The Wine Raconteur Jr. gave me a bottle of Tennessee wine in a contraption that Rube Goldberg would have been proud of. So soon enough, I will be able to add that state to my completed group of wines, but there are still plenty of more states to go. When I think of the brass “chicken wire” wrapping on Rioja wines that were designed as a deterrent from the help opening up bottles for quick consumption, it worked, but this contraption of wood and rope could make a Saint question humanity. I am glad that the instructions were given on the side, but both my Bride and I could not figure it out, in fact we had problems even with the instructions. The Wine Raconteur Jr. is an engineer by trade, so he must have enjoyed such a devious gift, and it was fun and maybe I should put my First Growths in that contraption, but I think not for my sake.
Cades Cove Cellars is in Townsend, Tennessee and was founded by two generations of the Birkholz and Reed families. Jerry Reed has been a vintner and winemaker since 1984 and his daughter Cameran who has a law degree also attended UC Davis and received her winemaking certification in 2010. Cades Coves Cellars was established in 2012. Cameran’s brother-in-law is John Birkholz has been working as the cellar master for twelve years and is now the assistant winemaker, while his father is president of the company. Cades Cove is a quiet, beautiful valley in the mountains with rustic buildings dating back to the 1800’s and are preserved by the National Park System.
The winery offers currently eighteen different wines, some are vinifera, some cold-hardy and assorted fruit wines and mead. The bottle of wine that I received is Cades Cove Cellars Smoky Mountain Sunrise (2018) and while the winery gives a vintage year on their site, the wine label does not, in fact there is not an appellation listed, which also negates the need for a vintage year. The fruit is listed as being from Tennessee and elsewhere and it is a blend of Vidal Blanc and Red Muscadine. Muscadine is a name give to a group of nine varieties found in Central and North America, the most famous is known as Scuppernong, a native grape of North Carolina. The grapes are thick skinned and highly resistant to fungal and bacterial diseases as well as to phylloxera. While similar sounding in name, the wine is not related to Muscat or Muscardine grapes. Vidal Blanc is a hardy hybrid that is popular in Canada and the northern United States. The variety is a crossing of Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc) and Seibel 4986 (Rayon d’Or) and was originally conceived for Brandy production in Canada, but the grape became one of the perfect grapes for Canada’s flourishing Icewine production. Cades Cove Cellars describes their Smoky Mountain Sunrise as a sweet dessert wine, similar in taste to an Icewine, either by itself or pairs with fruit dishes. I am sure that it will find a following here at one of our parties.