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  • An Epic Fantasy Novel - from the Writer of Red Wine Please!


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    Visit To Fireclay Cellars in Siler City, N.C.

    IMG_2685A recent stop on our continuing journey to explore North Carolina wineries brought us to Siler City, a rural townlogo-01 about 30 minutes west of Raleigh.? You turn up a quiet road and wind your way to a brand new building on the right, the home of Fireclay Cellars.? Vineyards take up the land in front and to the left of the winery, and there is more cleared land waiting for new vine plantings.? The production facility is underneath the tasting room, and the building is efficiently designed and executed.

    Being a rural winery, we weren’t expecting the clean, beautiful design of the tasting room.? There are high ceilings, spacious dimensions, comfortable seating areas and a large tasting bar in the center of the back wall.? A generous deck beckons on one side, placed to take advantage of afternoon shade.? You can see the work of local artists on display as well.? This is IMG_2688really well done.

    Fireclay is the vision of Andrei Mitran and his son Erik.? Erik serves as winemaker, and is obviously enthusiastic about his craft.? We talked about current production, new grapes going into the vineyards, and the opportunities to make small batches now that they have opened their own production facilities.? Having transported their grapes to another crush facility in previous years, the new building and equipment came together last year just in time for them to work their Rosé entirely in house.? It is the first estate produced wine at Fireclay.? More wines, produced completely at the new facility, are in the tanks and waiting for either barrel or bottle.? Based on Erik’s desire to try new things, I would expect that a few more varietals and variations in style will find their way onto the tasting menu in the next few years.? They are clearly excited about it.

    IMG_2694Grapes here are focused on hardy hybrids, such as Traminette, Chardonel and Chambourcin, but they also grow some Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Tannat.? Tannat apparently does quite well in the North Carolina climate, producing wines more in the style of Uruguayan Tannats than the giant, monolithic wines you might see from California, or the grapes ancestral home in Madiran, France.? They also make a Muscat, using grapes from Windsor Run Cellars in the Yadkin Valley.? While production now runs between 400-500 cases, they have plans to expand the vineyards and raise that to 1500-1800.? This is a serious winery.

    You can try all the wines for a modest tasting fee of $6, which they waive if you buy two bottles.? You can also buy a glass or two and relax in the tasting room, on the deck, or out on the lawn.? You might see a piece of art you like and take that home.? We did (more on IMG_2695that later).

    Let’s take a look at the current offerings.

    2017 White Blend- a blend of Traminette, Seyval Blanc and Chardonel, this is a North Carolina State Fair award winner.? It has lots of tropical notes, as well as a petrol like aroma that will make you think of Riesling, but smoother with a bit less acid.? This wine is still fresh and balanced.? Quite good, and obviously well made.

    2018 White Blend – this is made with the same grapes as the above wine, but is quite different.? The nose is full of apples, citrus and melon.? It’s very clean, crisp and dry on the palate, with a long finish.? Another very well made wine.? This drinks like something with more pedigree and price tag.

    2018 Cabernet Franc Rose – this is the first, and at this point only, finished wine made entirely at the new production facility.? It is very pale, with just a touch of color.? It has a bright nose with berries prominent.? Cleansing acid keeps it fresh.? Just when you think, “this is a pretty good rose” the Cab Franc makes itself more prominent, and the wine becomes an enigma, with caramel notes, mocha and pepper.? This is pretty excellent juice.

    2016 Red Blend – a dry red wine, made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tannat and Chambourcin.? It has a deep red color, with earthy aromas.? You get pepper and a dusty cocao.? There is some blackberry fruit as well.? It has a long finish, and is another well made wine.? The Chambourcin seems to hold sway here.

    2016 Chambourcin – 90% Chambourcin with the other 10% coming from Cabernet Sauvignon, this is another prize winning wine.? You get red fruit and spices.? It has medium+ body and is quite rich, with a long finish.? This is very good, with structure and some complexity.

    2017 Valvin Muscat – now this is different.? A sweet wine, but not overly so, this has aromas of peach, honey and orange.? It also has a balsam quality.? If you’ve ever tried the Greek wine Retsina, you know what I mean.? Although here, it is toned way down and accentuates the fruit in the wine.? It brings freshness to offset the sugar, and combined with the acid in the wine, the whole thing comes across as well balanced.? This works, and is a great wine to bring to a party.? No one will have a clue what they’re drinking.


    The best way to sum up the wines at Fireclay Cellars is “well made”.? You can taste it through the entire line.? Erik is doing a great job here, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he comes up with in the next few years.

    We’ll be back, and we suggest you take the time to drive out to Fireclay and judge for yourself.? Here are the particulars:

    Fireclay Cellars

    1276 Bowers Store Rd, Siler City, NC 27344


    Website: https://fireclaycellars.com/

    Now, back to the possibility of bringing a piece of art home.? There was a sculpture by the front door that just had to come home with IMG_2698us (as Cheri named him while we still debating the purchase), so we brought back a bottle of wine and Albert as well.? The artist is sculptor John Makowski, and you can see more of his work at the Joyful Jewel gallery is Pittsboro, NC.? Here is Albert.

    You just never know what you’re going to find.

    A votre santé!


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