The next stop on our mountain adventure was to Linville Falls Winery. Linville Falls Winery is nestled near the Blue Ridge Parkway between Boone and Asheville (Avery County for those folks who are familiar with mountain counties…it means nothing to mean but I’m hoping some North Carolinians know where I’m going with this). The winery is family owned and operated, and pride themselves on making High Country wine with the grapes they grow on their farm. The owner, Jack Wiesman, is not only into grape growing and wine making but is a well known guy in the Christmas tree industry, so there is a Christmas tree farm tucked next door. On a clear day, you have a nice view of the vineyard and acres and acres of Christmas trees. We had high hopes and dreams of grabbing a glass of wine and strolling through the trees, but a combination of the weather, the smoke from the Linville gorge fire and the fact that daylight savings time means it starts getting dark around 430, we decided to just stay close to the tasting room. It really was looking like the zombie apocalypse out there, and we couldn’t risk getting killed by a zombie.
The winery’s tasting room is quite lovely; the focus is definitely on the bar in the center of the room and it surrounded by a small gift shop of local crafts, some nice rustic tables, and an expansive patio with iron tables, stonework and a cozy fireplace, with views of the vineyard. While we didn’t get to take advantage of the views because of the zombie apocalypse, we were lucky that the temperatures were in the mid 50s, so we did enjoy some wine on the patio near the fireplace after our tasting, which was relaxing. I loved the high ceilings and the mountain charm in the tasting room.
The winery has a great tasting deal for $7, where you get to taste seven wines and snack on oyster crackers in between. Our group of six arrived around the same time as a group of four women, so we did a larger group tasting around the bar. The winery guy (see I’m not really fancy and don’t have the skills to remember his name…would he be an employee? A sommelier? A bartender? Let’s just go with winery guy) was extremely knowledgable and gave us an overview of the complexity, taste, and ingredients of each of the wines before we tasted it (I just love it when people say “floral bouquet” and to be honest, I’m still not really sure if I ever actually taste a floral bouquet, but I’ve had a lot of wine so I’m sure I had). Sorry I just gave up any street cred I ever had with that last statement.
We started the tasting with the drier wines and gradually got sweeter as we went along.
We started with Chardonnay, which the “winery guy” explained to us of a classic variety–simple straightforward Chardonnay. He said that we could find hints of citrus and oak in each sip and in each crisp sip, I could actually taste the hints of citrus. I am not much of a white wine drinker (give me a dry red any day) but I enjoyed the Chardonnay.
Next up was the Syrah. I drink Syrahs at home (I love the hearty and earthy flavors, even though my mom says they are too sweet, Syrah is a dry wine) and so I was looking forward to Linville Falls Winery’s version of my go-to at home wine. It was really good; there were a lot of complex flavors going and and it was definitely full bodied and hearty. The Syrah is something I would definitely drink at home after a long day of work or bring to a friend’s house for dinner or girls’ night.
I will preface this with I am not a fan of Rieslings, but I liked the winery’s version. The winery guy told us that Linville Falls Winery’s Riesling is the only Rielsing found in the high country, and that the winery’s Riesling is semi-sweet (which I why I liked it! I do not like sweet wines). For a Riesling, this was really good, I think because the sweetness was not as overpowering as in many sweet, white wines. For all of you Riesling drinkers, I still think you’d like it, the sweetness builds throughout and you’re left with a touch at the end of your sip.
The Rose was crisp and sweet, and would be the perfect, refreshing summer wine. While there were hints of sweetness throughout, it was not overpowering, and the pink color was so pretty!
I did not like the Trillium at all. To be fair, our wine guy warned us and said it would be sweet, sweet, sweet. He was totally right. The Trillium has layers of fruit and honey; but I honestly could not get those flavors, I just got a lot of sugar. As I’ve already mentioned (see above comments on Riesling and Syrah) I am not a sweet wine drinker, and my go to is dry reds. I was not able to even finish my tasting glass, because every time I took a sip, sugar just blasted my palate. Sorry Trillium, I don’t think we will be friends.
Although the Blueberry wine was also super sweet, I loved it! I think it’s because I could clearly taste the blueberry flavors, and while sweetness resonated throughout, it was tempered just a bit (unlike the Trillium which was like, bam, sweet!). I’ve never had blueberry wine before (I’ve had cherry and raspberry on a tasting adventure in Door County several times), and while this reminded me a bit of juice, I still thought it was unique and tasty. After the tasting was over, we decided to order a bottle of blueberry wine to split amongst ourselves, so we each got a glass or so. Definitely something worth trying and indulging in, but I don’t think I could handle more than one glass!
Last up was the Cherry Bounce, which is inspired by Martha Washington because it was one of George’s favorites. This was not as sweet as I was expecting; as cherries are more sour than blueberries, I was pleasantly surprised that the sweetness was cut tremendously. The cherries Linville Falls Winery uses are from Avery County, and there are hints of brandy and cinnamon. I thought this would be a perfect dessert wine for all seasons–the cinnamon speaks fall and winter to me, but cherries remind me of spring and summer. A must try!
After we did the tasting and snacked on some oyster crackers, we grabbed a bottle of blueberry wine to share and chatted, listened to live music and drank on the patio and in the tasting room.The tasting room was hopping; there were several couples and then several larger groups like us enjoying tasting, snacking and browsing. We had already had our fill on cheese, but the winery offers snack plates (complete with cheese from English Farmstead) and they were also selling homemade pizzas out front (which smelled delightful!). There’s also a small gift shop in the tasting room with trinkets from local artisans, which were beautiful. Linville Falls winery was a great stop on a fun afternoon with girlfriends; it was fabulous to learn about and taste some of North Carolina’s wines!