Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Airport Surprise in Charlotte! (PB)

So there we are walking to our next flight having just arrived from Los Angeles. We’re in the Charlotte N.C. airport and we have to go to the D Concourse. My wife and I are on the non-moving people mover and out of the corner of my eye I spy the Yadkin Valley Wine Bar.

Something is familiar about the name and I nearly shreak to my wife–“That’s the wine bar Gaiter and Brecher wrote about in June! We’ve got to go there!” So we walk to the end of the immovable people mover and walk back a mile and half to this wine bar. The sign says, “Taste 4 wines for $3."

Whew-hoo this is great! We meet Bruce Ridgeway of the Yadkin Valley Wine Association who is pouring and after having been with the wine challenged wine bar attendants in Temecula California two days earlier, Bruce is a delight. He knows his wines, he’s personable and unimpressed with his knowledge of wine. He just enjoys wine!

He begins to pour while he’s explaining the components of the wines, the geography, the meteorology and what ever else comes to our minds to ask. He reminds me of the actor/former Senator from Tennessee--Fred Thompson. But Bruce is the real deal and the wines are genuine. We tasted numerous blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Viognier, Riseling, and I don’t remember all what we tasted but the whole experience was wonderful!

When you’re traveling by air these days you need all the help you can get especially if you are traveling by U.S. Airways, the most consistently passenger UN-Friendly air carrier in existence.

Now here is the surprise–First having a tasting bar in an airport is stellar! How better to put a smile on a mass of disgruntled passengers faces than with the fruit of the vine? But second is that these wines were significantly superior to the wines we had tasted two days earlier in the burgeoning wine country of Southern California. Wineries with names like Reylen, Shelton, and West Bend, offer wines that have character, are bright, have some complexity and the wines we tasted were roughly half the price of the Temecula, California wines we had with the average wine costing around $10!

I don’t recommend traveling by air these days but if you must and you are passing through Charlotte, be sure to try the Yadkin Valley wines. Where else can you “raise a glass;” make that 4 glasses for 3 bucks?

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