Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Richard Childress Vineyards

 When one thinks of North Carolina, images of tobacco and barbeque tend to come to mind. Wine? A novelty at best. Thankfully, I learned I was wrong when we visited Richard Childress Vineyards. First of all, the vineyard is absolutely beautiful. The building looks like it came straight out of Italy, and up on the hill, you just see grapes for ever and ever. Breathtaking. The interior of the building is just as stunning as the exterior. Turns out, we showed up about 15 minutes before a free tour began. Yes please.

We enjoy the tour, which was nice, but I felt like I saw (and learned) more about the process of making wine on the tour we took to Williamsburg Winery. After the tour, we opted for a tasting. We had the option of the Cellar Select Tasting ($12 gets you a taste of 8 "basic" wines and a souvenir wine glass) and the Barrel Select Tasting ($14 for 8 premium wines and a Bordeaux wine glass). Since we visited the RCR museum earlier in the day, we each received $2 off the tasting...and the more expensive tasting came with a much bigger wine glass. Can you guess which one we did? Here's a run down of the wines we tasted:

2009 Vioginier- Very nice and light, definitely a summer wine. The description includes pineapple and peach flavors, which were very prominent. On sale for $12.95, and certainly worth it.

2006 Syrah- Another great wine. I was a little apprehensive that this would have "intense raspberry, chocolate, and tobacco flavors" as described, but the tobacco flavor was very savory. Heavy for the summer, but a great wine.

2009 Sangiovese- A light red, this would go well with burgers or in general grilling out. I enjoyed it, it was nice, but not my favorite. For $19.95, there are other less expensive wines I like just as well.

2009 Reserve Chardonnay- I wasn't completely aware of the butterscotch and vanilla influences, but this was a very buttery and smooth wine. Very satisfying.

2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon- Nice, enjoying, but nothing too exciting.

2006 Signature Merlot- I've heard it said before that life is too short to drink cheap Merlot, and while I like Merlot, this wine helped me see what I've been missing. Very dense with a bit of a spicy finish. Would love a bottle, but I have troble drinking $29.95...even if that is marked down from $39.95.

2007 Signature Meritage- Nice, but if I couldn't stomach the price of the Merlot, I certainly didn't think this one was worth $49.95.

Late Harvest Viognier - I am not typically a fan of dessert wines. Most are just too sweet for me. At first, I was afraid this one was going to go down like perfume. It started that way, and then calmed down. It is a dessert wine I could enjoy with friends, but not one I would choose on my own.

Three- Did you notice I said we would taste 8 wines and yet this is the 9th one I am writing about? That's because I'm a brat-well, not really. This wine is a blended from the Chardonnay, Viognier, and Pinot Gris grapes, and a signature of the vineyard. It is included in the basic tasting, but considering it was such a signature wine, I felt compelled to ask to try it. I was willing to swap out one of our other wines for it, but they said it wasn't a problem to throw it in. I was happy. And I was happy about the wine. Very smooth, very easy drinking, and sadly, I didn't buy a bottle. Of course, I can't find it in any grocery or wine stores around here. I'm sure this is going to be a sad quest to now find it.

The best part of the tasting: We came home with these lovely (and huge) crystal wine glasses. Score!

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