a day trip to wine country

ha! i got you there. you're thinking, Now what wine country could she be referring to? why, that's Georgia wine country to you. For those of you (like my mother) who never even knew that Georgia had wineries, who think that Georgia doesn't have what it takes to keep up with the big boys? Well, you've got another thing coming. It’s not just about moonshine anymore. Just what kind of slack-jawed yokels do you think we are anyway? Sheesh.

after totally crashing the party at Montaluce’s first Tweetup in January, I maintained a steady Twitter friendship not only with the Beecham brothers (the owners of the winery), but also with a few of the people we met from the last time. We were invited back last Sunday for a special Tweetup featuring the ’09 Montaluce wines just released. Seeing as there was no NASCAR on that day, the boy came with me (and as Brent Beecham later confided to me, had there been a NASCAR race that day, the TVs on the patio would have been tuned in to it).

For those of you who aren’t in the know, a Tweetup is an event where people who follow each other on Twitter get to meet in person, then Tweet about it live. It’s not nearly as anti-social as it sounds. Talking and tweeting at the same time is not hard to do – we can multitask with the best of them. Mad skills, we have.

Although it had poured down rain about an hour before we were to meet (and I mean, POURED. Trust me. we got caught in it), by the time the party started the oppressive heat had come back in full force. This time, our group was much smaller than the one in January, and it was very pleasant.

We found ourselves gathered on the large patio right outside of the tasting and dining room despite the heat, because for some odd reason the breeze blowing through really managed to cool things down in that one area. So we ended up having our wine tasting out there instead of inside, and it was cozy and enjoyable. I’m going to stop rambling now and post pictures, because that’s really what you want to see, right? So here we go.

2009 Montaluce Ristata. As I was drinking this, the breeze blew through the porch as the new vineyard manager Maria was talking about how this wine reminded her of French rosés; and I found myself drifting off into reminisces (as I always do) of the last time I was in the south of France, drinking rosé all day while on the beach. My extended French family is spread out around Provence; I remember spending summers as a child at a wee small resort called Le Lavandou. Local wineries sell rosé in bulk; you bring empty bottles, and they’ll fill them for you. You quickly learn which wineries have the best rosé and you stick with them all summer, faithfully. I found myself not wanting to stop drinking the Montaluce Risata as it was making me nostalgic for Le Lavandou (where my mom is currently). This wine is light and very drinkeable.

Maria talking about the Risata while Brad (the GM) listens.

The empties adding up. Quickly, I might add.

We also tasted their Primoro (a blend of Seyval and Vidal grapes), the Chardonnay, the Viognier, and the Dolce, which the Beecham brothers described as Montaluce’s answer to sweet tea. Then we moved inside to taste the 2008 Centurio,a reserve from 90% 2008 Georgia Merlot and 10% 2008 French Merlot.

And then, sufficiently fortified and feeling a bit giddy, our group moved outside to take a looky loo at the vines.

Maria explained that they were about 3 weeks out from harvest (2 weeks now, as this was last Sunday), and that they would harvest the Malbec first. Then we sauntered back inside to escape the intensity of the sun.

I know it appears as though I’m pretending to be Atlas in female form, but I was really hugging the barrels. They were so nice and pretty. It was about that point where we decided what a good idea it would be to saunter back upstairs where @WholeMind was pouring out his homemade mead.

Mead? Why yes. Have you ever tried mead? I never had! strawberry and lavender mead is ridiculously tasty, and reminiscent of Belgian lambic. And nothing good can come of that after tasting wine for a couple of hours and standing out in the hot sun.

@EatBuHi, @HelloNorthGA, and @montalucewine (those are their Twitter handles) left by then, and we were planning to leave as well but got strongarmed by the rest of the group to stay for dinner. By “strongarmed” I mean that they football tackled us. Right, whatever; we willingly stayed. and as we drank more wine, got more merry, and the jokes got dirtier, I knew we were having a great time . Present at dinner were (by Twitter handle): @RandomOenophile, @leoghann, @WholeMind, @CassieLorey, @MVineyards, and @Foster404.

Get yourself up to Georgia wine country; as I’ve said before, it’s a mere hour, hour and a half from Atlanta depending on where you are in the suburbs. And you won’t need a passport to feel as though you’ve been transported to another country.


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