Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, "Chianti in the Carolinas" was a pleasant surprise.
While taking a time-out from a working weekend in Charlotte, I managed to find a little "unique experience" nearby.
Honestly, they had me at Buon Giorno!! We were welcomed as old friends before we even reached the door of the Tuscan style villa. The Raffaldini family and their staff take great pride in their vineyard and we enjoyed their enthusiasm more than I can say. The belief that family, food and wine are an integral part of their daily life had me suddenly wishing I was strolling through the piazzas of Italy again. Well, that's not entirely truthful, it wasn't suddenly, I'm always wishing I was in Italy :)
The Raffaldini family has celebrated family dinners with homemade Italian wine for more than 650 years. Lucky for us, they decided to share their family heritage in the United States, or more specifically Swan Creek area of Yadkin Valley. I did as they promised "closed my eyes and was transported to Italy . . .
Denise was our gracious wine expert for our wine tasting. Her knowledge and love of wine was captivating. I enjoyed each and every wine tasted, from the dry, apple 2014 Pinot Grigio to the 2013 Montepulciano Riserva with its dark cherry finish. We were amazed with Denise's teaching of the soil and winemaking in the United States East Coast vs. the West Coast vs. Italy.
The view was beautiful of the Blue Ridge and Brushy Mountains from the tasting room, but even better to soak it up outside in the piazza. I only wished I had more time to relax and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere, listening to chatter and laughter of friends and family while the children played nearby. As an added bonus, we enjoyed a wood-fired pizza catered by a mobile oven and catering company, Giannos. Along with the delicious smells of the pizza and wine, you could smell the nearby vines.
If you ever find yourself in North Carolina, take a short one and one-half drive from Charlotte, NC to visit Raffaldini Vineyard. I think you will be pleasantly surprised what's hiding in the mountains. For more details, visit their website www.raffaldini.com.