Summer White Wine Trail Returns to Yadkin Valley
I go on record right now and confess that I have always preferred red wine to white wine. There are many reasons for my affinity for the darker version of the grape. In the very early stages of the development of my taste for vino I sampled many more red wines than I did white. As a result, my palate and taste were skewed from the beginning. To sway matters even more, I had encountered a few white wines back then that I did not care for.
But at some point, I discovered Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a few others and finally began to genuinely become enamored with white wine. Within the last few years, I have enjoyed more than a few glasses of wines such as Viognier, Albarino and Sevyal Blanc. I have even branched out into varietals such as Rkatsiteli and Garganega all in the name of broadening my palate and appreciation for white wine. By the way, how can we forget Vermentino and Gruner Veltliner?
When I found out about the summer white wine trail in Yadkin Valley, I immediately saw it as an opportunity to continue my journey discovering white wine and the subtle nuances between various varietals as well as continuing to develop an appreciation for vino blanco.
My wife and I had also resolved (after visiting over 130 North Carolina vineyards and wineries to try to return to some that we had only visited once – especially those that we enjoyed on that initial visit.
So. the Summer White Wine trail in Yadkin Valley was an outstanding opportunity that I could not pass up and I juggled events on my calendar to attend. The event was staged over the weekend August 1-2 with tickets each day allowing you to follow a trail or journey from one participating winery to another. The extremely reasonable price of a ticket ($25) afforded you trips to 4 locations on Saturday and 5 on Sunday where at each stop a glass of white wine paired with a small plate was awaiting.
So let me tell you about my journey along the trail that started at Divine Llama Vineyards in East Bend (https://www.divinellamavineyards.com/). It had been way too long since my last visit to this unique winery known for their wines and the llamas that they are named after. The night before the wine trail I shared a bottle of Mandarb with close friends. Mandarb is a red wine blend named after one of their more famous llamas.
At Divine Llama we were treated to a glass of 4 Vines Blend, (a blend of Traminette, Viognier, Chardonnay & Valvin) paired with Thai Peanut Spicy Noodles. The combination worked well with the acidity of the wine complementing the spiciness of the popular Thai dish. It was an excellent start to the summer whites trail and had us leaving anticipating our next destination
Our next stop on the Yadkin Summer Whites trail was one of my favorites and yes I had not been there in years – Flint Hill Vineyards also in East Bend https://flinthillvineyards.com/. Here we were treated to Chicken Pasta with Chardonnay Wine Sauce paired with Flint Hill Chardonnay.
This combination also paired well and I was particularly impresses by the fresh parsley garnish that added a distinct taste of summer to the dish. We enjoyed our time there at the table in the bay window and enjoyed the view of the garden.
Our next stop was one of my favorites of the day. At Cellar 4201 Vineyard http://www.cellar4201.com/ also located in East Bend we were extremely impressed with their offering – Herbed Balsamic Honey Glazed Chicken served with a Barrell Aged Chardonnay. This pairing was magical with the crisp acidity of the chardonnay perfectly enhancing the grilled sweetness of the chicken.
Our next stop was at yet another location that years have passed since my last visit there – RagApple Lassie Vineyards located in Boonville https://ragapplelassie.com/ . This working farm that also holds the unique distinction of being a Century Farm choose to pair a Spicy Southwestern Pasta Salad with their Kaleidoscope Gold (a dry blend of unoaked Chardonnay, Traminette, and Viognier). This medium-bodied wine with a nose of honey, pineapple, and peach with a touch of figs, more than stood up to the spicy pasta blend it was paired with.
Our final stop along the journey was again a location that I had only visited once but never forgot their wine and ambiance – Sanders Ridge Vineyards located in Boonville https://www.sandersridge.com/. Along with the offering from Cellar 4201 this one really stood out for me. Their pairing of Whipped Lemon Mousse paired with Viognier had me wanting a much larger portion and feeling sad when it was gone. The tart flavor of the lemon and the floral notes and acidity of the Viognier were a match made in heaven and a worthy finale to the Yadkin Summer Whites.
Although I couldn’t arrange my schedule to attend it, the same event was held the prior weekend August 14-15 and the participating vineyards and wineries as well as the food and wine pairings they featured are shown below:
Brandon Hills Vineyard serving Chicken Salad Croissant paired with Viognier
Shadow Springs Vineyards serving Lemon Soufflé with Gingerbread Cookie paired with Sevyal Blanc
Midnight Magdalena Vineyards serving Broccoli Chicken Salad with Miso / Orange Dressing paired with Traminette
Windsor Run Cellars serving Cucumber & Cherry Tomato Salad with light Herb Dressing paired with Justice
The entire experience was very beneficial to not only my palate and appreciation for white wine, but it afforded me the opportunity to revisit several NC vineyards and wineries that I had not visited in way too long. I look forward with anticipation to the Winter red trail!