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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wolf Mountain Vineyards - Georgia

Wine. My favorite beverage.

Okay, I guess that makes me sound like I have a problem. Water can be my 'favorite' but wine takes a close second on the list. I was one of those girls who actually waited until I got to college to start drinking. In High School, I just wasn't really attracted to that scene. I was busy working my butt off to get out of the house and accepted into a good college.

Freshmen year of college was definitely the year for some firsts...first time drinking, first time going to a frat party, getting accepted into a sorority (go KKG!), living on my own...and gaining the Freshmen 15. Being an infantile drinker, I did what most kids do. I mixed drinks...some of the weirdest concoctions ever I might add!! The best of the worst was when my friends and I decided it would be a wonderful idea to take sour skittles and mix them in with cheap vodka and Sprite...I still can't drink Sprite to this day.

Once I got a little older and wiser, I decided I wanted to class-up my drinking game. If you went to Ole Miss, there once was a lovely restaurant on the Square called The Waltz. I owe my refined drinking palate to this place. It's where I learned that there were other vodkas beside Burnett's, there were glasses specifically made for drinks that weren't Solo cups, and most importantly, it's where I learned about wine.

I was so infatuated with their lounge, I asked for a job. Having no formal training and the bartending skills of a frog, I was told I'd have to educate myself first. I took their wine list home that night and memorized it. Grabbing what little cash I had and my cute smile discount, I went to a wine store down the street and asked if they had any on my list. I really couldn't afford any of them but I had made friends a few months back with one of their employees which landed me a pretty serious discount.

That evening I went home and read about the wines. I searched them on the internet and read tasting notes from the pros and tried them myself. That's where I realized I knew nothing about wine. 

Hints of pineapple with oak? Dry wine? How can a wine be dry, it's wet for God's sake! What have I gotten myself into?

The next day was my quiz and I was dying for the job. I knew how much these bartenders made, and I had my eyes on some new sunglasses. I came in super confident feeling like the job was mine. The manager handed me and two others the test to see how well we could remember their 60 bottle wine list and a few pairing recommendations.

I failed it by 2 drinks. I was devastated I had taken so much time and the last of my money to try and land the gig. As I walked out the door I heard the manager scream my name to come back in. Dragging my feet with my head low, I was waiting for him to tell me to try back in a few months once I memorized the menu better and learned more about wine. Apparently, the other two had failed much worse than me. I got the job! For the next few months, I was working at my favorite place in Oxford getting to drink some of the nicest wines Mississippi had to offer and getting paid.

I've had a love affair with wine ever since.

Now, here I am 5 years later and I still have a ton to learn. My absolute favorite documentary buzzing around on Netflix right now is Somm. If you think my manager was harsh having us poor college students memorize 60 wines, you should see these poor unfortunate souls. Not only have they been given the expectation of naming what the wine is based on the flavor, but they have to know the region, year and more! How can one even train their tongue to memorize that kind of knowledge?

This weekend was a friend of mine's birthday, and for the big 2-7 he wanted a classier experience, too. We were all invited up for a gorgeous afternoon at Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega, GA. I'm still mind blown this place is only an hour drive from Atlanta.

On Sundays, they host brunch. They switch the menu monthly so you never have the same meal twice. This past weekend's menu: barbecue. I'll admit, I was a little disappointed to drive an hour to this lovely vineyard in my adorable new dress to get barbecue sauce all over my fingers and wear a bib while tasting fine wine...not my idea of a wine brunch.

We were all pleasantly surprised. This was not your typical barbecue, oh no. They had smoked duck wings, fresh succotash, butcher block brisket and a full assortment of dessert. We ordered bottles of wine instead of participating in the tasting. 

Tip: you can get more for your money by buying by the bottle. 

I tried four of their wines: the Chanteloup (similar to a Chardonnay), the Howling Wolf Red (my personal favorite), the Sunset Rosé, and their Brut Rosé. Surprisingly, our waiter told us that because of the red clay in the soil in Northern Georgia and the climate, their red grapes and wine are very similar to French grapes. I've been to two other vineyards in North Georgia and the wine wasn't very good. The wine at Wolf Mountain was amazing. I was pleasantly surprised at how dry and full-bodied they were. 

If you decide to come here and visit from out of town, I encourage going for the day and driving back to Atlanta after. Although there are several gorgeous scenic views are Dahlonega, there is not much to do outside driving around and going to the vineyard. 

For an hour-long trip to such a gorgeous view of the Appalachian mountains and a hearty glass of amazing wine, this may become my monthly ritual.

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