Sunday, November 6, 2011

Plenty to Wine About

A lady of my acquaintance adding a little class to Chinqua Penn.

The Chinqua Penn Plantation in Rockingham County, NC, built in the 1920s by tobacco and cattle baron Thomas Jefferson ("Jeff") Penn, isn't far up the road from here; I've gone geocaching on the estate's nature trail numerous times over the last couple of years, but I haven't actually toured the place since I was in high school. Back in those days, visiting local wineries wasn't very high on my list of personal leisure activities, but if you frequent this blog, you've probably noted that Kimberly B. and I have taken some interest in local winemakers. Since 2005, Chinqua Penn has been making a brand of its own. A while back, we picked up a Groupon for a tour of the house and winery, so yesterday we headed up that way to give the place a look-see. Evidently, there was a fall festival of sorts going on, with numerous vendors on the grounds selling random goodies, passels of people meandering about, and a house on fire across the road. We decided to forgo watching the fire in favor of taking the tour and drinking some wine, which, for the most part, we enjoyed. Our tour guide was Calvin Phelps, the owner of Chinqua Penn his own self; an interesting enough character, though he made some news last year that wasn't exactly flattering ("NC Estate, Tourist Site Yanked in Bankruptcy Fight"; I don't know how things have actually panned out for him at this point). As yet, Chinqua Penn doesn't have many wines in their catalog, and a couple of them were underwhelming, to put it politely. They did make a decent dry red—Lenox Castle, it's called—though I'd call it overpriced ($16.99/bottle). Before heading out, we tore into some barbecued ribs from one of the vendors, which I, at least, found pretty damned satisfying. All in all, a fine enough day on the ol' plantation.

From Chinqua Penn, it was up to Martinsville to visit Mum. A very pleasant time, until we discovered early this morning that my vehicle had a flat tire. I promptly yanked it off the car and determined that an offensive screw had violated it; thus, I installed the spare tire and ventured forth to pick up a tire patching kit. I had only gone a short distance up the road, however, when I determined that the damned spare tire was also flat. Since the original tire still had a bit of air in it, I put it back on the car, drove to Wal-Fucking-Mart (at which, on principle, I refuse to shop, barring an emergency such as this one), picked up a tire patching kit, headed to the nearest gas station, pulled the tire back off the car, plugged it, pumped the irritating bastard full of air, and put it back on car. Finally...a balm in Gilead. Thus balmed, Kimberly and I made our way to El Norteno, one of Martinsville's several decent Mexican restaurants, so that we might cauterize our cares with chori pollo, taco locos, and habanero sauce.


All that was left now was to grab a couple of geocaches and then head out to Chatham Heights Park to hide a new one. A fun little fellow, it turned out to be—"Little Monster," I call it (GC37ADW; you must be a premium member to view the page)—because, well, it's little, monstrous, and mean. Kind of like the screw that violated my tire.

All righty then. On to another week in the coal mine. Dig it.

View to the east from "Little Monster"

View to the west from "Little Monster"

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