Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Special Feature: Wolf Mountain Vineyards


A couple of weekends ago Kyle and I joined some friends for a wine tasting at Wolf Mountain Vineyards. The vineyards are located amidst a lovely woodland setting, and the restaurant and tasting room overlook the Blue Ridge Mountains. Between that and the very good wine, the tasting was a wonderful experience.

Although Wolf Mountain produces a few mainstream favorites, like cabernet sauvignon and claret, they also make lots of interesting blends. For example, the Coupage, a merlot/cabernet sauvignon mix.

Our tasting consisted of six vintages of the Instinct, a "Rhone-style red wine" that's somewhere between and syrah and a cab. Good stuff, my favorites being the 2004 and 2007. Some vintages are French oaked, some are American oaked. We were served generous portions of the wine, along with plates of nuts and cheese beside thoroughly-detailed printed sheets explaining how each vintage was made and their inherent scents and flavors. Exactly the right combination of information and fun for a wine tasting.

Afterwards we went upstairs to the front bar for a second tasting. This one included several different varieties, my favorite of which was the Chanteloup 2004 ($23.95/bottle). Chanteloup is a medium-bodied, French-oaked white. Over the past decade I've gravitated from light whites to heavy reds, and nowadays I rarely choose to pick up a bottle of white from any vineyard. However, I was very pleased with this Chardonnay/Viognier blend.

Apparently we aren't the only ones who liked what we tasted. Our host (Brannon Boegner, the vineyard manager whose father established the winery in 1999) announced that their wine club now has over 500 members. Members can sign up for quarterly wine deliveries, free tastings and discounts. Wolf Mountain now ships to GA, FL, NC, CO and CA.

As a foodie, it shouldn't be news to you that Dahlonega, located approximately an hour and 15 minutes north of Atlanta, boasts about a dozen up-and-coming wineries. The soil in the area was proclaimed by the an expert to be nearly identical in composition to the soil in Tuscany, the Italian wine mecca. If you haven't made it to a (relatively) local tasting yet, make sure you contact the vineyard in question, as they often fill up fast. During the spring and especially the fall, the drive is scenic and the mountain air is smog-free. Worried about driving home after the tasting? You can stay in one of the nearby charming lodges. Why not make Wolf Mountain Vineyards your first stop on your Georgia eco-tourism route?

Wolf Mountains wines range from $16 to about $80.

Verdict: Impressive. A credit to the state of Georgia.

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