CraneWeb2There is an old saying that “Variety is the Spice of Life”. Worldwide there are ten thousand known grape varietals and a countless number of proprietors taking advantage of these grapes to make wine. If you were to enjoy a different bottle every day of a lifetime, you still would not have tasted them all!

If you found a spice that would pleasantly “turbocharge” the flavors of food wouldn’t you want to use it all the time? Great news…wine should be considered that level of a spice! Flavor components in wine naturally compliment food. Tangy cheese intensifies with the crispness of wine from the green-skinned Sauvignon grape; the richness of wine from a red grape grown in the south of France enriches a perfectly grilled steak; the floral gaminess of lamb is played up by violet aromas in a dark red skinned grape called Syrah; the examples are endless.

Georgia’s founding father, James Edward Oglethorpe convinced his colonists that growing grapes and producing wine would make their settlements financially secure. Unfortunately, European grapes simply could not thrive in the harsh untamed soils in the South back then. It was not until the 1980’s that European wine grape production finally found its roots in these beautiful North Georgia hillsides we call home. With wineries such as Habersham Vineyards and Winery in Clarkesville, Chateau Elan Winery in Braselton, The Georgia Winery in Ringgold, and Split Rail Vineyards in Cartersville, Georgia’s wine grape industry was born.

Tiger Mtn

Rabun County, Lake Burton and Waterfall Club are well known for its stunning scenery, clean air, world-class golf and many valuable amenities, but few people know about glorious grapes that grow almost in our own back yard.  Inspired by winemakers in Virginia, John Ezzard began planting vine cuttings on his fifth-generation farm near Clayton in 1995. To date they have cultivated 14 acres of vines that produce many outstanding grapes to make Tiger Mountain Vineyards wines.

North Georgia has become well known for producing premium wine grapes.  Georgia’s “Wine Country” is highly recognized for a $500-million-dollar impact on the state’s economy. Over sixty-five wineries stretch all the way from Savannah to Young Harris. If only George Edward Oglethorpe could be here now to see his dream for Georgia flourishing!

problem childWaterfall Club members will enjoy touring many of these wineries, but they do not have to go far to enjoy excellent wines from the world’s most renowned producers.  The Club’s wine program features a varied list of many different varietals and vintners.  Many of the wines on the list are well known club standards high in quality and value, such as Peju, Caymus, Shafer, and Opus One; however, there are also some more eclectic offerings that might take and adventurous approach to pair with a great meal.  The Prisoner Wine Company is a relatively new superstar collection that seems to turn everything the touch to “gold” with Jen Beloz as winemaker with ten years previous experience at Ravenswood under the mentorship of Joel Peterson .  The Linne Calodo wines are built from the Rhone style of grapes and are exceptional “food” wines.  The GB Crane offerings, like the “el Coco”, come from a small eight acre vineyard in the gravel rick soils of St. Helena which has been in continuous cultivation since 1885. With its concentration of “black fruits” like Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, and Mourvedre the el Coco is also a fantastic “spice” to add to any beef or game dish that Chef Mark has to offer.

Research now shows that having one to two glasses of wine per day produces many health benefits. Experts say antioxidants in red wine contribute to reducing gallstones and the instances of heart attacks and strokes. I’m not sure that one can “accumulate” glasses during the week and cash them in on the weekend, but you should be encouraged to enjoy a daily glass of wine with dinner or lunch.

When dining with us at Waterfall Club please do not hesitate to ask for suggestions and pairings.  Chef Mark has put together some excellent offerings on his early spring menus.  Here are a few pairing options to consider the next time we see you in the dining outlets:

The Original “Crossover” Pairing – Pinot and Salmon

Flowers Pinot Noir – Sonoma Coast & Chef Mark’s Grilled Salmon
The maritime influence on the grapes in this elegant wine allows for high quality, small clusters perfect for this sometime finicky varietal.  The grilled method with the (good for you) but fatty fish are perfect for the addition of the Flowers “spice”.

Prime Rib – Prime RiojaSalmon

Spanish Reds are very versatile and pair well with everything from hard cheeses to spicy Moroccan Tagines.  We find that it is sophisticated enough to pair perfectly with the beefiness of Prime Rib, as well.  While hearty in nature we find the Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja and slow roasted, herb encrusted beef also share a silkiness that is irresistible.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Laura Pearson
Assistant F&B Director

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