A month or so back we were at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards, one of our favorite local vineyards. Charles, the owner and winemaker, was having some custom made Adirondack chairs delivered. These chairs were made 100% from his wine barrels!
Kim and I fell in love with these chairs. They were not only unique and beautiful, but they were very comfortable. The beautiful crimson color is from the wine that the barrel contained. How cool! Also, they have a cut out in the arm to hold your favorite wine glass ❤️🍷. There was also a side table made from the barrel head.
So Charles introduced us to the craftsman, Tracy Camp. He and his wife are wine travelers like Kim and I. We talked for quite a while, and I asked him to make us 2 chairs and a table. Charles offered to let me pick out the barrels from Baker Buffalo to have the chairs made from. The barrels I chose still had a wonderful Merlot in them, so I had to wait until the wine was removed and bottled.
Fast forward to this week…my chairs are ready!
Tracy called me and told me our chairs are ready! I picked up our chairs and table and we were absolutely blown away! These chairs are gorgeous and so comfortable. The Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards Merlot left a gorgeous stain on the wood. All of the staves used to make the chairs are beautiful. The barrel head has a beautiful stamp that makes the table unique and wonderful. Did I mention that ALL of the wood on these chairs and table come 100% from the wine barrels?!
These chairs hold so much uniqueness and meaning. They are a must have for any true wine lover. If you are interested in your own chairs or tables, you can contact me at email@example.com or Tracy Camp at firstname.lastname@example.org
So we talked about the wine classes we are taking to learn to distinguish wines based upon their characteristics. We were looking forward to Merlot week as we are red wine drinkers! Merlot week did not disappoint! It was amazing to learn how much Merlot suffered from one line in a movie from 2004 called Sideways. Paul Giamatti (a great actor by the way) and a friend take a week long road trip to Santa Barbara County wine country. Giamatti’s character loves Pinot Noir and states in a line in the movie”If anybody orders (expletive) Merlot, I’m leaving!”
Following the release of the film, Merlot sales dropped 2% and Pinot Noir sales increased 16%! A 2009 study by Sonoma State University found that Sideways slowed the growth of Merlot sales and caused its price to fall. Amazing that one line in a movie can have such an effect.
But enough of Hollywood and on to the wine. The official tasting was of a Merlot from Napa Valley, Trefethen. It is an estate grown Merlot with good reviews. It has a average price of $34.99 according to Vivino. It was an ok Merlot, but not my favorite. It was rather bland and lacked fruitiness and depth.
We always do a comparison wine, so I picked up a Washington State Merlot from Aldi. It was Crestwood Barrel Merlot. Retail price is $6.99. This Merlot was much better than the $35 Trefethen. It was fruity and had much more depth and character. Proof positive that price doesn’t always mean a superior wine! Washington state produces some under appreciated wines.
We are looking forward to next week as we learn about one of our absolute favorite varietals, Cabernet Franc. Stay tuned!
We have been attending classes with our friends who are opening a new winery in Spindale, NC. The classes are sponsored by the French Broad Vignerons. The classes are every Friday night for 12 weeks. Each week, we taste a different varietal that was purchased from a local wine shop. We were given the list and the case of different wines was purchased prior to the beginning of the classes. The first week was Sauvignon Blanc and this past week was Grüner Veltliner.
The focus of the education is to learn to identify the unique characteristics of each varietal to be able to identify it in a blind tasting. We go through the Court of Master Sommeliers Deductive Tasting sheet each week to learn color, nose, taste, clarity, etc. Rick Jelovsek is the host and wow do we learn a lot in a short period. This coming Friday’s Merlot and I can’t wait as I love reds. I bought a comparative Washington State Merlot to sample alongside what Rick has picked for Friday to contrast the difference. We love to expand our wine knowledge.
Well, you would think with the world being shut down for the past 5 months I would have found more time to write. The shutdown really put a cramp on our wine travels, but my “real job” jumped into hyper drive. So my writing and the blog has been the victim.
Despite drinking A LOT of wine at home, we were not able to visit wineries for quite a while. Thankfully, the stars aligned and we took a trip. Not just a local trip, but to Northern Georgia! We packed up with our best #winefriends and hit the road to Georgia on a Friday afternoon.
Our first stop was at Tiger Mountain Vineyards. It being our first experience at a Georgia winery, I wasn’t sure what kind of varietals to expect. This was a mountainous region so elevation, climate and soil type were going to be factors. Tiger Mountain has an interesting looking tasting room. There were tons of awards so I expected great wines!
I wasn’t disappointed. We were able to taste several of their wines and they were all very good. We ended up bringing home a bottle of their 2018 Raybun Red, which is a blend. Great depth and flavor! Then we were off to our next stop!
Quite a while back while we were visiting Charles and Ann at Baker Buffalo Creek, Charles invited us into the barrel room for a sneak peek at a new wine he was working on. Charles knew that CD Baker, his Cabernet Sauvignon aged in Bourbon barrels is one of my favorite wines. He told me that he was contacted about purchasing some Brandy barrels, and decided to buy a few. He then decided that he was going to age his Merlot, which is amazing on its own by the way, in the Brandy barrels. It had only been in the barrels a short while but Charles got out his wine thief (which makes my heart beat faster) and pulled me off a glass.
I only had a small frame of reference, as I have only ever tried one other Brandy Barrel aged Merlot, but man this was delicious! I told Charles that it had just about the perfect amount of Brandy flavor paired with the Merlot. We talked for a while and then we went back to the tasting room to finish our visit with he and Ann. Charles said that they were working on their label since this was a new wine. All labels have to be approved by the state.
Fast forward several months, to several visits later with some of our WTF (wine tasting friends 😊). I asked about the release of the new wine, which was to be named BE Baker after Ann’s grandmother. Ann stated that there had been some administrative hold ups and they still weren’t able to bottle. We asked them to make sure to let us know when they were able to bottle and release as we were anxious to have a whole bottle. Ann assured us that she would let us know.
Fast forward again to our current situation where we can’t visit the winery for tastings or on premise consumption. Ann contacts us to let us know they finally received approval on they’re new labels and they are going to bottle! She tells us that they will be ready for bottle pick ups on Friday! We are so excited to finally be able to get one of the first bottles of the new BE Baker. Friday afternoon, we jump in the WYNTRVLR Jeep to go pick up our wine. Luckily, it’s a beautiful afternoon and we can drop the top for a fun country Jeep ride.
We finally arrived at Baker Buffalo Creek after calling in our order. Kim took Charles and Ann some fresh baked sourdough bread and I walked around the farm for a few minutes while Kim and Ann caught up. Charles was busy working around the vineyard. It was a beautiful afternoon, and the lillys were blooming. The vines had experienced bud break and there were baby grape clusters on the Vines. Spring is such a beautiful time in the vineyard.
We picked up our BE Baker, along with several other selections of our own. We also picked up another bottle for our WTFs.
The new BE Baker, even freshly bottled, is I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. The classic Baker Buffalo Merlot is kissed by the flavor of the Brandy barrels resulting in a harmonious pairing of flavors. Our WTFs, who are very well versed in NC wines, agreed that this is one of the best #NCwines out there. I would put this up against anything you can find on the market, regardless of the origin. If you think that #NCwine is only sweet muscadine wines, which are great, think again. Charles, Ann and many other terrific wine makers across NC and SC are producing estate grown wines that rival California and Italian produced wines.
We travel NC and SC to bring you the best wines in all varietals and styles. Follow us for our trips, experiences and tips. Especially during this economically difficult time for local businesses, including wineries, support your local businesses. While they cannot offer tastings or on-site consumption, many wineriees are still offering curbside pickup up and many are offering some great deals! Drink local and support local. Until next time, Cheers! ✌🏻♥️😊🍷
Super excited! We joined another wine club. We received our card from @rockofageswinery today. As a member of the “Old Cellar Wine Club” you receive amazing discounts on AMAZING wine! We have our first case as wine club members on the way. 40% off when you purchase 12 or more bottles! AND YOU CAN JOIN TODAY FOR ONLY $5!!! This is usually $35! Hop on over to their website http://www.rockofageswinery.com and join today! Let them know @carolinawinetraveler sent you. #ncwine #ncwino #wyntrvlr ✌🏻❤️😊🍷
Visit Rock of Ages winery today and be sure to join the club while the membership is only $5!
Tonight was a beautiful evening to enjoy one of our favorite wines on the patio. Granda is a blend of Chambourcin, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from our great friends Charles and Ann at @BakerBuffaloCreek. The mellow reds blend wonderfully, and are accented by the acidity of the Chambourcin.
Since we are impatient and can’t wait to decant the wine, we really like our Vinturi aerator. It instantly aerates wines and opens them up, revealing their bouquet and complexity. Its amazing how much air it incorporates so quickly! This is a must have for any red wine lover. 🍷
One of our traditions is after opening a bottle of wine, you can’t deposit the cork in the cork cage without a kiss ♥️. Needless to say, we have LOTS of corks, and I get LOTS of kisses 😊💋
It’s well worth your time to visit Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard at 3521 Fallston-Waco Road Lawndale, NC 28090. http://www.bakerbuffalocreek.com. They are offering curbside pickup during the Covid-19 crisis. Granda is $18 per bottle and is a wonderful choice for red wine lovers. Their Chambourcin is also one of our favorites. If you’re not familiar with this varietal, you need to give it a try. It is a NC signature as it grows well in this region. While you are there, you will have a great time listening to Charles, the winemaker. He and his wife Ann are delightful! Listen to his story about “from shine to wine” telling the history of the farm where the vineyard is located. We will feature a story on this vineyard in a later post.
I hope you are weathering the stay in place order ok, and hope to see you on the other side of this crisis. We can’t wait to get back to our great friends and winery travels. Until than , Cheers! #ncwine #ncwino #wyntrvlr ✌🏻❤️😊🍷
During the Corona virus epidemic and the stay at home orders in place in both Carolinas, we are fortunate that wineries have been allowed to remain open. While the tasting rooms may be closed, we can still support the wineries by placing pick up orders or having orders shipped. Many of the wineries are even offering special deals or FREESHIPPING! This is generally a busy time for the wineries as weather is beautiful, bud break is occurring and tasting rooms are usually bustling. Do your part by supporting your favorites, and it is a great time to try new Carolina wineries! Trust me, we will do our part and then some. And we will share our selections with you. The NC Wine Guys have dinner an excellent job of compiling a database of specials and free shipping on their site. Hop over and check them out, and let them know we sent you! http://www.ncwineguys.com.
This is a site where we will share our journeys across the Carolinas as we visit North Carolina and South Carolina wineries. We will share our thoughts, photos and favorites. We also post daily photos on our Instagram account of the wines that we try nightly so be sure to follow us there. We like to make wine simple for the average wine lover. Thanks for visiting!