Charlotte Fresh had a fun outing this past weekend – our good friends invited us to join them for a wine tasting and music on the lawn at Daveste Winery in Troutman, N.C. Troutman is about 35 miles north of Charlotte, off I-77.
Daveste was founded in 2003 by Dave and Ester DeFehr, and states that it is the first winery in Iredell County. It produces about 1,000 cases of wine per year under the watch of winemaker Jason Wiseman. We sampled some of their Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Dulcinea. We’ll admit that our palates favor more grape blends and fewer straight varietals, but we found something surprising and unusual in Daveste’s 2008 Dulcinea. The Dulcinea is a sweet wine of a proprietary blend, reminiscent of Port in its fruit notes, and best served chilled. We found it to be a neat local find – a nice, refreshing dessert wine for summer that went well with the chocolate cake we brought along for a picnic on the lawn.
Actually, this area is teeming with wineries for weekend fun. Did you know that North Carolina has over 90 wineries focusing on both the native muscadine grape and the European-style vinifera grapes? Every state produces wine, but N.C. actually ranks #8 in wine production. This state has a long history with wine, and was the top producer with 25 wineries at the time the industry had to be closed down due to Prohibition. Making a comeback, today, North Carolina has three official AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), or “designated wine grape growing regions distinguishable by geographical features.” (An AVA is similar to an appellation.) The three N.C. AVAs are Yadkin Valley (designated in 2003), Swan Creek (designated in 2008) and Haw River (designated in 2009).
Why not take a road trip this summer, and explore the different wineries in North Carolina? You might be surprised by what you can find locally!