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  • Delayne Martin

The Experience Center at Mountain Brook Vineyards

Last month while making an impromptu visit to Mountain Brook Vineyards, we chatted with winemaker David Coventry about a new venture that was in the works. He explained The Experience: an upscale, exclusive tasting experience unlike anything available in the area. This selective wine tasting lasts 90 minutes and does require a reservation. The traditional tasting room and lawn area are still open, with no reservations required. Children and dogs are welcome on the lawn area, but The Experience is an adults only, no pet area.

From the moment you enter the upstairs lobby of The Experience, you are surrounded by elegance, and time seems to slow down. Your hostess will check you in, and you may mingle and socialize with a glass of Mountain Brook Vineyards bubbly. Once you have finished your bubbly, you place your glass on the tray and move downstairs to a more intimate seating area. There are tables and sofa areas. We sat at a table for 4. Kaylyn started us off with our charcuterie box. Kaylen was extremely knowledgeable about Mountain Brook wines and wine in general. The table was beautifully decorated, but not too much stuff that made you feel crowded. There were detailed tasting notes at each place setting.

We started our experience with three new releases. First came the 2022 Wooden Steel 100% Chardonnay. It was fermented in stainless steel to future the purity of the fruit and then aged in French neutral oak for complexity and nuance. It is an intense Chardonnay with citrus and pineapple aromas. Next, we tasted the 2022 The Belle. This white blend is 50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Gris, and 25% Viognier. I knew immediately I would love this wine because it is a blend of all my favorite grapes. It was less citrus on the nose than the 100% Chardonnay, but had wonderful richness and mouth-feel. The 2022 Rose of Merlot rounded out the new releases. It is 100% Merlot and is a light wine with delicate fruit on the palate and a hint of watermelon on the nose with mixed berries on the palate creating a complex profile. The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in new French Oak for 14 months and was the winner of the Fine Wines Double Gold. The wine was fruit-forward with deep cherry and chocolate aromas. I also got a cherry on the palate. We rounded out our scheduled tasting with the 2020 Petite Sirah bottled in August 2022. The grapes are sourced from California and aged in North Carolina and French oaks. While still quite young and vibrant, it was drinking well with a little bite on the finish and high tannins. This is a wine that is meant to be paired with food. As a special treat, we sampled a 2021 North Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon that was bottled in March.

Off the lobby to the left is the Vintner's Room. Opening in July, you can reserve a more in-depth tasting with the winemaker for up to 12 people. Vintage history and food pairings are 2 of the more detailed topics covered in this area. For those ready for the next levels of knowledge, wisdom and enjoyment, this is how you do it!

Throughout the afternoon, Mountain Brook owner Jonathan Redgrave, and winemaker David Coventry greeted guests and talked about wine. They were very gracious and genuinely wanted our feedback. As amazing as the tasting was, I anticipate it will continue to get even better. I already look forward to a return visit. Before we finished our tasting Andrew Corczyca, the assistant winemaker, stopped by to talk about wine and future plans. He is leaving for France to work in various aspects of the wine industry and we can’t wait for him to return with new and innovative techniques for future Mountain Brook Vineyard wines.

Once your tasting is complete, you are welcome to sit on the patio overlooking the drive-up to the tasting room. We decided to walk up to the lawn area. We took friends, and they had not witnessed the amazing views from the tasting room. We purchased a couple more bottles and enjoyed the gorgeous day and live music.

Click here to see all their events and to make a reservation for this upscale and relaxing experience.

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