You may say I am a snooty french woman, you may say I am snooty with food, you may say that I am very criticizing when a place pretends to be to the “french standard” and you might say I am a wine connoisseur with a french attitude.
I went to Raylen as a request from a couple of my readers, and my expectations were not high at all. I had visited a couple of North Carolina wineries with much disappointment overtime, not only with the quality but with the price as well.
I arrive at Raylen and was impressed not only with the grounds and the solar system panels, but the wine was very good and the prices were excellent. What a great winery here in the heart of North Carolina!
The vineyard welcomes you upon arrival , nothing fancy, just the vines…now they got my attention. I was expecting fluff and bells and whistles, but not the simplicity yet elegant sight that I was about to discover. I am reminded of a quote from Frederic Chopin – “Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” The wine of Raylen Vineyard, is indeed a piece of art.
Outside the tasting room are chairs, and gorgeous outdoor furniture where you can sit and enjoy a bottle of wine.
The tasting room was big, beautifully decorated, simple yet very elegant. A counter bar was on the left with clients enjoying their tasting.
I asked for Andrew, and to my surprise this young man was dressed like an European! Many would not notice, but what an impression you make when your white shirt is beautiful pressed! Nice grey pant suit, and gorgeous looking Italian brown shoes! What a great welcome! I was transported to Europe….my home. But I was sceptic about the wine i was about to sample.
Andrew introduced himself and gave us the wine tasting. He was not only knowledgeable about the winery, but he was very knowledgeable;e about wines, about the grapes, about what the Europeans likes versus the Americans. I was already impressed, and I had not tasted the wine yet.
I was in for a treat! Each wine I was discovering was above my expectations! Andrew gave us history on the vineyards, gave us history on the wine and then gave us a tour of the winery. What a privilege it was to discover Raylen Winery.
We went to see where the barrels are stored. You can see how the is not just an “operation” this is a love for wine, as one of the old vines is hang on the wall in. Bottling is completed on site as well. All the equipment is state of the art.
We finished the tour by going to see the apartment above the tasting room, where at times, bridal parties can get together before the wedding on the grounds.
After we got back from the tour, I decided to buy a few of bottles of some of my favorite wines.
You will be surprised to know that the 2014 Chardonnay was very classical, and up to the French standard. The 2012 Eagle’s select was another of my favorites, and last but not least; the Caravel an incredible “imitation” of a port. But an aged port. Succulent!
I would suggest that you to look at their website for a visit or even make your reservation for their next Sunset Wine Dinner!