Who would have imagined finding an oenophilogocal surprise in North Carolina? Well, I sure did! At Iron Gate Vineyards proprietors Gene & Debbie Stikeleather are producing a full line of wines. On a former tobacco farm in the Piedmont area of NC, the Stikeleathers have repurposed the land to include their own stand of grape vines. Among the wine selections they have now on sale include a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chambourcin. Say what? Was that Chambourcin? Yes, indeed! It’s a hybrid. You know, like a Prius for the grapevine (and solar powered).
Winemaker: Iron Gate Vineyards
Appelation: Haw River Valley, North Carolina
Price: $15.95 at the winery
Notes: On the nose I got raspberry, red currant, barnyard and hints of rose petals. This medium-bodied offering is dark garnet in the glass. Flavors for me were raspberry, bright red currant, plentiful black pepper, notes of earthiness, tea leaf and cream of tartar. On the finish the tea and tartar linger. Tannins are moderate to light. Alcohol is at 13.1%, and acidity is good. Since I sipped the wine alone, I can’t be certain. I think, however, it would pair well with a flavorful fowl (turkey, goose, duck) or a well-seasoned pork roast. Give the wine a try, and see what you think.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.