Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 Triangle Wine Experience: Sip, Shop 'n Sign

Jennifer Primrose and Dathan Kazsuk | Feb. 8, 2017
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

As part of the annual Triangle Wine Experience weekend, a handful of local bottle shops hosted several winemakers for "Sip, Shop 'n Sign" events from Wednesday, February 1 to Saturday, February 4. These events were free to the public and allowed you to meet the winemakers while sampling their wine, purchasing wines at discounted prices and even having the winemakers sign your purchased bottle.

The local bottle shops participating in the 2017 event were:

  • Apex Fine Wines at the Mayton Inn
  • Chapel Hill Wine Co.
  • Great Grapes
  • Raleigh Wine Shop
  • Southern Season
  • Taylor's Wine Shop
  • Wine & Beer 101-Wake Forest
  • Wine Merchant Cary

Clearly, even over the course of three days, it is not feasible to attend each of these tastings, however, being the avid wine lovers that we are, we were able to get to three sip 'n signs this year.

The first one we attended was February 1 at Taylor's Wine Shop in North Raleigh with Sam Lando of Lando Wines. We had heard good things about Sam, so we decided to pay him a visit and try some of his wines. 

Lando started his wine career working for a wine producer before taking the leap himself and opening Lando Winery with his wife, Jennifer. They own a small Pinot Noir-focused winery, producing their first wine, a 2013 Russian River Pinot Noir and a 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, both released in 2015.

Sam Lando of Lando Wines.

On Friday, February 3, the next stop on our agenda was Taylor's Wine Shop. This is usually the most popular stop for the "Sip, Shop 'n Sign" because Taylor and Ben Cash fill every corner of the gas station with winemakers. This year featured wines by Hudson Wines, Keplinger Wines, Alexana Vineyards and one of our personal favorites, Reynolds Family Wines & Italics Winery. If you were at Taylor's that evening, you had the opportunity to sample close to 14 different California and Oregon wines that included some great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.

Since we've been to these tasting events as well as the TWE Gala for the past several years, the winemakers start to remember us, and that's always been the case with Steve Reynolds. As soon as we made our way up to the crowded tasting bar, Steve asks how we have been and what's new. After tasting all his wines we also found out that he's to star in a new independent movie titled "Decanted: A Winemaker's Journey." We'll have to view that one when it comes out.

We really liked the Pinot Noir flowing that night, and ended up getting one of the Reserve Pinot Noirs from Bryan Weil of Alexana Vineyards. We also enjoyed the Pinot from Hudson Wines as well.

Lee Hudson of Hudson Vines

Keplinger Wines poured two wines
Bryan Weil of Alexana Vineyards
Steve Reynolds of Reynolds Family Wines

Saturday afternoon, we decided to head to Wine & Beer 101-Wake Forest to meet Trent Moffett, winemaker of Moffett Vineyards in Oregon. Trent was offering up three of his wines for tasting. First was the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, followed by the Big Napa Red Blend and finally, the Cabernet Sauvignon. We walked away with a bottle of the Pinot Noir.

Trent Moffett of Moffett Vineyards

Having an opportunity to talk with Trent we learned a lot about his background as a winemaker. As previously mentioned, Moffett Vineyards is out of Oregon but Trent, originally from California, got his start in Napa Valley. He is a second-generation vintner, and like so many others we met this weekend, is producing some great Pinot Noir.

As a general rule, neither of us gravitate toward Pinot - as we are typically drawn to a full-bodied wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Our friend Lori nailed it when she described a Pinot Noir as either "too light bodied, too fruit forward or woodsy." This Pinot was none of these, but a very nice, balanced wine that we are looking forward to opening and pairing with a good meal in the near future. 

Us with Trent Moffett.

This concluded our 2017 Triangle Wine Experience "Sip, Shop 'n Signs" and next up was the Triangle Wine Experience Grand Gala & Auction.

Related Photos: Photos of 2016 Sip, Shop & Sign

Related Story: 2013 TWE Sip & Sign: Ridgewood Wine and Beer Company

Related Story: 2013 TWE Sip & Sign: Taylor's Wine Shop