Official Day 2
Sunday dawned and the overcast weather from Friday had come back, threatening to rain out our final day of the Bangin Georgia Wine Highway 2015 woooooooooo. Check out at the NotellMotell we were staying at was 10:00 so we had to be up and at 'em pretty early. Especially after spending a night eating cheap pizza and playing Cards Against Humanity. We are truly horrible people. The way that we play is you pick 10 cards and play the cards in your hand before you draw anymore cards. We like to break it up into rounds like that, and it keeps us from holding on to cards that suck. Eventually we play cards just because we want to hear someone else say the awful things on them. And they do. And it is awesome… but I digress.
Check out was at 10 am and we were up and out early. We broke our fasts at the nearby Huddle House and tried to decide what we were going to do until 12pm. The vineyards couldn’t start serving until 12 on Sunday so we had traditionally knocked around the Antique store next door to Habersham, got some stone ground grits at the grist mill across the street, or had some coffee at the little local coffee shop. This year, R_ and B_ were kind of tired of the status quo, so we went off syllabus a little bit and drove into Helen, Ga to look for another coffee place that they liked… but it was closed too. So we drove a little further into Helen to look for something to do to kill the time until we could taste wine.
Now, the thing you need to know about Helen, Georgia is this. Long, long ago in the before times, Helen was a farming town, a gold rush town, and then a logging town. Sometime around 1969ish, some business minded folks realized that the logging industry that was sustaining the town wasn’t going to last much longer. Trees needing time to regrow and all that. They needed something to get folks to stop on their way up the mountains. So, they decided to become german-esque. The entire town rebranded itself as an alpine village. Seriously. Every building in the town is alpine inspired, from the Circle K, to the Huddle House, to the McD’s. It’s cute, kitschy, and it works. Helen is now a tourist stop in its own right.
Just as we got inside Helen, we spotted a miniature golf course, Alpine Golf. 18 holes of putt putt sounded like just the thing to do while we waited for the wine tasting, so we pulled in and got ready to putt. Luckily the rain had decided to hold off, mostly. We got in a full game of mini-golf and by then it was time head off to Habersham Winery.
The difference between the way we were treated at Yonah Mountain Vineyards the day before and they way we were treated at Habersham was striking. Where the previous day at Yonah we were ushered out a side door like poor country cousins come to visit while important company was at the big house, at Habersham we were greeted at the door, the greeter let us know that a special tasting had been set up for the wine highway patrons, and we were invited to take part in a complimentary tasting while we waited for the group ahead of us to finish. We wandered around the gift shop/tasting room as we waited. The wait wasn’t very long, and we were soon invited back into the winery. Habersham has always done something special for the wine highway each year we have visited and this year was exceptional.
The tasting flight was of three different applications of the chambourcin grape. We started off with the Cherokee Rose’, a 10% chambourcin blend. It had a nice crisp bite to it. The second wine in the tasting was the Georgia Scarlett which was a 58% chambourcin grape blend, with merlot, touriga, and vidal grapes making up the remaining 42%. It was a very tasty blend, more to the sweet side, which I liked. Our final wine, was the Chambourcin Dessert wine. 100% chambourcin grape this was the sweetest of the three we tried. For the highway, they had one of their library wines for us to taste. It was delicious. Habersham does really lovely work with their wines, and it shows.
Tasting at Habersham done, B_ pointed out that we missed one of the new wineries yesterday. As it was close by, we set out to track it down and see what they had to offer. Before we left the Habersham parking lot, we broke out the google maps to find this new vineyard. We drove up to CeNita just as the morning rain was getting started. We went inside the huge barn that the owner had built and went to our first tasting. It was refreshing to have pourers who were passionate about their product. We tried their Vidal Blanc, the Sauvis, the Chambourcin and their Red Red Wine blend and one of the pourers mentioned that they had a Cabernet Franc, but it was still pretty young and the owner wasn’t sure if they should have it out. B_ loves a cab franc so we had to try it. OMG was this a good wine. A good wine that will be even better in a year. B_ found the owner and talked shop for a bit then we headed off to our next winery.
Three Sisters is hands down my favorite vineyard. They aren’t a part of the Georgia Wine Growers Association, so we had to buy a separate tasting, but it is so worth it. These are folks that love what they are doing and they do it well. This year they had their champagne ready. Well… not champagne, because the naughty French people only want their champagne to be called champagne. So… Three Sisters has to call their champagne sparkling wine… semantics. Two years ago was the first time we heard about the sparkling wine that they were producing. Last year, we were very excited to try it, only to learn that the bottling machine was somewhere between Spain and the U.S. This year we got to try it and oh my gosh it was worth the wait. It is a delicious wine made using the traditional method of allowing fermentation within the bottle to produce the carbon dioxide, as opposed to the injection of carbon dioxide that most of the mass market sparkling wines use. You can definitely tell the difference and I can’t wait to ring in 2016 with our bottle.
After Three Sister, we headed to our final vineyard, Cavender Creek Vineyards. Cavender Creek is another favorite, as much for their wine dog and donkeys as for their wines. The folks at Cavender Creek make some delicious wines and this year was no exception. To be honest, the wines were so good that I forgot to take notes. But trust me… they were good.
After the tasting at Cavender Creek, B_ and R_ were talking shop with the owner. They had just gotten started on cutting back the vines for spring and there was a row of fresh Norton cuttings that were waiting to be collected… so the he offered B_ and R_ as many as they could carry. Needless to say the jeep was loaded down with vines before we headed back to B_ and R_’s place for the night.
We got back to B_ and R_’s, unloaded the jeep, ordered some take out (from a local italian place omg so good all the food in mah belly) had some wine, played some board games then crashed. The next day we were up and headed back to Mobile.
Putt Putt golf