Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Yadkin Valley wineries pair wine with food for annual event

By Dathan Kazsuk & Jennifer Primrose | February 13, 2017
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

We enjoy red wines. We also enjoy getting out of town, leaving the hustle and bustle of Raleigh behind for the more laid-back life of North Carolina's Yadkin Valley. We also like food – who doesn't? So, of course, we wanted to get our tickets for the second year in a row to the annual Yadkin Winter Reds Food & Pairing Event and get the heck out of dodge!

The event took place the weekend of January 28-29 inside 6 different Yadkin County wineries. Tickets for the event were $25 per person, and that entitled you to a 2-ounce pour of a signature red wine at each winery, which was also paired up with a tasty snack.

The wineries included during our weekend jaunt in Yadkin Valley included Cellar 4201, Divine Llama, Flint Hill, Sanders Ridge, RagApple Lassie and Hanover Park. It was a good opportunity to chat with some of the wine makers again over some wine and food.

Below you can check out their food and wine pairings we tasted over the weekend.

RagApple Lassie
RAGAPPLE LASSIE | At RagApple Lassie, we tried the Syrah served with a tenderloin beef slider. The slider had a mayo cream as well as a thin slice of a Granny Smith apple. This was our first stop of the weekend.

Sanders Ridge
SANDERS RIDGE | Sanders Ridge paired its Cabernet Franc with a Pimento cheese beef slider. The Cab Franc had a little "smokiness" to the wine, which paired well with the grilled beef in the slider.

Hanover Park
HANOVER PARK | Hanover Park was our last stop of our first day. There we sat down with co-owner Amy Helton and talked shop while we had a Tuscan bean soup paired with Michael's Blend – a red blend featuring Cab Sauv, Cab Franc with small amounts of Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. After the pairing we went to the main room for a tasting.

Related Story: Hanover Park made it on our list of best wineries we've been to in 2016. See who else made the list!

Day one of Winter Reds come to an end.
Day one was in the books, but not before we made a stop at Elkin's newest brewery, Angry Troll. There we met with one of the co-owners while sampling a flight of four of their beers. We thought each beer was true to its style – so this was two thumbs up for us.

Cellar 4201
CELLAR 4201 | We start off day two at Cellar 4201 where we had The Warrior paired with a smoked chili rubbed pork tenderloin. The Warrior is a red blend with hints of cherry and vanilla. We decided to do a full tasting afterwards, since it's been a year since last time we visited.

Divine Llama
DIVINE LLAMA | At Divine Llama, they paired the Merlina, a blackberry Merlot, with a chocolate cake. We both enjoyed the pairing, and it was the only winery during the weekend that paired a wine with a dessert. After the pairing, and the gracious hospitality, we ordered a glass of the In a Heart Beat and went to visit the llamas down the path.

FLINT HILL | Our final stop of the weekend ... or at least as far as the Winter Reds event goes. There we had a chicken and bacon pasta with spinach and tomatoes in a garlic cream sauce. That was paired with the Chambourcin – which we really like. After that tasting we decided to stick around for a full tasting, which was offered at a discount to Winter Red participants. How can we say no?

RELATED STORY: Leading off our Winter Reds weekend we spent that Saturday morning at Winston-Salem's Foothills Brewing for the release of its much sought after Sexual Chocolate. 

If our trip sounds fun, that's because it was. But it's not too late for you. The Yadkin Winter Reds is split into two weekends. The upcoming weekend takes place on February 25-26, and will feature the following Yadkin Valley wineries: 
Brandon Hills, Dobbins Creek, Laurel Gray, Shadow Springs and Windsor Run Cellars (which features some pretty good fortified wines).