Friday, May 6, 2022

Overmountain Vineyard: North Carolina Winery Visit

This family winery proves to be a perfect oasis during our road trip through the mountains.

Wine Oasis At Overmountain

Tryon, North Carolina, is called the “friendliest town in the South.” We didn’t visit the town of Tryon proper, but our latest winery stop had a Tryon address – and we came away impressed.

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We were on the road to Asheville for a concert and a stay in a cabin. Wineries weren’t on the agenda, but after about three hours on the road, I became parched. I became especially thirsty when I saw the sign for Overmountain Vineyard.

Overmountain Vineyard is located on a 70-acre farm in the Tyron Foothills of Polk County. The focus is on handcrafted French-style wines made from their 18 acres of vines. The tasting room opened in 2010.

It was a radiant day with blue skies the shade of which you can only find in North Carolina. We rumbled up the driveway past impressive landscaping and rows of vines. A bit of apprehension hit when I saw “by reservation only.” Yikes! We had no way of knowing that just from the highway sign. I knew from its reputation that we certainly wanted to visit Overmountain and we were graciously shown a table on their covered patio.

Wildfire Alert!

I decided on a tasting while the Green Dragon opted for a glass of chilled rosé. My first wine was the 2020 Chardonnay. This is a crisp, unoaked (our preference) wine. Floral notes paired nicely with citrus and apple.

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The 2020 Wildfire Rosé was next. Although billed as a Provence-style rosé, this is made with Cabernet Sauvignon and so is a bit heartier than the French wine. Fleshy flavors of strawberry and kiwi combine in total refreshment. The wine on the inside is matched with a very cool label of a horse (with wildfire in its eyes).

Next in the tasting flight was Sofia, a white Port-style wine. It is named for Sofia Lilly, who along with her father Frank, handles the winemaking duties. Just recently I tried my first white Port and wanted to see how this one stacked up. This is fortified estate Petit Manseng. I found the flavors to be delightfully light with the accent on tropical fruit.

The only red I tasted was the Patriot Red and it was my favorite wine. A 50-50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this dazzled us with succulent fruit and a smooth finish.

I will be chastised for this by my friend Arthur Barham (of Merlot2Muscadine), but I wasn’t looking forward to the last wine – a 2019 Muscadine. Mark, our very helpful tasting room server, quickly assured me that this was a dry Muscadine made from the Scuppernong variety. Well, he was right. The wine was light, dry, and cooling with a flavor that reminded me the the Labrusca wines made in Ohio and New York from Catawba and Niagara grapes.

May is North Carolina Wine Month, so this is the perfect opportunity to visit Overmountain Vineyard. You’ll be glad you did. PS – don’t forget the reservation!

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