I was surprised with a phone call from The Wine Feed off Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, NC on Friday, February 14th. Wine had been selected for me and was available for pick-up. I was grinning into the phone, filled with the same jubilation as a child who has just found out school is cancelled tomorrow, and it’s the Friday, of a three day weekend… Get my drift?
Come to find out – it was three wines. (Kid – school cancelled – giant chocolate cake)
Lyric by Etude – Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA 2012
Lyric was enjoyable without food. I opened it simply to taste before going out for a meal and loved how lively the wine tasted. Young as it is, Lyric’s fruitful aroma certainly was not lost. Notes of spice and toasted nuts were a nice addition to the soft tannins. Certainly this wine could be paired well with food, though I used it as my “getting ready” aperitif.
Ripasso by Corte Majoli – Valpolicella, Verona, Italy 2010
Valpolicella is fantastic. I’ve always liked it, even if it isn’t as well know as Montelpulciano or Chianti. Valpolicella is known for strong cherry notes on the palate and this one from Corte Majoli did not let me down. I love how fruit forward Italian wines can be. This wine was fairly low in tannins, so would be a great choice for anyone who hasn’t come around to the big, bold reds. (Corvina is the variety of grape for Valpolicella)
Domaine de Fenouillet – Ventoux, Rhone, France 2012
Ventoux is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. The Ventoux appellation is in the Rhone, France. This red blend was bigger than the other two. The dark fruits and herbal flavors stand up well to luscious, well-prepared meats with herb marinades. This 2012 could stand to stay in the bottle a few years longer, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it even at just two years old.
Hope you had a wonderful February! Keep the red wines coming, it’s not spring yet. And perhaps try some of these appellations/regions/grapes that you haven’t heard of – they will surprise you.
If you know anything about North Carolina you know it’s riddled with the smallest towns you’ve ever driven through, making you buckle your seatbelt, roll up the windows and re-lock the doors (just to be sure). Before GPS, you’d have asked yourself if your final destination was worth it and “maybe we should turn back?” After GPS, you’re still wondering if your iPhone isn’t just playing a joke (certainly this road isn’t a highway?). However, if we had turned back we would have missed a little gem situated amongst cow pastures and corn fields; Grove Winery and Vineyards – Gibsonville, NC.
Though I didn’t know it until now, I’m a sucker for those real North Carolinian events; the ones that make me proud to live here, maybe even to be called ‘Southern’ *gasp*. Wondering what constitutes a “real” North Carolinian event?
- Beards (there were many, see photo above)
- BBQ (a smoker full of ribs and chicken, collards and hushpuppies on the side)
- Music (any instrument with strings)
- Tasty Beverages (Wine, beer, shine? not here)
- Outdoor Venues
The Red, White and Blues Festival at Grove Winery though an hour and a half’s drive from Raleigh opened before us with grape vines, seating area, tasting room and the best weather we could ask for. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, Grove Winery is actually the winery I volunteered for during the Great Grapes festival in Cary 3 years ago. Grove Winery has great wine and they have won loads of awards for them! We sat down to listen to Blues music from some terrific artists, drink a couple bottles and eat some local snacks. Some folks brought their own food items, including cheeses, fruit and a whole
lasagna… Yea, that happened.
We tried Roanoke River Red and Haw River White. The Roanoke River Red is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo and Merlot – tannin-y dark fruits with a hint of spice on the palate, nice with cheese to soften. The Haw River White was 100% Chardonel – an interesting varietal tasting more like Viognier than what you may think would have been Chardonnay. Full and heavy mouthfeel, with a medium-high sugar content. It was a nice aperitif to begin with because it was chilled and easy to drink on its own.
We finished the evening with Traminette (Riesling-esque) flavoured sorbet. Dumping the last of the red in our glasses on top of the sorbet was like icing on the cake! What a brilliant evening with my parents and sister. Chalk up another point for North Carolina wine/wineries!