Beyond the gated ruins and overlooking the Ashley, the four strategically placed tables were elegantly set, two bottles of vino on each, servers in place. Friends, relatives, acquaintances, and couples with cups in hand soaked in the ambiance and engaged in light conversation as they walked from table to table and strolled the numerous intertwined paths of the plantation landscape. All this courtesy of Middleton Place and its Spring Wednesday Wine Strolls.
Not by any stretch of the imagination am I a wine connoisseur, but I am learning the finer aspects of the grape culture. I have twice indulged in wine tastings in the past two weeks. This by far was a top flight experience made even more rewarding sharing it with family and friends. And wine tends to loosen the lips, so making small talk with fellow imbibers comes as easy as an Ashley River current.
Now, here are some specifics. After checking in, you received a detailed list with the names and descriptions of each wine. There were eight offerings--an obvious fact seeing there were four tables with two selections per table. Actually, six were wines and two were Sangria's. Although the tables were numbered, you are free to take them in any order to suit your tastes.
Maybe, you are partial to a certain varietal or bouquet, you can eliminate one of your least preferred and double up on a favorite. The point is there are no restrictions. You are entitled to eight tastings--your way. We chose to sample them all and according to the list. We figured the person who arranged the list knew what they were doing in regard to when and in what order to sample so as to get the most from the tastings. Crackers were also provided to cleanse the palate.
You have two hours to complete your list, but that does not mean you have to leave. Middleton Place and the Ashley River are beautiful in the setting sun and you get 10 per cent off your dinner at its on-site restaurant.
These were the night's tastings. Table One--Trentino Pinot Grigio, Italy 2012 and Planeta la Segreta Blend, Sicily, Italy 2012-considered a Chardonnay. The Chardonnay was the winner for me at Table One. Table Two--Gancia Moscato D'Asti, Italy 2012 and Bolla le Poiane Valpolicella Ripasso, Italy 2012--70 per cent Corvino and Corvinone. I favored the Moscato. Table Tree--Don and Sons Pinot Noir, Sonoma County 2011 and Aquinas Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2012. I am a Pinot Noir fan because of its healthful qualities. Table Four--Red Sangria and Blonde Sangria. Between the two, I had no opinion.
The whole affair is twenty dollars per person and it is worth every dollar. The night was a perfect blend of weather, scenery, and fermented grapes. Middleton Place is a National Historic Treasure that cooks the imagination. Dowsing the imagination with some wine enhances and strengthens the experience. I will be doing it again. You can wager a bottle of Don and Sons Pinot Noir on it.
Enjoy the beautiful pictures of Middleton Place's Spring Wednesday Wine Stroll.