Monday, June 18, 2018

Piccione Vineyards: A North Carolina Winery Visit

Piccione Vineyards in Swan Valley North Carolina has a wine history with roots in Sicily Italy stretching back to the early 1900s. We visited Piccione and found it to be a scenic outpost of wine excellence in North Carolina’s wine country.

Italian Heritage, Blue Ridge Attitude

Bill Piccione never forgot his family heritage. His grandfather and grandmother, Giuseppe and Vita lived in Sicily before immigrating to the US via Ellis Island in 1921. Bill took a different path, becoming a Harvard-trained surgeon, but he never forgot Giuseppe’s homemade winery with a handpress, oak barrels and a manual bottling matching.

In respect for family tradition, Bill obtained Italian citizenship for himself and his family. He pursued wine studies and earned certification as a sommelier. In 2010, in the picturesque hills of Swan Creek, North Carolina, Piccione Vineyards was founded – continuing Giuseppe’s dream of producing the finest wine possible.

Piccione was one stop during our recent visit to the Swan Creek AVA in North Carolina’s wine country. It combines several winning ingredients. The Piccione hillside location has a commanding view of vineyards and farmland stretching to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. The tasting room is nicely furnished, but small and intimate. The outdoor patio makes you feel like you’re sitting on top of the world. Of course, there is the wine…

A Red Wine Rendezvous

Piccione grows eight grape varieties with an emphasis on Italian grapes that thrive in the North Carolina climate. For the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Montepulciano, Nero Amaro and Sangiovese are grown. White varieties include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Vermentino.

During the day we had visited several wineries and Piccione was our last stop. A tasting of all 10 Piccione wines was not in the cards, so we decided to do the red tasting – which was a more manageable five wines. We are enthusiastic Sangiovese fans and weren’t going to miss out.

It’s hard to find Sangiovese outside of Italy, but it thrives in Swan Creek. The 2014 Piccione Sangiovese has beautiful, red fruit flavors balanced with rounded tannins. There are notes of cherries and cranberry.

We are always up for a Super Tuscan, and the 2014 L’Ottimo is Piccione’s take on this famous style of wine. Grapes include 80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Montepulciano. This is an excellent wine, but we favor the Sangiovese by a nose.

The 2014 Montepulciano was outstanding with a sour strawberry flavor with traces of coffee and tart cherry. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon was very good. Most North Carolina Cabs can’t go toe to toe with Cabernets from California, but we were pleasantly surprised by the Piccione Cab. It has extracted flavors of cherry and coffee. It has medium body and an engaging complexity.

We wrapped up with the 2014 Merlot. Swan Creek, as well as the Yadkin Valley AVA, has a way with Merlot and this bottle didn’t disappoint. It is light in body with just a touch of sweetness. Berry jam flavors are predominate.

After the tasting, we lingered a while on the patio, chatting with other visitors and soaking in the expansive view. The end to a Piccione Vineyards visit comes far too soon! We encourage you to visit soon – if you are too far away, Piccione ships to 38 states. Cin cin!

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