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Carolina Blue – A Trifecta of NC Wineries

The Carolina Blue sky envelopes the state on this perfect late August Sunday afternoon.  What a perfect time to visit some local wineries.  Sometimes we get so caught up in looking for something new and different, that we forget what we have just down the road; so like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz,” I decided to look no further “than my own backyard.”

First up was supposed to be one of North Carolina’s newest wineries, Medaloni Cellars , but with disappointment, we pulled up in the vacant lot of what will one day be their tasting room.  (Will definitely have to add this one to my “to-do”list.)  Not to be discouraged, we moved on down the road to Westbend Vineyards & Brewhouse.  Being one of North Carolina’s oldest vineyards, Westbend planted the first ever vinifera grapes in the State back in 1972 and they have been going strong ever since.   

Today with a menu of wines to suit every palate, you are sure to find something to please.  I opted for their barrel fermented Chardonnay while hubby chose the Chambourcin.  The Chardonnay was like biting into caramel-coated popcorn with rich caramel, fig and vanilla flavors.  The Chambourcin had earthy notes with slight cherry on the palate.  We sat outside under the covered pavilion and enjoyed the cool breezes of an early fall and the beautiful scenery. 

We moved on from Westbend to Weathervane Winery.  As we both really like a dry red wine, we decided to go with one of their newest releases, “Forecaster’s Reserve Meritage.”  One might think that on an August day in North Carolina, you wouldn’t want to drink red wine, especially outside; but the air already has that little nip in it indicating that we have a long “red wine” drinking season in front of us. 

A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, this wine is bold with hints of tobacco and leather, a big mouth feel with a silky finish.  As a matter of fact, it was so good, that we decided to stock up! 

Last on our triple header day was Zimmerman Vineyards.  Zimmerman Vineyards is actually renowned across the State for their Cabernet Franc and since hubby had never been there, we each chose to imbibe of this particular nectar and enjoy the exquisite view.  Nestled far off the road in a tranquil valley in the middle of Randolph County, NC, the scenery is absolutely breath-taking.  The wine had cherry aromas, soft tannins and a smooth, long finish.  The perfect way to wrap up a day spent in our own backyard.

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A Year Later – Petit Verdot, Veritas Winery

This wine was a media sample from Veritas Vineyard and Winery.

What a difference a year makes.  It was just a short year ago that I attended the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Not only did I have the time of my life, I met some great like-minded people and had the pleasure of tasting some phenomenal wines.  One of those wines was a 2009 Petit Verdot from Veritas Vineyard and Winery.  They actually provided me with two bottles.  One I wrote about as soon as I got it; the other I have held onto for the last year so I could revisit this wine and taste the difference another twelve months in the bottle makes. (The original blog post can be found here:  http://wp.me/py9Ic-1q.)

I was very excited to open this wine!!!  The deep purple hue in the glass and the hint of chocolate on the nose let me know that I was not going to be disappointed.  Following the standard protocol for tasting wine, swirl, sniff, sip, (let linger for just a few seconds) and swallow.  On the palate I got hints of vanilla and cherry wrapped in mocha with a touch of coffee to go along with the lingering finish of this well-balanced wine.  “In Vino Veritas,” the trademark of Veritas Winery rings true once again.

I didn’t see this wine listed on their website when I checked.  I do hope they still carry it.

Varietal: Petit Verdot          Alcohol:  13%            Price: (last year – $29)

I haven’t been back to Virginia to tour any wineries since the 2011 conference.  It is one of those things that we always talk about, but just never seem to find the time to actually do.  I have always heard that if you put something in writing, that it is much more likely to happen.  So I am committing this to writing today – within the next year, I am taking a long weekend and hitting the Virginia Wine Trail.  Stay tuned!

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