Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Little Traminette with that Pulled Pork?

It seemed like Boo and I had hardly arrived in Greensboro and here we were down to our last full day already. Talk about never having enough time.

Our timing dilemma meant that it was now or never for finding us a bit of BBQ before we had to move on. HDR3, the local bro', went through the various options that were available. Not being from the South, I certainly didn't realize that different regions have different BBQ styles. In fact, this part of North Carolina alone has two separate styles - Lexington and Eastern.

We decided upon Prissy Polly's Pig Pickin' Barbecue because it offers both styles at the same restaurant.

Boo asked his mom if she wanted to join us and she looked at him as if he were crazy. It took no further explanation to know that she was coming with us regardless of whether we were offering. Younger bro', Dan-o, joined in on the road trip as well. It took a bit of determination to make our way through the menu and all the options but we managed to come up with an assortment of plates that, not only covered the required pulled pork, but resulted in an array of sides that ranged from fried okra, hushpuppies and fried squash to slaw, baked beans and collards.

I think you might refer to this as being "mighty fine dining" as opposed to "fine dining." All the same, I know we all left fully sated.

We took Mom Mary home after lunch and the boys said some teary goodbyes after a bit of an extended visit.

Turns out we weren't far away from one of the wineries that have started to appear in the area; so, I managed to coax the boys into taking a bit of a side trip by offering to buy them a drink.

I'd read a tiny bit about the wine industry that was developing in North Carolina but I didn't think that we'd realistically get a chance to visit one. Time truly was that tight. With Stonefield Cellars being no more than 15 minutes away though, the opportunity suddenly presented itself.

During our lengthy visit with Tasting Room manager, Michelle, (lucky for us that no one else showed up while we were there) we were advised that Stonefield recently celebrated its 5th anniversary and it seems to be creating a bit of niche for itself in the area. The estate vineyard is only 1.5 acres but they make around 20 different grape wines and another couple fruit wines - production, however, is still limited to about 2000 cases. They grow a dozen varietals at their estate vineyard and they bring in grapes (maybe 50-60%) from other growers - all within 40 miles of their location. A few of the varietals included in that list are a godsend to someone wanting to build up their Wine Century Club tasting list. I can't say that I recall running across Canadice, Cayuga, Niagra or Symphony before. Most of those intriguing varietals go into blends and aren't made into single varietal wines though.

991. 2006 Stonefield Cellars - Traminette (Virginia - US)

One of the unexpected varietals is made into a varietal wine, however, and that's the one we asked Michelle to open for us out on the winery patio. The Traminette grapes must be one of the varietals that is sourced from another vineyard because I notice that the appellation area on the bottle is shown as Virginia. We weren't far from the state line, but I wouldn't have guessed that our first North Carolina wine on the trip was actually made from Virginia grapes. Oh well.

The Traminette grape is a relatively new varietal. It was created in 1965 at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign when the Gewurztraminer grape was crossed with an American/French hybrid grape called Johannes Seyve 23.416 by French biochemist, (you guessed it) Johannes Seyve. Seyve's intent was apparently to produce a large table grape that exhibited the flavours of a Gewurztraminer. There was a bonus, however, when the new cross was found to have qualities that were quite suitable to making a nice wine as well. Production of the grape seems to be limited primarily to the US, but its cold hardiness might make it a candidate for BC too. Who knows, we may well see BC Traminette down the road.

Stonefield's Traminette is made in an off-dry style but it was certainly a decent enough sip and I could see quaffing some down with a plate of pulled pork, especially if there's a bit of bite to the seasoning.

In the meantime, I'm a happy guy in that I not only got to visit a North Carolina winery but I get another varietal to add to my Wine Century Club list.

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