A new column on this blog will be about wines from the 50 states of the USA. I’ve decided to focus on at least two states a month. I find it so very exciting that throughout the US, we are now dedicated to growing grapes, making wine and wine tourism.
Certainly not the first to be excited by American wines, George Vanderbilt’s grandson, William Cecil, decided to create a winery on the property that his grandfather purchased in the late 19th century, Biltmore in Ashville, North Carolina.
Cecil planted French-American hybrid vines to start but eventually visited France and decided vinifera was the way to go. He hired Philippe Jourdain, who was a winemaker with a long family history in the craft. The planted 150 acres of vinifera. The first wines were bottled in 1983.
Today, Sharon Fenchak is the winemaker on the estate. Tonight I drank their Biltmore Estate Rose. I really enjoyed this salmon hued wine with fresh strawberry and raspberry notes, as well as grass and citrus. I also got loads of acidity and saline undertones. I paired it with some sausage pizza and the acidity was a perfect complement to the sausage. I bought the wine from their online shop for $17. I have never been to North Carolina or to Biltmore. I have a friend who works there though and meeting her encouraged me to look at these wines with a fresh eye.
The winery is located in the Blue Ridge mountains on George Vanderbilt’s 8000 acre estate. The entry in Wikipedia about George Vanderbilt outlines that the family made their money in shipping and then railroads and other businesses. apparently Vanderbilt was very interested in creating a sustainable estate even in the late 19th century. He hired famed architects and landscape designers as well as experts in forestry management. The property was also home to the US’s first school of forestry management.