Monday, September 13, 2010

Georgia Wineries: A Real Surprise

Our friends shared a pleasant treat with us on our visit to Atlanta. There are some surprisingly good wines being produced in “Georgia Wine Country”—in an area north of Atlanta, around Dahlonega, GA. The area is beautiful, so the trip is worth it for the scenery alone. We traveled on a shining, sunny day and with the mountain breeze, it was about the most perfect day. The trip is a bit of a hike—up GA 400 and then through some extensive (and windy, hilly) back roads. But, not a bad jaunt for a Sunday afternoon and you’ll be rewarded once you arrive. We had originally planned to have brunch at Wolf Mountain Vineyard but decided to visit later in the day. The dining room there has spectacular views and apparently the brunch is great, so it’s probably worth visiting for brunch and making a day of it.

We started at Frogtown Cellars, which has a beautiful facility for tastings and events. They offer a 9 wine tasting for $15—whites or reds. I tried the whites and overall, had pretty positive impressions. My friend tried the reds, so we both got to taste a bit of both. My favorite white was probably the 2006 Frogtown Inclination, a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Vidal fermented in French oak barrels. It was easy drinking but with a nice flavor—not too sweet, but with a bit of toasty caramel on the end. Other favorites included: 2008 Viognier, 2008 Vineaux Blanc and the MRV (Rhone style blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier. They also had a nice Vidal dessert wine called Cachet—not too sweet for a dessert wine, especially after recently traveling to Niagara and tasting true ice wines and very sweet Vidals and late harvest Rieslings. Frogtown also offers a “panini bar” if you need a hearty snack along your way, and my friends really enjoyed the Italian sandwich, made with Prosciutto.

We went on to Wolf Mountain, which has stunning views and a great facility. You go through the dining room down to the tasting room and can enjoy your wine on the terrace as well. They offer a standard tasting and an estate tasting, which includes their sparkling wines. This vineyard introduced champagne style sparkling wines to the region, and seems to be doing a pretty good job with what they are producing. I’m not a big rose fan, but they had a nice, relatively dry rose which I enjoyed. It was worth the visit for the views alone and the wine went nicely with the setting.

There are a few more vineyards to check out in the area. Blackstock is the largest and was the first in the area—apparently; they provide grapes for a number of the smaller wineries. We left in the afternoon, and everything pretty much closed by 5 on Sunday so we didn’t have a lot of time to explore the area, but Dahlonega is a cute little town and there’s plenty to check out in the area for a nice day trip.

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