Someone once asked us how we pick the wineries we visit. Honestly, we said, it is purely random. For example, during a recent sojourn along I-77, we decided to make a wine stop. It had already been a long day of travel, we were both tired, and the dogs were traveling with us. Still, it had been a while since we had visited a winery and the urge was far too great. Using our location, we allowed Google to ping the closest vineyard (see random), and jones von drehle in Thurmond, NC was selected.
Now I have written many times about our love/hate relationship with Google Maps and the directions given. Although it appeared a simple drive, Google carried us through the countryside over a dozen backroads to jones von drehle’s beautiful estate. We believed we were in the middle of nowhere, but as we learned later from the JvD staff there is a much closer and easier path to follow. We tell you this so that you’ll check your own travel map should you decide to visit this spectacular winery.
The layout of jones von drehle is rather awe-inspiring as you turn into the estate. You see the winery perched on a hill in the distance, with 30-acres of grapes surrounding your drive. As we considered a tasting, the JvD staff pointed out that the winery specializes in only dry, European-styled wine. This was a welcome and much-appreciated tip considering only half of this team has a palate for dry wines.
Having said that, the staff did offer a taste of their 2017 Dulcimer wine as the only thing they produced for those of us who enjoyed a sweet taste. This was a slightly sweet Rosé or Blush wine and oddly reminded me of Plum wine. We purchased a bottle of the Dulcimer, and enjoyed it with a stir-fry dish, and even as a dessert wine with some strawberries.
Of the dry wines, several were very good:
Viognier – a crisp and aromatic white.
Tempranillo – a dark red produced from a Spanish grape.
Cabernet Franc – a classic.
After trying both the Steel and Barrel Chardonnay, we purchased a bottle of the Barrel. Fermented and aged in French oak, which really helped to round out the flavor, which no doubt included its own characteristics during the aging process
JvD has received over 350 awards on all levels – international, national and regional. When we left, construction was well underway on an amphitheater designed to seat around a thousand people. Therefore, the future of this winery is big, with the ability to host some amazing events and celebrations. Check it out.
As we were leaving the JvD staff suggested we visit a neighbor – McRitchie Winery. Again the dogs were in the car, but the weather was cool, and McRitchie is directly behind jones von drehle.
McRitchie was a smaller establishment, with a place that feels like home. They even have a piano in the tasting room. At McRichie they offer a nice sampling of 4 wines and 2 ciders. Both of their ciders are dry, but their Sour Cherry was the best in our book. We do enjoy a good Traminette blend, and the Fallingwater White was refreshing.