preserved lemons, and a subtle hint of fresh herbs. The favors were smooth and even with a mild acidic backbone. We thought this wine paired perfectly with the polenta pesto tartlet.

2013 Sangiovese Riserva – A full-bodied, yet gentle red wine that unfolds with each sip. The nose is of dried red fruits like cherries and currents. Tucked in the background is a delicate floral note, highlighting violets and sage. The flavors are well-rounded, starting again with the red fruits, then it quickly moves to a mildly earthy mid-palate.  The savory tannins on the finish provide for a long and tasty experience.

2013 Montepulciano Riserva – This bold red wine is a surprise in a glass. On its own, it drinks very well, bringing to the front dried plums and a rich and savory mid-palate. The finish is long and drawn out that leaves the mouth wanting more.  When paired with foods the wine has a way of opening up even more without overshadowing the food.



Springtime is upon us.

The birds celebrate her return with festive song,

and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.

Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,

Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Spring


Raffaldini Vineyards is located in Rhonda, NC.

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Posted by Matt Kemberling

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