Saturday, June 11, 2005

Getting back into the Swing...

Finally back in the Northern Hemisphere with much to report on wines from Uruguay and Brasil. I tasted some amazing examples of what both Uruguay and Brasil can produce and some not so amazing examples. I'll save the details and photos for a later post, once I have a chance to review my notes and retatse a few of my souvenirs.

Back in May, while away on a business trip to Augusta, Georgia, I had the opportunity to visit a wine tasting bar in the Charlotte, NC airport devoted to the wines of the Yadkin Valley. Yadkin is located approximately 1.5 hours North of Charlotte, near Winston-Salem, NC. I had never tasted any wines from NC, so I decided to belly-up to the bar and sample.

The best wines produced in this region seem to be crisp, refreshing whites, like Riesling and Sauv Blanc, and also Chambourcin, a spicy, earthy red, popular in wine regions along the East Coast.

My favorite of the bunch is from Shelton Vineyards --the 2003 Yadkin Valley Riesling. Clean and crisp, with green-apple and pear flavors. Slightly sweet, I was amazed with this wine's bright acidity, especially since North Carolina is a fairly warm region for growing grapes.

Another wine of note, was discovered during my stay in the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel in Augusta during my biz conference. One evening, a number of colleagues decided to meet in the hotel bar for post-dinner cocktailing. Since I am not much of a cocktail guy, I decided to take a gander at the wine list. I was expecting boring California Chardonnays and Merlots, but was surprised to find a tantalizing collection of both New World and Old World selections. Who wudda thunk Augusta, Georgia!

My colleague Stacey and I opted to share a bottle of the 2004 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley of Chile. Located Northwest of Santiago, Casablanca is known for popping out clean Sauv Blanc and subtle Pinot Noir.

Stacey was quite impressed. She had never tried a Sauv Blanc from Chile. Notes of herbs, grass and lemon on the nose, with grapefruit, lemon and mineral to grace the palate. Crisp, lingering finish with notes of lemon and grass. This is definitely the sort of wine for a hot and humid day in Washington. Enjoy a glass on your patio by itself or paired with a spinich salad dusted with goat cheese.

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