Christmas in July Wine Tasting

Christmastime typically evokes joyful feelings when family and friends create special memories with each other. Our memories can be triggered by a simple scent or taste. Some of the aromas that elicit holiday cheer for us are cinnamon, ginger, pine, baked goods, cloves, and other spices.

So, may I suggest, the secret of Christmas
Is not the things you do at Christmas time,
But the Christmas things you do all year through

We chose a handful of the many North Carolina wines to share with a few guests in the spirit of Christmas and would love to share the consensus with you.

We started our taste bud travels in the Yadkin Valley area with the first USDA-Certified Organic vineyard and winery in North Carolina, Carolina Heritage Vineyard and Winery. This winery was established in 2005 and uses no animal by-products or grains in the production of their wines. They have nine acres of hybrid and Muscadine grapes and 1.5 acres of blueberries. From Carolina Heritage, we sampled three wines to get us into the holiday spirit: Apple Pie, Holiday, and Glögg.

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Apple Pie — Just as its name suggests, this wine reminded everyone of a fresh apple pie. The only thing missing was the crust. It’s a sweeter wine that would be perfect as a dessert. Spices and apple linger on the palate. Some guests noticed cinnamon, whereas others picked up almond flavor.

What They Say: Sweet spiced wine fermented from North Carolina Apples. Smells and tastes like Apple Pie!

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Holiday — This wine is a semi-sweet, polished wine. All guests noticed a berry/cranberry aroma and detected cranberry on the palate. Although Holiday has a tart finish, it’s easily accessible and a smooth drink. This reminded us of that perfect little cranberry side dish that finds its way to the dinner table over the holidays. We would love to include this addition to the table for our next family gathering.

What They Say: Semi-sweet blend of our Cranberry and Cabernet Franc wines. Smooth red wine with a pleasant cranberry aroma and upfront taste and slightly tart finish.  Vegan-friendly and Gluten-free. Perfect to serve with poultry or soft cheeses! Also delightful as a “spritzer” when small amount of ginger ale is added.

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Glögg — Wow! This is the first warm North Carolina wine that we’ve tried. Warm this wine in a slow cooker on “low” for 10-15 minutes before serving. Afterwards, place the setting on “warm,” so as not to loose any of the warmth. So many aromas lingered from the spices. We noticed clove, cinnamon, mulled spices, and orange zest on the palate. This is a complex and beautiful wine that would be perfect to sip snuggled up on a snowy day or by a cozy fire. It reminded us of the joyful comforts during the holidays.

What They Say: Traditional Scandinavian heated spiced wine made with almonds, raisins, orange peel, sugar, and traditional spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Excellent alone or served with nuts, fruit, breads, etc.

Our second winery visit was Silver Coast Winery, which is a wonderful winery tucked away in Ocean Isle Beach. Check out our tasting review at Silver Coast to learn more about all the treasures this winery has to offer. Silver Coast opened its doors in 2002 and added Dana Keeler as their winemaker in 2004. Since then, Silver Coast has won over 300 national and international medals for its European style wines. As an added bonus, Downtown Southport is home to an additional Silver Coast Tasting and Taproom. We enjoyed their Holiday Red and were happy to share it with guests.

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Holiday Red — This fruity wine has cranberry and pomegranate aromas, which linger on the palate. We noticed hints of cherry with the wine’s velvety finish. To play with the flavors even more so, we enjoyed sipping it while nibbling on German chocolate candies. Holiday Red is a real treat!

What They Say: Beautiful and vibrant red hues immediately entice your eye in the glass. Rich aromas of pomegranate unfold. Ripe plum, soft black cherry flavors create a soft, silky mouth feel. This wine is delectable with sinful holiday treats or enjoyed simply as dessert.

The next winery on our tasting adventure was Fiddler’s Vineyard, located in Cherryville, North Carolina. Fiddler’s Vineyard is a small, family-owned winery, which opened it’s doors in 2012. One thing that we noticed at the NC Wine Festival, as well as when we visited their website, is that they create distinct and unusual sweet wines. Some of their sweet wines include: four chocolate wines, two pepper wines, watermelon wine, peppermint wine, apple wine, and strawberry wine. We shared their holiday wine, Jingle Bells, with our guests. Make sure to go visit them for a free tasting and watch the Fiddler play!

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Jingle Bells — The first thing that caught our eye was the adorable label, displaying Jolly Old Saint Nick. In the glass, this wine has a deep, rich color. The aroma is sweet and almost candied. It’s slightly acidic with a cherry finish. This wine gives us sweet Christmas memories and tastes like cherry cordial.

Our final visit of the night was to Locklear Vineyard & Winery, located in Maxton, North Carolina. Locklear Winery has such a wonderful story of over 40 years of winemaking on the family farm. Fortunately for us, the winery was established in 2006. They’ve learned how to root native vines with varieties of Muscadine vines to produce many different flavors. We were thrilled to share their Christmas In A Bottle with our guests.

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Christmas In A Bottle — We’re not sure how Locklear Winery did it, but they truly bottled Christmas with all sorts of holiday feelings and memories. This light wine looks like a Rosé but has very different aromas and flavors. On the nose, there are hints of spice and cranberry. After sipping, however, there’s a lighter sweetness. It’s a bright wine that would be great to sip anytime of the day, especially during the holidays. It made us think of the fun family traditions we practice every year and all of the special memories we create while being together.

What They Say: This wine is full of taste that is great for any occasion. We like to say it’s Christmas in a bottle.

We hope you’ve enjoyed a small tour of four of the 180+ wineries that can be found in North Carolina and six of the special wines they’d love to share with you. What are some of your favorite holiday wines?

Until our next glass…

Go Local. Drink Carolinas. 🍷

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