A few weeks ago when our nephew and his girlfriend were in town, we decided to take them to some North Carolina vineyards. As many of you may already know, North Carolina is becoming a great place for making wine. We decided to try Raffaldini Vineyards as one of the places to try. Raffaldini’s is located in the Yadkin Valley area, off of Highway 421, just north of Highway 77.
In the midst of a downpour we drove past very orderly grape vines growing on the hillsides and as we rounded a corner, this beautiful Tuscan-styled château appeared. I thought, “Am I in North Carolina or in Italy?” That is exactly what the Raffaldini family hopes you will think when you come visit their vineyard.
The family has traced its roots to the 1300′s in Italy, so when they decided to start a vineyard nine and a half years ago, they were looking for a place that would give people that feel of Italy. They have cultivated about 37 acres of grape vines growing all Italian varietals.
We were greeting by a very friendly young lady who conducted our tasting who was quite knowledgeable about the wines and the vineyard in general. As you sip your wines, you can gaze out the windows to see the rolling hills of grape vines.
We started our tasting with the Pinot Grigio, which was a light wine with citrus notes and a little effervescence. It was a nice wine to sip in the summer.
I am not a fan of sweet wines, so I only took a very small sip of La Dolce Vita, Raffaldini’s sweet white wine. It had a little hint of lychee fruit and citrus. Our nephew’s girlfriend loved this wine.
Next up was the Sangiovese, a Chianti style red wine. It had a little bit of a smoky or oaky taste to it but still had a little acid on the end, making taste crisp. I liked this wine a lot.
The Mezzogiorno was the next wine we tried, which is a Southern Italian red. It is a red blend and was very pleasant.
Normally, I am not a fan of rose wines. They remind me of my college days drinking a sickening sweet rose and getting a nasty headache the next day. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted the Grisole, a rose, but a drier rose that had a light taste and would be quite refreshing to drink during the summer. We liked it enough to buy a bottle to drink later at home.
My favorite wine of the day was the Bella Misto, a red blend with a base of Syrah (one of my favorite wines) that was a little smokey and smooth. I could drink this wine any day of the week.
We also purchased a wine flavored brownie to help tide us over until we could go to dinner. Wow, was it fantastic! The red wine mixed with the soft, chewy dark chocolate brownie was really incredible.
You can also purchase a glass of wine and some snacks to take upstairs where they have some tables and a really nice balcony where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful grounds. Raffaldini’s also does lots of weddings, which is not at all surprising. It is a perfect venue for a wedding. One of my friends told me she is already fantasizing about holding her daughter’s wedding there some day (and her daughter is still in high school!).
Walking tours of the vineyard are held Wednesdays through Sundays at 1pm and 4pm. Price for tours is $5 a person.
Raffaldini Vineyards is located at 450 Groce Road in Rhonda, North Carolina. It can be a little tricky to find as there are not many directional signs. Click here to get the website’s directions.It is open Wednesday – Saturday, 11am–5pm; Sunday 12pm–5pm; and Monday, 11am–5pm. You can like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.