Tag Archives: dahlonega

Travel: The United States of Georgia

So over the weekend I had the opportunity to see just a spec of how truly fantastic and gorgeous my state actually is. A one hour trip to Dahlonega revealed all.  Dinner in downtown Dahlonega at Piazza with a bottle of easy drinking Chianti from Banfi.  Wine prices were stellar, only $26 for the bottle.  What a mark up!  I was so proud, my student/girlfriend correctly guessed the vintage of the wine based on some information I gave her about the color of the rim and its connection to age.

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The pizza, a concoction of spinach, roasted garlic, prosciutto, pepperoni, mozarella and ricotta was pretty good too.  For the price it was fantastic but of course it was no Antico.  Breakfast at the B&B proved lovely as well.  I loved her place settings and the mug of Bavarian chocolate.
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Cream cheese pancakes are the truth…and we love kielbasa. But in no way do these compare to Elaine’s pancakes with orange steeped blueberry compote from the B&B in Savannah. Those were/are still the best.

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Full and ready for take off, we decided to celebrate our small vacay and her finishing her first major medical school exam with a bottle of Special Club Champagne. Special Club is a designated group of small wine growers in Champagne who select their best lots every year for bottling of a vintage release, this is a 2006. Yes, those were coffee cups but with the lemon and vanilla almond macaroons, it was a showstopper.

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So we sat by the pond with our army of gnat buddies and sipped and giggled.

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30 minutes later we took a hand drawn map headed towards Amicalola Falls but got sidetracked here at another winery. A Tuscan masterpiece deadsmack in the Georgia countryside. Say what?

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There were rolling hills covered in vines and a small community of Tuscan style homes nestled in the forests  behind the vineyard.

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It’s lovely and for a moment you almost feel as if you’ve traveled abroad…although we almost traveled down the road of no return. A house was for sale and we opted to check it out. The door was unlocked BUT the owner was home. Luckily he wasn’t afraid of the two girls who just walked into his house somewhat unannounced. #hotmess

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These two lucky escapees fled to Amicalola Falls state park to go hiking. My girlfriend wanted to see bears. I did not want to see bears. We did not see any bears. Yay for us.

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There isn’t much I can say other than go here now…or this weekend or whenever you have 4-7 hours to spare for nature.

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It’s breathtaking. It will make you stare. It will challenge you. You will climb 175 stairs to see this 600 ft.  drop of magnificence.  You will be in awe that you are standing in Georgia and you will realize that Georgia is beautiful.

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Then you will climb an additional 425 stairs to see this fantastic vista from the top of the waterfall.   “The view is certainly different from the top,” she said.

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Whoever was in this car 50+ years ago maybe got too over zealous about being at the top and crash landed to the bottom. Eeriest and creepiest part of the trip seeing this old vintage truck crashed and rusted on the side of the mountain.

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But the sun was out and shining brightly.

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A beautiful day to wash away all the stresses of the city and enjoy a little cool mountain breeze.

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Wine: Wolf Mountain Winery

My girlfriend and I decided to take a one day vacay up to Dahlonega to visit Wolf Mountain winery.
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If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit a winery, I highly recommend the excursion. It’s only an hour and half outside of the city limits and before you know it you’re surrounded by plush mountain ranges and acres and acres of bright green forests. Not to mention there are about 6 wineries here, all with tours, tasting flights and cuisine.

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We opted for the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Thematically it paid tribute to California cuisine, which essentially is a hodge podge of Asian flavors and spices. This extensive, piping hot buffet will cost you a meager $30, and it’s worth every cent.

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Here’s the chilled tomato soup with avocado cream. I’m not a soup fan so it was no surprise that I had never had chilled soup but the cold creaminess coated my mouth and readied me for the feast ahead.

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On this plate is Mongolian braised barbecue short rib, fried egg over a spicy polenta cake, a mixed green salad with jicama (mexican yam/turnip), fried duck and shrimp and tilapia in a red pepper sauce. There was also a diced grilled pork tenderloin spiced with star anise and bamboo shoots, curried jasmine coconut rice with golden raisin and crispy fried duck,  and stir fried cabbage.

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And my favorite part of every meal: dessert. There was a pistachio mousse with toffee and chocolate crumbles (not pictured), caramel cheesecake, raspberry key lime pie and lemon bars. Butter, butter, butter. Yes!

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It all washed down beautifully with a couple of glasses of Wolf Mountain Demi-Sec Sparkling. They also poured us two glasses of the Blanc de Blancs Brut (on the house) because we sell the wine at Ansley. That was pretty sweet.
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Unfortunately my brain mixed up the times so we missed the guided tour, but luckily my CSW classes allowed me to give my girlfriend our own tour. First we learned about the importance of vintage. As you can see from the sky above, 2013 is an unfortunate vintage for Georgia. With all the rain, the concentration of sugars in the grapes will be diluted, photosynthesis will be minimal and phenolic compounds (all the good stuff you smell and feel on the tongue), will either be unbalanced or uninteresting.

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Lucky for Wolf Mountain, I didn’t notice any fungus or mold growth on the grapes, which essentially can devastate the grapes, unless your intent is dessert wine…which I highly doubt with Cabernet Sauvignon (as shown here).

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Cabernet Sauvignon? Isn’t it red? Why yes, yes it is. But all grapes start off as flowers, which pollinate and bloom into highly acidic, hard, green berry sets. During the summer months, veraison happens, which is the softening of grapes, the reduction of acid and the production of sugar. It’s most dramatic with red varieties, and soon these grapes will turn red.

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Grapes at this stage taste terrible. Sidenote: Only Muscat varieties taste exactly the same as they do pre-fermentation.

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That’s my girlfriend goofing off. She’s still a good student though. 🙂

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Georgia red clays.

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Wolf Mountain has some seriously beautiful grounds.

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And some lucky soul lives in this house below with all these gorgeous vineyard views. They need to rent it out.

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The air is as fresh as it comes.

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We will be back.

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