Recently my wife and I were vacationing in western North Carolina and decided to try out the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail, or at least a few locations close to Asheville. We did make it to a few of the farms, but when we saw a sign for Chimney Rock State Park our plans quickly changed. As fate would have it, our decision to visit Chimney Rock not only provided an experience for which we were not prepared, but it also led us to the Burntshirt Vineyards Tasting Room and Bistro located at the entrance to Chimney Rock State Park.
I had already scoped out a view wineries to visit later in the day, including Burntshirt Vineyards, but finding their tasting room here was a pleasant surprise. Not only is this a beautiful venue, but the staff and wines were amazing. A visit to the vineyards and winery would have been a tremendous experience, but this was nice when trying to push so much into one day.
Traci Gardner was our server and she was amazing. Not only was she friendly and accommodating, but she took time to share additional details on each wine that was not available on the tasting menu. In addition, she graciously sent me some photos of the location because in all of my excitement I forgot to take photos of my own while there.
The 19 acres of vineyards at the Sugarloaf Road vineyard in Henderson and additional 10 acres in Burnshirt Mountain provide many European and French-American varietals used to produce their many award winning wines.
I tasted 10 different wines during this visit, and although all very good, here are my favorites, along with the wineries notes:
- 2017 O Cellars Reserve Chardonnay – The O Cellars Reserve Chardonnay is handcrafted by our winemaker from the finest lots of the vintage, lovingly barrel-aged. This wine reflects the high standards of the Oates Family, the proprietors of Burntshirt Vineyards.
- Altitude 3400 (Red Blend) – A refreshing red blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chambourcin, this wine pops with notes of strawberry and vanilla and a lifting acidity on the finish.
- 2016 O Cellars Reserve Meritage – Aged in French oak, this wine embodies the finest red lots of the vintage from Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Merlot. Structured with black fruit aromatics and hints of spice on the finish.
- 2016 O Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – Our Cabernet Sauvignon is handcrafted through small lot fermentation from a varietal that ripens well in our terroir. This versatile wine pairs well with herb roasted veggies, lamb and beef.
- Harvest Moon Chardonnay – Barrel fermented and aged sur-lie in American Oak, this wine offers aromas of apple, pineapple, and citrus.
- 2015 O Cellars Reserve Cabernet Franc – Aged in a mix of French and American oak, this wine offers hints of dark cherry and blueberry with rounded tannins and a smooth finish.
Truly amazing wines in a beautiful part of the country.