Last week marked the official start of summer bringing with it higher temps and humidity. Trying to find some relief from the heat I opened a couple of recently received samples of Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay 2011 and Biltmore® Riesling. After a long week that brought some tough decisions my husband and I sat in our front porch rocking chairs watching humming birds feed on simple syrup, resident Chickadees, Phoebe and Joey sitting on another nest and countless fire flies lighting up the night all while enjoying those wonderful Biltmore wines. All the while knowing Saturday the make up of our little country “clan” would be changed. But on that night it was all about enjoying what Mother Nature has provided, in the form of wild life, vegetation and wine.
Biltmore® Chardonnay Reserve 2011
Color of summer straw in the glass with aromas of ripe peach, green apple and oak. The first few sips present flavors of citrus, stone fruit and a hint of minerality in the finish. After a bit of time in the glass, warmed by the humid evening flavors of lush tropical mango and pineapple showed up to the party in my glass.
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Appellation: 81% North Carolina, 19% California
Varietal: 100% Riesling
Appellation: 99% Monterey, Solano (California), 1% North Carolina
Last summer my husband, myself and our dog Rooster took our first trip to Asheville, NC home to the Biltmore Estate. I didn’t make it to the great home since we had our dog and the North Carolina temperatures were stifling but we did enjoy our time in Asheville.
We stayed at a dog friendly B&B, Blake House Inn built circa 1847. Built by Joseph B. Pyatt, the home was intended as a summer retreat from the oppressive Charleston heat. Pyatt sold the home to Dr. Frederick Blake who made the home his permanent residence. Since that time the home has served as a Confederate Field Hospital, used as part of the Underground Railroad (this has not been substantiated) before becoming private residence once again. The antebellum home was once owned by actress Andie MacDowell’s grandmother. In an interview with Southern Living magazine MacDowell claimed her fondest childhood memories were spent in Asheville in her grandmother’s home. We stayed in the same room where the actress scribbled graffiti on the closet walls. If you climb up on the steps in the closet and turn around you can still see the writing.
We spent a lot of time exploring the shops and restaurants of quaint Biltmore Village. We didn’t time our trip very well and arrived the same weekend as Bele Chere, a huge music and arts festival taking place downtown. Unfortunately they did not allow dogs and we didn’t want to leave Rooster alone in a strange place. At BiltmoreVillage we found several dog friendly restaurants and places where we could grab a cold drink and some much needed shade.
Black Mountain, “the front porch of western North Carolina”, is a short drive from Asheville and a great way to spend an afternoon. There you’ll find a small town atmosphere catering to those who long to get away from city life even if it’s just for a few hours. Wandering down West State St. we had to stop at The Merry Wine Market and pick up some wonderful wine finds. If you’re looking for a cold beverage pop into Pisgah Brewing Co. or Lookout Brewing. Rooster was in doggy heaven at Bone-A Fide, a pet boutique where your pooch can be treated to homemade doggy cookies. Feeling our Blake House breakfast fade we sat outside in the shade at Black Mountain Ale House. Have a mentioned North Carolina is full of micro-breweries and alehouses?
Saturday night we attended at wine tasting, Rooster too, at Table Wine. Established in 2010 Table Wine is recognized as a wine retailer in South Asheville focusing on “wines for the people” with a tagline of “artisanal wines at affordable prices. My kind of place! We noshed on some yummy cheese and crackers and made several wine purchases both by the glass to enjoy at the wine bar and the bottle to enjoy at home.
I know we’ll make it to Asheville again and next time I hope to plan it so we can go to the Biltmore Estate, I’m thinking Christmas when it’s much, much cooler.
Well, so much for reminiscing back to the present and the hard facts that come with country life, sometimes it just stinks. No longer can I hear the early morning, late morning, early afternoon, late afternoon and early evening, ok all day crows from Bob the rooster. Living in the country isn’t always a serene and peaceful lifestyle. Many times there are some really rough decisions to be made, especially when it comes to livestock and the safety of others.
I don’t think I talked about Bob too much in my posts but my friends all know our plight. Bob was a man-fighter, meaning he saw us as the enemy and attacked whenever possible. He was becoming more aggressive and violent to the point I couldn’t walk out into the yard without being attacked and one of the hens was so afraid she refused to come out of the coop. As Bob’s spurs were now growing in, it was only a matter of time until he caused serious injury.
We have two roosters in our new batch and we’re watching them closely to figure out who is the less aggressive. Once determined we’ll put the other up for adoption on Craig’s List. Anyone want a young cockerel (rooster)?