Wow, we had a fantastic time this Christmas with our family, as we took the day after to travel up the road to Childress Vineyards. Even the weather was on our side, with clear blue skies, and a crisp freshness to the air. The winery is located on open farmland in Lexington, NC just off Highway 52. Childress is spectacular to behold, with 41 acres of vineyards covering the countryside. Although all the plants were dormant for the winter, it was easy to imagine as you drove up to the main building neat rows of vibrant green vines bugling with grapes. We learned later that the winery maintains another 30 acres in Clemmons, NC.
Our trip to Childress was a chance to try some new wine, but also to partake in a culinary experience. The winery features a beautiful Bistro, with some truly excellent food, and reservations are strongly advised.
The four us of each choose something different:
· Homemade potato soup with cheddar cheese, and half a Reuben with gruyere
· Honey Walnut Chicken Salad Croissant
· Grilled sharp cheddar on Texas toast also with the potato soup
· The week’s Trifecta, which featured a Mexican theme (shredded pork tacos) paired with the perfect wines to complement the menu which features a different theme each week.
The Bistro is an L-shaped deck veranda on the second floor of the building. Glass doors are closed in the winter for dining, and it was still slightly chilly, so dress warmly. As we ate, we could not help but imagine the place in the spring or summer, with the warm breezes drifting through the bistro, and the view of the vast vineyards below covered in green. We confess our tour of the NAPA valley many, many, many years ago didn’t offer such a pleasing dining experience.
One of the culinary delights that we all talked about on the way home was our appetizer. It was a Chef’s choice NC Local Cheese Board that featured Five Kinds of Cheese, House-made Jam, Olive Tapenade, Orange Honey, and Artisan Crackers. The board
showcased an excellent variety of both hard and soft selections. However, one cheese was unpleasing so that after sampling, the spread was placed in quarantine. While another was so delicious, that there were moments of dueling cheese knives, as we each fought for our fair share.
We passed on individual desserts, although the menu featured some decadent choices. Instead we all shared the Cinnamon-Sugar Churros with vanilla ice cream that came with the Trifecta.
From lunch, we moseyed into the Tasting Room and Gift Shop. Childress offers two tasting experiences: Cellar Select Tasting $12, and the Barrel Select Tasting $15. The Cellar is white (predominately off-dry) wines, and the Barrel is red (dry/full-bodied) wines. We took one of each, and our tasting guide Emily discussed in detail the processes and secrets behind the individual wine’s tastes and aromas.
We brought home four bottles of wine, and we will be reviewing them in the weeks ahead. Our
extended family also purchased two bottles, and we have asked them for a review of their selections. One wine that we do want to share now, which left a lasting impression on us, was the Childress Classic White. It is a semi-sweet wine with whiffs of tropical fruits and a slight citrus tang. Our wine guide Emily called it a Safe Wine. One of those wines you can serve at any occasion, and everyone will like.
After tasting the Classic White, we had to concur. It is the perfect table wine for entertaining. With such a pleasing taste that you find yourself commenting on how refreshing it is, with a sweet light finish. Although we have not had it with a meal, we feel confident this wine is a winner.
Look for our reviews of Childress Classic Blush, Three Rose, and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon in future postings.