The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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black fruit flavors and a nice finish ($25.) Broadly distributed Trump Winery is in the rolling hills near Thomas Jefferson's house, Monticello, and offers a landscape that is stunning. The vineyards, winery and Albemarle House estate once belonged to the infamous Kluges and is now under the domain of Donald Trump's third youngest child, Eric. Wines made while the Kluges were there received many awards, and as the winemaking team is still intact and as the Trumps have already spent big sums of money upgrading both the winery and the vineyards, this winery is well on its way to becoming truly world-class. The winery produces both sparkling and still wines and the following are some of my favorites. The sparkling SP Rosé ($29) and the SP Blanc de Noir ($35) were both excellent and worthy competitors to France or California and provide a wine list price point that many restaurants are looking for. The 2012 Viognier ($19) has floral tones with slight honey and peaches and ends with a crisp, clean finish. The 2008 New World Red ($28) is full and round with mature flavors of dark fruit and has a lingering finish. North Carolina PHOTO: JENA ANTON With 100+ wineries, I would put North Carolina next in a Southern wine line-up. Not quite as terroirdriven as Virginia, most of the state's wineries are small and not all focus on vitis vinifera. Wines made from fruit, Muscadine grapes, and hybirds such as Chambourcin and Seyval Blanc are common and quite popular. Wines made from vitis vinifera tend to be Bordelais with the exception of well-made Raffaldin wines, which are all Italian varietals. Childress Winery, owned by retired NASCAR driver and now team owner Richard Childress, produces several wines. One of his more popular wines, Trio, was just changed to "3" ($12.99) to give tribute to deceased driver Dale Earnhardt, who drove the iconic No. 3 car for him. The wine is a basic, consumer friendly white blend but with the immense fan base of NASCAR is sure to be a big seller. Biltmore Estate, America's most visited winery, has a unique, no ego, business model: sell good, clean wine to the 650,000 potential customers that pass through the winery each year and continue selling to them via various distribution options once they've returned home. I tasted most of the wines produced by Biltmore and they were all well-made, many receiving awards from respected wine competitions. Several of the wines carry an American AVA, as the grapes Biltmore's pink Pas de Deux is targeted at younger female wine buyers. are from California. There are a few North Carolina wines in the repertoire from grapes on the Biltmore Estate and surrounding areas. The winery's marketing and sales team stays on top of what their customer wants in wine and recently released a sparkling wine targeted to the younger (21–35) female: Pas de Deux Méthode Champenoise Sec ($18.99), made from Muscat Canelli and packaged in pink—in my opinion, perfectly positioned to that age group. Georgia Prohibition killed the wine industry in Georgia and it wasn't until the early 1980s that the industry resurrected itself. Habersham, in North Georgia, was one of the first wineries to open its doors and like Childress produces a bit of everything. The 2011 GA Creekstone Limited Chardonnay ($20) was quite Burgundian in style and very pleasant. Habersham wines are available in several states in the South. Tennessee PHOTO COURTESY OF BILTMORE ESTATE PHOTO COURTESY OF TRUMP WINERY The Trump New World Red has mature flavors of dark fruit. Along with whiskey, Tennessee is producing a few standout wines, such as the 2011 Fallen Oak Syrah—lush with blackberry fruit, spice, and soft tannins—from Reedy Creek Vineyards and Cellars, which has the largest commercial vineyards in Tennessee and is in the top 5% on the East Coast. Speaking of blackberry, Old Millington Vineyard and Winery near Memphis produces an award-winning blackberry wine which to this very Californian/ French sommelier's palate actually tasted like "wine." This war in support of great wine making is one the South can be proud of, so move over West Coast wines and let your Southern brethren in. The Southern Somm Joon Lim, Sommelier at Kevin Rathbun Steak in Atlanta, Georgia, is currently studying for his Master Sommelier exam and took a few minutes to discuss Georgia wines with me. Lim includes two Georgia wines on his list and at the moment is offering Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery's Blanc de Blanc, which recently won a Silver medal at a prominent West Coast competition, and the Sangiovese from Frogtown Cellars. He believes that the terroir in Georgia lends itself to producing good Rhône varietals and would love to see more wineries experiment with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache. Joon Lim, Sommelier at Kevin Rathbun Steak in Atlanta. 148  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_109-156.indd 148 10/24/13 9:18 AM

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