A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia

Photo by Martha Williams

We recruited Sarah Pierre, owner of 3 Parks Wine Shop in Glenwood Park, to conduct a blind tasting of wines we collected while exploring the wine country of North Georgia. Selected as one of the 50 Best Wine Retail/Best Wine Clubs in America by Wine Enthusiast in 2020, 3 Parks offers weekly tastings, a wide selection of wines, winemakers on tap and an active wine club. We covered the labels so Pierre had no idea what she was about to taste. Georgia’s innovative hybrids proved difficult to identify, but Pierre had many fun and delicious observations:

A blind tasting of wines from North GeorgiaYoung American Rosé, Volume 2, Yonah Mountain Vineyards
This wine has a light amber color. Very similar to an orange/skin contact wine. Holy treasure, Batman. A bit surprised by the sugar content, especially as this is number one wine. Notes of tangerine pulp and Cuties zest – yes, Cuties, the little baby orange. But to my surprise, there was a hint of nostalgia in the finish. It took me a second to locate it, but the wine reminded me of conversational hearts: the bitter, chalky, tart, sweet candies that everyone hates but actually loves on Valentine’s Day.

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2021 Cabernet Franc, Stonewall Creek Vineyards
This winery nailed it. This is Cabernet Franc from warm climates to the core. The peppers and red berry fruits are classic Cab Franc characteristics. This wine does not appear to be calibrated. I really enjoyed this wine. I would definitely recommend this hotel to people visiting Georgia wineries.

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2021 Viognier, Tiger Mountain Vineyards
The flavors are. . . Interesting about this wine. In the glass the wine seems a bit viscous. When I tasted it I immediately said it was Viognier or a Rhone style blend. Floral with notes of crushed apples and pears. The acidity doesn’t overwhelm the wine, but it’s there. Alcohol seems to be quite high in this white wine. Shall we say this is the wine to enjoy with dinner that might lead to an unintended dance party right after?

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2021 Enotah, Crane Creek Vineyards
I’m at a loss. No guess what the varietal is. This wine has tropical aromas on the nose. On the palate I immediately tasted banana Now and Laters, coconut, piña colada. Notes of lime zest, lemon and lime juice. The wine is tart – the acidity will definitely make you frizz. This wine appears to be oak. Kudos to this winemaker who made some fun. Maybe a bachelor party wine?

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2020 Viognier, Kaya Vineyards & Winery
This wine is either Chardonnay or Viognier. It is rich on the palate, definitely aged in new American oak. Flowery with a long finish. They went a bit on the acid but I really like it. Without them, the wine would be extremely limp and boring. This one is a keeper! I would give this wine to a friend in town as a Georgia souvenir.

A blind tasting of wines from North GeorgiaMake me blush, Ott Farms & Vineyard
Fun! This one is a cool red. The perfect summer red or red wine to drink as we get in the mood for fall. Dark Tavel, rosé-pink, with expressive notes of cranberry juice, pomegranate and Luxardo cherries. Calm down that bad boy and sit on your porch and watch the leaves change. Or, better yet, make this your 2022 Thanksgiving rosé!

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2016 Claret, Wolf Mountain Vineyards
This wine is Syrah or at least wants to be! Smokey and spicy. Notes of salted meat, firewood, chocolate, vanilla and burnt s’mores. I can only think of a Lifetime holiday movie and sing, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” . .”

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2015 Genesis X, Yonah Mountain Vineyards
This is the wine we’ll be bragging about in Georgia Wine Country. This wine is great. This is Syrah. Wait . . . is this from georgia Notes of blue fruits and black fruits. Lush tannins. touch of spice. This is a very well made wine. Sign me up for a case!

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2019 Merlot, accent cellar
Tastes like a fortified cherry—you know, those chocolate-covered, moist cherries our grandmothers used to snack on during the holidays. Slightly sweet ripe fruit, nice mouthfeel, medium body. Merlot or a Cabernet Merlot blend?

A blind tasting of wines from North Georgia2021 Traminette, Cartecay vineyards
Tart white wine with interesting notes of lemon, basil and peppermint. Nectarine skin and peach notes were also present. Round on the palate. Never had a wine that tasted like this.

This article will appear in our November 2022 issue.