Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Annual Georgia Wine Highway Day 3; Friday March 23, 2014 WOOOOO

Our final day on the Georgia Wine Highway 2014 Wooooo started at 9am. We left our rooms at the Days Inn in Clayton and went across the street to the Huddle House to PUTALLTHEFOODINOURBELLIES, or as normal humans say, have breakfast. When I am doing diner breakfast I like to scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast. This morning, when the waitress asked what kind of toast I wanted I asked her to surprise me. I have to say rye toast is perfect with scrambled eggs and hashbrowns.

With our bellies full we headed out into the Georgia mountains to finish up the wine highway. Our first order of the day was to find the new Yonah Mt. tasting room. After driving for a bit, we found the new tasting room. The move was a good one for them, too. The new tasting room is located on the vineyard and the views are incredible there. After finding Yonah, we had a couple more hours to kill so we headed into Helen, Georgia to kill some time at the grist mill  at the Nora Mill Granary and the Naccochee Antique store in the historic Nacoochee Village. The grist mill is a water powered old school mill that uses 200 year old french grindstones to mill corn into some of the best grits you can put in your face. Across the street  the antique store is 3 floors of kitschy goodness. This year was a bit disappointing, however. It seemed as though that had gotten rid of a lot of stuff. It just didn’t seem as packed with stuff as it usually did.

At 11:00 we left the Nacoochee village and headed back to Yonah to get our tasting started. The new tasting room was spectacular. It made me wish that we lived closer so we could visit more often. The standout wine for me this trip was the dessert wine. An ice style wine called the La Fin. I am a big fan of the sweets and this wine was so good that we had to get a bottle to bring home for our tasting.

After Yonah we headed to Serenity Cellars. We missed the turn to Serenity, our phones GPS is spotty at best in the mountains. A short trip down a dirt road, we found the tasting room. It looked like someone tried to build an Olive Garden. Walking to the tasting room, we were greeted by a pourer who was seated next to a fire pit that was full of burning heart pine. The wine tasted great but all we could smell was the burning pine resin. Inside the tasting room, we made our way through racks of wine themed t-shirts to the bar and got our first, not pine tar tainted, tasting. We have had Serenity wines before at other venues and they are generally very good wined but this trip we were unimpressed. Delivery and environment is just as important as the wine you are pouring and Serenity just fell flat.The pourer exuded arrogance and was more interested in telling us how good he was at what he did than giving us a taste of wine. In fact, his bad attitude left a very bad taste in our mouths.
After Serenity, we headed to one of our favorite stops, Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards. Sautee has some fantastic wines. We always buy a couple of bottles of their Red-Headed Stepchild when we are there. It’s a semi-sweet red that is just luscious. Another perk of visiting Sautee Nacoochee is the wine slushies. Wine Slushies. WINE SLUSHIES. We broke out our picnic foods, grabbed our wine slushies and settled in for a lunch while listening to Monica Spears sing some great jazz.

Fortified with cheese and bread, we headed to our last stop back in Helen. Habersham always has an interesting tasting for the Wine Highway folks. Haversham takes small groups into the tank room. As you wait you can take advantage of the complimentary tasting at the bar up front. This year, one of the servers was overly pushy and it turned me off. It’s not good to take my pen out of my hand when I am deciding what wines to taste, even if you do want me to mark my tasting card a certain way. The tasting that they had for the wine highway participants more than made up for a rude server. Tom guided us through our tasting and the highlight was the 2004 Chambourcin. Wineries put a few bottles aside each year to see how they will age and the side by side tastings of the different years chambourcin was an education in itself. After the tasting, we were shown the automatic bottler. It’s always good to see the different goings on behind the scenes.
After we finished our tasting and tour, we headed back to R__ and B__s place for supper and sleep. And the evening and the morning were the final day.
Monday we were up and headed back home to Mobile. This years highway was spectacular. I can hope that next years will be just as good. With the itinerary that R__ made, we had no problems visiting a majority of the wineries on the highway. The only wineries that we didn’t visit were ones that we had no intention of visiting, either because of bad wines or bad service. I have to admit, we are concerned with the Wine Growers Association of Georgia will permanently change the format of the wine highway to a 2 day 2 weekend event. It is much easier on us to travel from Mobile for a 3 day weekend.