Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cache au Vin

Cranky old reptile — not looking too cranky — and very nice lady
Couldn't have paid for a nicer weekend for outdoor activities, so outdoor activities it was. Yesterday, the right lovely Ms. Brugger and I headed westward toward the Yadkin Valley, bound for Laurel Gray and Raffaldini Vineyards. Brugger and I both prefer dry reds, and Laurel Gray currently offers only two — Windsor, a Meritage-style blend of four estate-grown French vinifera grapes; and Scarlet Mountain, an off-dry blend of four Bordeaux grapes — but they're both so frippin' excellent that anything else would likely be superfluous. The winery itself is set in a scenic corner of Yadkin County, and the building features a large veranda from which one can sit comfortably and view the vineyards, a picturesque pond, and a bunch of rocks wherein lurks the geocache ("Grape City," GC1B8DX, which I found on an earlier expedition out this way). Was there additional caching on our way out west? Hell yes, there was caching on our way out west; what kind of question is that?
The view from the veranda at Laurel Gray Vineyards
After a couple of delicious glasses of wine at Laurel Gray, we moved on to Raffaldini, only five miles to the northwest, which is a much larger and more ambitious establishment. The winery is patterned after a Tuscan villa, and, as Ms. B. aptly observed, if you squint just right, you might get the feeling you're actually in western Italy. From the elevated terrace, you can see for countless miles, the crests of the Blue Ridge Mountains extending from horizon to horizon. Raffaldini's current list features about a dozen wines, including several dry reds that are uniformly excellent. Their Bello Misto — a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Petit Verdot — is a long-time favorite of mine, and their Sangiovese Riserva proved to be superb. They also make a delicious Montepulciano, but it's currently sold out.
The Villa at Raffaldini Vineyards (photo from their website)
Cupdaisy and Robgso signing the
log at one of many caches found
today. Why do suppose Cupdaisy
is holding that milk jug?

After an enjoyable afternoon at Raffaldini, we returned to the Piedmont Triad and met our friends, Terry and Beth Nelson, for a spot of dinner at Bill's Pizza Pub in Oak Ridge. Killer good pizza, this place has. Before retiring last night, I noticed that 26 new geocaches had been published down in the Grandover/Guilford Tech area, not too far away....

This morning, it was up early — way too early, since we lost a freaking hour to Daylight Saving Time — and a day on the caching trail with Rob Isenhour (a.k.a. Robgso) and Debbie Shoffner (a.k.a. Cupdaisy). We targeted those 26 new ones, and dang if we didn't get first to find on 20 of them. Most were none too difficult, but there were a couple that offered enjoyable physical challenges (tree climbing — woo hoo!). Afterward, a tolerable Mexican lunch at San Luis on High Point Road, and then a bit of maintenance on one of Cupdaisy's older caches. At the end of it all, we spent nearly an hour out in my driveway shooting the shit and swapping caching stories... which, you might be shocked to learn, geocachers are wont to do.

And that, I expect, will be the extent of our winery visitations... until we go visit more wineries. There are plenty of good ones in the area to choose from.

'Tis all.

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...

Wow! What a gorgeous chateau! And a fantastic setting!