Believe it or not, these photos were taken in the mountains in eastern North Carolina. The villa, the décor, the grapes in the vineyard, and the wine, would all be right at home in the wine regions of Italy. Villa Raffaldini, a 6,000 square foot tasting room is inspired by the villas in the Lombardy region of Italy; a slogan of the winery is Chianti in the Carolinas. We discovered this gem of a winery three years ago and have visited each year since then.
Italy is reflected in the choice of the grapes grown and the wines they produce. Montepulciano and Sangiovese are the predominant grapes featured on their wine list. Many visitors to the tasting room are somewhat familiar with these varietals due to the popularity of Italian restaurants, where these full-bodied reds are paired with pastas and other Italian dishes. Whites, such as, Pinot Grigio and Vermentino are also regularly enjoyed by many Americans. What visitors may not be accustomed to is the quality and depth of wine that these varietals produce in North Carolina. Every wine at this winery is exceptional. Our favorite is possibly a red blend, called Bella Misto. Italian for beautiful mix, this wine is a blend of those wonderful Italian grapes Montepulciano and Sangiovese with Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Pinot Noir. The result is a medium-bodied red with savory aromas and flavors of dark fruits. For those who enjoy a dry Rosé, their Girasole (Italian for sunflower) is made from the free run juice, skins for only 24 hours, from Montepulciano and Sangiovese. This wine has earthy aromas and flavors of red cherries.
Off the beaten bath, on many side roads after you leave I-77, it is worth finding. Use their directions map on the website (check my link) or use a GPS. I definitely recommend a visit. Any wine lover will find a lot to enjoy and want to return over and over. I certainly do!
For over twenty years, we’ve been enjoying visiting Barboursville Vineyards. We only get there once a year, so we look forward to the visit and have never been disappointed. Our visit last month was memorable because we experienced a unique tasting. The winery has created a library tasting room and offer tastings on the weekends of their reserve wines. Visitors to the library tasting room are treated to a walk through the Octagon Room, where the barrels of that special wine reside. When you enter the tasting room, the first thing you notice is the impressive view through the many windows overlooking rows of Cabernet Franc vines with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Guests are given tastes while seated at tables. Special foods are offered along with the reserve wines. After a flight of tastings that include some of the most amazing vintages of Octagon, you can purchase a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy the ambiance.
Barboursville Vineyards is one of those special wineries where the high quality of every wine is evident, even those you don’t particularly enjoy. Personally I don’t like Viognier (a white) or Merlot (a red) wines, because I don’t like the flavor of the grapes. Barboursville’s Viognier Reserve and Merlot Reserve are both exceptionally well-made and I can recognize and recommend them to someone who enjoy those varietals. I would actually recommend any of their wines, but my favorites are the Octagon, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, and Vermentino. My husband also loves the Petit Verdot.
A visit to Barboursville Vineyards is always great, can’t wait till next year!
Some good news for wine lovers in Northern Kentucky, the annual Wine Festival at MainStrasse is only two weeks away. MainStrasse is a community in the west side of Covington, that is noted for events such as Oktoberfest, the Carroll Clock Tower, and the Goose Girl Fountain at the Sixth Street Promenade. In recent years, it has also been known for one of the state’s premier wine festivals. With regional wineries, as well as some from other regions of the state, pouring tastes from their award-winning wines, artisans selling specialty items, local foods, and entertainment, the festival attracts thousands of visitors each year. Those visitors have always been rewarded with a good time and lots of good wine.
This years festival will be on October 15, from 3 to 10 PM, rain or shine. For a $10 admission, wine lovers get a souvenir glass and 4 sample tickets. Additional tickets for more samples and glasses of wine can be purchased. Visitors can also buy bottles of wine to take home to enjoy later. The festival is open to those over 21. Parking is available in the 5th Street Parking Lot and the nearby IRS lot.
MainStrasse Village, a historic neighborhood with homes, shops, taverns, and restaurants, is located just off the 5th Street exit off of I-75, in Covington, just south of Cincinnati.
We’ve attended many years and enjoyed ourselves. MainStrasse is a lovely place for a festival and Kentucky has many good wineries. How could you not have fun.