Wow, it’s been over two weeks since I’ve graced my adoring fans with a blog post. So sorry about that but you know how life gets sometimes right? I’m sure you’ve already forgiven me! This has been a crazy summer, jam packed with tons of fun (and a little work). Two weeks in Florida for vacation, followed by another week for work, then home for a week, then yep you guessed it…off to the Outer Banks for yet another vacation, this time a reunion of the mother-in-laws family. Phew, it was a blast but it’s nice to be home for a while, I missed my bed. And the dogs I suppose, even the irritating one.
So….yeah, the Outer Banks. Well, Hatteras Island to be exact. Two houses, and thirty-one people. We had people from New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and….Australia! What could go wrong? Well, actually nothing did, we had an awesome time and I think I laughed (and drank) more than I have in ages. There were late night games, lounging by the pool with a kangaroo and swan (these were both courtesy of our amazingly awesome Aussie, apparently they really do travel with their Kangaroos!), bonfire on the beach, a night at the Karaoke bar that we just shouldn’t talk about, and two days without power which I like to refer to as our ‘roughing it’ period. And of course, we wouldn’t be the LoCo Wine Squad if we didn’t visit any wineries in the area so we did!
First up was the OBX Winery in Kill Devil Hills, right on the bypass. Situated in a strip mall, it would be easy to just drive by and never even notice it. Luckily we had done our research and knew just where to head. It’s a small place, only a couple tables and a small bar, but they were more than willing to accommodate the 14 of us who showed up out of the blue on a beautiful Thursday afternoon! I learned from talking to the manager/winemaker, John, that OBX Winery is the only winery that actually produces all of its wine on the Outer Banks. Its one of a growing trend in wineries called an ‘Urban Microwinery’, situated in a more populated area rather than out in the country. They obviously don’t have a vineyard, so they purchase grapes from other areas, but the wine itself is made and aged right there in that little spot in the nondescript strip mall. Pretty impressive.
We settled in for our tasting with Terri, and by settled in I mean we took up every available spot in the place! She started us with the dryer, more traditional wines which included three whites; ‘Pea Island’ (Citrusy Pinot Grigio style), ‘Sea Breeze’ (a dryer Sauvingnon Blanc), and ‘Great White’ (dryer full body Chardonnay). Next up were four reds; ‘Pine Island’ (dry Pinot Noir), ‘Sand Castle’ (dry Sangiovese), ‘Mellow’ (dry blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), and finally ‘Midsummer Night’ (a medium bodied Malbec). OBX also makes sweeter blends out of their base wines and we tried four sweet whites and one red; ‘Greentail’ (Riesling with Green Apple), ‘Perfectly Peachy’ (Chardonnay with Peach), ‘Sweetheart’ (Sweet/Tart Blush White Zinfandel), ‘Corolla Mustangria’ (Sweet White Zinfandel with tropical fruit), and ‘Swan Beach Sunset’ (sweet Pinot Noir with black cherry). We finished the tasting with the ‘OBX Sweet Mead’ made from local honey. All the wines were great and I think among our gang we ended up buying almost a case. I personally bought the last three remaining bottles of the ‘Midsummer Night’ Malbec.
Our plan had been to head back to the house after our tasting, but the nice folks at OBX recommended we go down the road a bit to the Cotton Gin and walk to the back where we’d find a tasting counter for Sanctuary Vineyards. Since we are really good at following instructions we did just that! We found a cute little counter run by Pat just where we were told we would. They offered two options; a free tasting of their regular wines, or a ‘reserve’ tasting for $10 that included the fancy-pants stuff and a really nice wine glass to keep. Since we are nothing if not fancy, we naturally went for the reserve tasting, that’s just how we roll. First up were two whites; ‘Pearl Albarino 2016’ (78% Albarino, 22% Viognier), and ‘Orange Viognier’ (100% Viognier). We tried four reds; ‘Aglianico 2015’ (100% Aglianico), ‘Cabernet Franc 2015’ (100% Cabernet Franc), ‘Double Barrel’ (50% Tannat, 50% Petit Verdot), and ‘Morton’ (blend of Cab Franc, Cab Sav, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot). Finally we tried their dessert wine; ‘Outer Banks Ice 2016′ (blend of Viognier, Vidal Blanc, and Petit Manseng). High quality, delicious wines all around! We naturally couldn’t leave empty handed, so two bottles of the Morton went out the door with us.
The next day we had decided to venture out to Manteo to visit the Outer Banks Distillery and do a tasting. The home of Kill Devil Rum, the distillery is a really cool place to visit. We tried three rums; Kill Devil Silver, Kill Devil Pecans & Honey, and Kill Devil Gold. Drinking rum straight is quite the experience, but we soldiered on! We bought a bottle of the Gold, a nifty snifter to drink it from, and a T-Shirt for good measure. Nice place with friendly people and great rum, definitely recommend for a quick stop.
After leaving the distillery we were wandering casually along the road when we saw a sign that said ‘Free Wine Tastings.’ What?!?!?!? Turns out that Vineyards on the Scuppernong has a little tasting counter set up at the back of Island Perk Coffee Shop. It must have been our lucky day. Naturally we sidled up to the bar for a tasting. We were informed by Grace, the lucky and lovely lady that helped us, that their wines tend toward the sweet end of things, so we quickly went and grabbed our ‘wine wimp’ and made her come try them too. Our group tried five whites; ‘Somerset’ (Tangerine with Lemon), ‘Peach’ (light Peach wine), ‘Apple Jack’ (blend of Riesling and Green Apple), ‘Girls of Summer’ (Strawberry), and ‘Corolla Lite’ (semi-sweet Raspberry). Next up were four reds; ‘Tyrell’ (100% Merlot), ‘Black Berry’ (Blackberries and Muscadine), ‘Jack Ass Red’ (Sweet Muscadine). She was not kidding when she said they have sweet wines. BUT, the good news is we finally found wines that even our wimpiest squad members liked! We left there with some ‘Apple Jack’, ‘Girls of Summer’, ‘Corolla Light’, and for me a couple bottles of ‘Tyrell.’ While there we also met some people from Ashburn and South Riding, so shout out to our new friends! It really is a small world, isn’t it?
This ends our wine/booze tour of the Outer Banks! We really enjoyed the three wineries and the distillery and the people we met along the way. The wines were very different from those we’re used to here in Loudoun County, but they were all good in their own way. One thing that isn’t different though is how awesome the people at wineries are. Oh and the tastings are free, that was pretty cool too!
Hatteras Island was beautiful as usual, it had been too long since I’d been and I’d forgotten how much I love it there. And the family reunion was wonderful, everyone had a great time and is looking forward to doing again sometime.