Happy Father’s Day!
Having to travel often for work but not having any local family members to travel to, my leisurely Father’s Day Sunday began with an early church service and a couple Skype conversations. Quickly realizing I had an entire afternoon ahead of me with no pressing plans in mind, I decided to take a small afternoon road trip to enjoy some quiet hours with no one to entertain or cater to. Feeling confident that most wineries would have some sort of Father’s Day event to compliment their tastings, I dug around in my wine cabinet for my North Carolina wine map, easily spotting one of local interest: Davesté Vineyards.
Armed with a good book, my laptop, and a few small tapas-style snacks to munch on, I set out for Vineyard-Adventure #1.
After a brief drive, I found myself pulling onto a dusty dirt driveway. As I drove past rows of grapes surrounded by a lush wooded landscape and pulled into the parking space, I half-expected that I would end up blogging something about the vineyard’s picturesque setting or the outdoorsy feel of Davesté as a whole. Complete with a small pond and winding hiking trail through the forest, burnt logs as parking space dividers, and a quaint outdoor patio next to the log cabin tasting room, the location certainly has an natural appeal.
Having barely stepped through the doorway, two very social employees scurrying about the room paused from preparing for the day’s opening crowd (just me, ha) to heartily greet me at the doorway. Despite the ladies simultaneously chattering to me, preparing my tastings, and tidying up a few items from a bustling Italian wedding the night before, I continued to sip the wines and listen to their grape commentary as they buzzed about the room.
When I learned that the second guest of the day happened to be a winemaker from Napa Valley, I realized this blog entry couldn’t be about Davesté’s environment – it would certainly have to be about the people who visit wineries. Perhaps I should have left my book in the car for this adventure?
Vineyards are apparently a consummate social gathering opportunity. From the wedding the night before to the small clusters of individuals, couples, families and groups of friends trickling in, it seems like everyone had a few simple, similar goals: to enjoy good food, good wine, and good company.
Having recently traveled quite frequently to the Caribbean, I’m only just beginning to appreciate the subtle art of Latin tapas meals and the basic human principle that tapas engages: creating small, easy appetizers to nibble, which encourages conversation as the diners are not so focused on the meal. Turns out, this is perfect for winery environments, because humans are indeed social creatures! We’re designed to interact with one another – and what better way to socialize than to travel to a beautiful landscape, bring a refreshing picnic of tasteful snack foods, and sample the fruits of local wine makers. Wines are as unique as people, and both are equally as intriguing.
Here at Davesté, after finishing my tasting and settling down at a table outside to listen to music and continue a conversation with Mr. Napa Valley Winemaker, I couldn’t help but continue to observe those around me.
A mother chases her toddler son around the patio as he totters between tables, dancing with his arms in the air.
The musician jokes with a group of women as he transitions between songs and they unpack their picnic.
A couple enjoys a bottle of wine on the house in celebration of their new engagement at the vineyard.
The winemaker uncorks a bottle of his own vintage and shop talks with the owners.
A grandfather laughs, blissfully enjoying the company of his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.
As one gentleman at the table next to me cheerfully told me, “You only find happy people at vineyards!”
I may have thought that I could learn what to expect from a wine by its heritage, its generation, or the class of grape, but like Davesté Vineyards (which just happens to be an amalgamated name formed by the combination of the winemaker’s name, David, and his wife’s, Este) there’s more to a wine than meets the eye. Perhaps wines really are like people: it’s only after we spend some time getting to know someone, learning about their environment and background factors that contributed to their growth that we may be able to begin to detect the subtle hints of flavor and personality in us all.
For my first official North Carolina Wine Extravaganza visit to a relaxed, earthy environment, extremely hospitable hosts, and approachable wines perfect for a relaxing summer day, I give Davesté vineyards’ a four out of five!
- Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($18) Equal hints of berry and cedar with a touch of spicy aftertaste; estate grown
- Merlot 2008 ($17) Plum, floral notes, black cherry and tea
Other Tasting Notables:
- Chardonnay 2008 — Green apple and pear intertwined with oak, green apple and oak being the primary flavors
- Viognier 2008 — Apricot and orange peel; bronze medal; light on the apricot, orange dominating the scenses
- Traminette 2009 — Spicy fruit, off dry, acidic
- Trillium 2009 — A proprietary mixture of three grapes; fresh crushed flowers and tropical fruits aromas
- Malbec 2009 — Berry and white pepper; estate grown
- Dulcinea 2008 — Aromas of port, toffee, raisins, prunes and spice