Monday, September 23, 2019

North Carolina Wines Highlighted During National Tasting Event

IMG_20190906_214011_638NC Wine Country – Almost Heaven

John Denver had a different state in mind when he sang “almost heaven.” While that’s true, wine lovers in North Carolina feel they have a slice of heaven considering  the abundance of great wineries and wine in the state.

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North Carolina has more than 400 vineyards and 200 wineries that spread from the eastern coastal region to the mountains in the west. Wineries include well-known names, like the Biltmore Winery -- the most visited winery in the US -- to lesser known names like Fern Crest Winery in Andrews. The wines are surprisingly good, with a style to please any palate.

September is North Carolina wine month and wine writers in the state and around the country recently participated in an online tasting event highlighting wines from the Old North State. The event was hosted by Joe Brock and Matt Kemberling, also known as the NC Wine Guys.

Eleven wineries took part in the chat by providing samples. We had the opportunity to taste the 2015 GPS from Junius Lindsay Vineyard and the Guilty Red Blend from Windsor Run Cellars.

Grape-To-Glass Winemaking

Junius Lindsay GPSWindsor Run Cellars is a grape-to-glass estate winery in Hamptonville. It's a popular stop on the Swan Creek Wine Trail. Although capturing awards for their estate-grown red and white wines, the offerings are seemingly boundless, with fortified wines, mead, and a distillery that produces 80 to 90 proof spirits.

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The non-vintage Guilty, which retails for $20,  combines Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon into a dry red blend. Chambourcin is a French Hybrid grape that’s become a favorite of ours.

Partnering with Cabernet elevates the wine, which pops with flowing raspberry flavors wrapped in smoky notes. Do we like it? “Guilty” as charged!

I wasn’t familiar with Junius Lindsay Vineyard before our tasting. JLV is located in Lexington, which humbly calls itself the Barbecue Capital of the World. The winery is owned by Michael Zimmerman, who named the vineyard after his grandfather, who started the family farm in 1894.

JLV is unique for their focus on Rhone grape varieties. These grapes are not a focus in North Carolina, in fact, Junius Lindsay is one of only two growers of Grenache in the state and is the only winery that produces a single varietal bottling.

The 2015 GPS is a blend of Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Syrah from the Yadkin Valley AVA. The structure of this wine is impressive, with fine-grained tannins. Grenache has the lead in this blend and the cherry notes come through. There is a bit of spice on the end to lend complexity. This is a great wine to discover and one of the best wines I’ve tasted in North Carolina.

September is North Carolina Wine Month, so there is no better time to seek out, sip and savor NC wine.

Full disclosure: These wines were provided as marketing samples.

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