Connie’s kitchen: experience great local wines on the Wine Trail

Connies KitchenBy Connie Emmons

Recently I began a journey into the great wines made right here in Tennessee. My search has begun with Mountain Valley Winery. I was not sure what to expect when I walked in. My last visit to a winery was over thirty years ago. When I walked in I was greeted by a warm welcome and a smiling young man named Alex. He was a great source of information and education.

Tennessee is known for sweet and fruity wines, especially Muscadine. Alex informed me that 80% of all fruit used is locally grown in Tennessee and all wines are produced in house. There were 12 wines on the list to choose from, you were able to choose which  one you wanted to try and could try all of them if you wished.

My first choice was Mountain Valley Red, a sweet blend of Concord and other native American grapes. This aroma was exactly that. Smelled just like concord grapes and reminded me of the grape wine/juice we got at communion growing up. The taste did not disappoint, the taste matched the aroma with no hidden surprises and matched all those memories.

Blackberry Wine was next on my list and while I love blackberries this wine had a great aroma but for me was a little on the bitter side. Muscadine was a sweet white wine with a dry after taste. Merlot had a deep fruity aroma with a bold very dry aftertaste and a bit semi-fruity taste. The Chardonnay was an oakey lightly flavored wine that would be great with most dinners.

My next choice was one that intrigued me, Rhubarb! This choice was only because I could not imagine such a tart, bitter fruit becoming a wine that I could relax and enjoy. I could almost feel my mouth puckering at just the thought of trying this wine. Alex poured a small amount in my glass and I swirled around the lightly pink wine and gave it a smell. No overpowering scent came through, as I sipped on the wine I got a slight hint of tart and almost a hint of a lemonade flavor. It was a very light and fruity wine that surprised me.

I also tried the peach bellini which is a frozen wine drink. This comes in a freezer pouch that you add wine and water to and then freeze. They had made this that day using the rhubarb wine and it was absolutely fantastic. I highly recommended this to the family next to me and the concurred that it was wonderful.

Next up was Mountain Berry. This wine had a very fruity aroma, and the flavor was that of raspberries. While this wine was very fruity and sweet it was my favorite and had no lingering aftertaste. It was just simply a very enjoyable wine.

I plan on reviewing the rest of the Wine Trail in the near future. I do recommend this experience as it is free and very educational. There is a lot to learn and experience right here in our own “backyard.”

(Connie Emmons is the owner and chef of the popular restaurant, Connie’s Kitchen, in Seymour, Tennessee. She appears as the frequent guest chef on Knoxville’s Channel 10’s top rated afternoon show, Live at Five at Four. She is also known as the creator of unusual and delicious recipes.)

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