When it comes to produce grown in the state of Georgia, most people think of peaches. However, the state is also home to a number of vineyards that grow excellent grapes, producing award-winning wines. When looking for wineries in the state, it’s best to head to the North Georgia Mountains, which boasts a number of outstanding wineries that benefit from the area’s unique climate. The following are two of the best:
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery
Located near the town of Dahlonega, Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery has won more than 200 medals at prominent wine competitions and tastings throughout the country. In fact, it stands out as the only winery in the state to take home Double Gold and Best-in-Class medals from the Los Angeles International Wine Competition and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
The winery’s red wines include the Boegner Family Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged for two years in Hungarian and American oak barrels, this small lot wine features notes of vanilla and dark chocolate. The vineyard produces this wine only when the conditions are right to achieve exceptional quality. The result is a highly awarded wine that won Double Gold at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Wolf Mountain’s other award-winning wines include the Claret. A blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine underwent aging for 24 months in American and Hungarian oak barrels. Like the Boegner Family Private Reserve, this wine triumphed at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, taking home a Double Gold.
Red wine lovers should also be sure to try the Howling Wolf Red. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this wine was first aged for a year in new American oak barrels before being blended and then aged for four more months. The result is a unique blend with bold tannins and strawberry jam fruit flavors.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery also produces white wines, including the Chanteloup, a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. This medium-bodied wine pairs well with soft cheeses and smoked seafood. The winery’s other dry white wine is the Plenitude, which in French means “all the best.” A blend of Viognier and Chardonnay, this wine features notes of grapefruit and citrus and goes well with light seafood dishes.
Visitors can sample Wolf Mountain’s wines in its tasting room, which features stunning mountain views and a four-sided bar made of stone and cedar. Those looking for an outdoor tasting experience can step out on the veranda, which has a waterfall terrace and offers the perfect setting for sampling wines accompanied by various cheeses.
To learn more about the winery and its wines, visit www.wolfmountainvineyards.com.
Three Sisters Vineyards
Also located in Dahlonega, Three Sisters Vineyards stands out as the first farm to grow wine grapes in Lumpkin County. The winery, named after Three Sisters Mountain to the west, produces wines made exclusively from estate-grown Dahlonega Plateau grapes.
The winery’s red wines include the Cabernet Franc, which is aged in American and French oak barrels and features notes of pepperberry, spice, and cherry. Cabernet Franc grows exceptionally well in the cool weather of the Dahlonega Plateau, and the result is a beautiful red wine that pairs well with steak.
Also aged in French and American oak barrels, the Merlot is a versatile wine that features currant and cherry flavors and pairs well with a variety of dishes. Meanwhile, the Cab Franc-Merlot is a blend of Cabernet Franc (53 percent) and Merlot (47 percent) that has flavors of plummy, spicy jam.
Three Sisters’ white wines include a Chardonnay fermented in stainless steel before aging for a year in French oak barrels (the “sur lie” method). The result is a lovely white wine with pineapple and tropical fruit notes. Meanwhile, the Chardonnay No Oak, as suggested by its name, is not aged in oak barrels. Instead, it is fermented in stainless steel, a strategy the winemakers use to bring out the true nature of the grape. This Chardonnay pairs well with pasta in curried shellfish or creamy pasta.
White wine lovers should also try the Chestatee White, a blend of Vidal Blanc and Pinot Blanc. Similar to Pinot Grigio, this off-dry wine features notes of apple and honeydew melon.
Also producing sparkling wines, Three Sisters invites visitors to try the Georgia Cuvée, a blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir made according to the traditional Méthode Champenoise, or the Georgia Cuvée Rosé, which has flavors of ripe berry and notes of Honeycrisp apple that pairs well with white cheeses, grilled seafood, and roasted lamb.
Three Sisters Vineyards offers regular tastings, such as the Vintner’s Tasting, which allows visitors to select five wines, and the Chicks & Chocolate Tasting, which features six wines carefully paired with artisan chocolates.
For more information about Three Sisters Vineyards and its tastings, visit threesistersvineyards.com.