Friday, May 14, 2021

Serre Vineyards: North Carolina Winery Visit

A newcomer to the NC wine scene, this Mt. Airy winery scores high marks.

On The Road Again!

Serre Vineyards, in North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, captured our imagination since we learned of its opening. It’s at the northern end of North Carolina’s wine country and not far from where we were recently staying in Mt. Airy.

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Our trip was the first real wine sortie since the pandemic began. We began our trip visiting a winery in Virginia, but now we were on our home turf once again, and ready to sip some excellent wine.

Serre Vineyard is located on Beast Trail in Mt. Airy and the name of the road piqued our interest. We found that things were not beastly, in fact, quite the opposite. Still, The Beast would make a great name for a wine, wouldn’t it?

The tasting room is actually a tasting barn, and we were delighted to learn that it was styled after one of our favorite Finger Lakes wineries, Hermann J. Wiemer. We’ve had the good fortune to visit the Wiemer tasting barn and the 3,000 square-foot Serre facility captures the same feel, open and airy. It’s built in the modern farmhouse style with European accents. In the time of COVID, its crisp and clean look was also welcome.

New Vines Taking Root

Serre opened in September 2020 and so at this point, the grapes and winemaking come from outside sources, specifically Round Peak and Childress wineries. The vines are now in the ground for the estate vineyard and as they bear fruit, the winery will transition to its own grapes.

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The property is 70 acres of farmland at more than 1,300 feet in elevation with a stellar view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We started our visit inside the tasting room but soon ambled out to the best spot at the winery: comfortable Adirondack chairs with views of the mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Cumberland Knob.

Owner and “chief tasting officer” Christian Krobisch has a background in finance and is currently working with the helpful winemakers in Yadkin Valley to learn his craft and in time assume full-time winemaking duties.

Have no fear, there is plenty of wine at the winery and it’s quite good! Lauri led us through our tasting, which began with white wine and a rosé.

The 2019 Chardonnay is a light wine with bright flavors of apple. It’s barrel-fermented in French Oak and aged for 10 months before being finished in stainless steel. The next wine is one that we know will be popular during North Carolina’s humid summer days: the 2019 Knockout Rosé. Knockout is made from Sangiovese and its secret power is bubbles. The wine is made in a frizzante style and the light bubbles seemed to make the wine twice as refreshing.

Red Wines Shine

Our appetites were whetted for the red wines to follow. The 2018 Cabernet Franc exemplifies what we love about North Carolina wine. It has graceful notes of red fruit and a touch of herbs. Good acidity means a balanced and lively wine. A bottle retails for $34.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a riddle for North Carolina producers. It is difficult to coax the depth of color and the intensity of flavor that West Coast wines enjoy. Serre offers a good 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, but our preference is for the other reds offered.

A case in point is the 2017 The Early Blend. Made in cooperation with Round Peak Vineyards, The Early Blend is… wait for it… a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and a splash of Barbera. This is Serre’s best-selling wine. We found it to be beautiful with swirls of blackberry and plum.

Italian grapes have found a home in the North Carolina mountains, with Sangiovese showing particularly well. The 2018 Reserve Sangiovese was my favorite, with savory flavors of cherry with floral accents and a base of earthy rusticity. The Green Dragon and I enjoyed a glass of The Early Blend and the
Reserve Sangiovese respectively while enjoying a picnic lunch at the Adirondack chairs out back.

In the “it’s not our thing but it might be yours” category, we also tasted the semi-sweet Carolina Wine Mixer (Chardonnay and Pinot Gris) plus the sweet Nautilife Rosé. The Rosé is made with

California Grenache grapes and features a remarkable plastic bottle. It looks just like a glass bottle but can bounce -- which is helpful if you’re having fun out on a boat or a setting where a glass bottle might shatter.

Serre Vineyards offers live music and other special events. Charcuterie is available for snacking. In May, Serre is open weekly except for Tuesday and Wednesday. Serre is also a perfect location for your own special event or wedding.

We’re excited to see the addition of Serre to the NC wine scene and fully expect it to develop into one of the most popular winery destinations in the state. We suggest you visit now to avoid the crowds!

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