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    Visit to Raylen Vineyards and Winery in the Yadkin Valley, NC

    logoAs we spend more time in our new home in North Carolina, we are slowly starting to get out to the many wineries which form part of a vibrant North Carolina wine industry.? Recently, this brought us to Raylen Vineyards and Winery, one of the larger producers in North Carolina, and one of the founding wineries of the Yadkin Valley A.V.A.? The winery is located in a pretty spot, with a large tasting room, and a comfortable outdoor patio area, where you can relax with a glass or bottle and just spend a few quiet hours.? We

    The back patio

    The back patio

    did just that, and there are certainly far worse ways to pass some time on a pleasant afternoon.

    Raylen has been in business since Joe and Joyce Neely started Raylen back in 1999.? When they became a charter member of the

    Yadkin Valley A.V.A. in 2000, there were only four other wineries in the area.? That has certainly changed, as numerous wineries have sprung up in the intervening time.? Raylen continues on, with now 30 acres under vine.? They make almost all estate wine here, the exceptions being a Sauvignon Blanc from California grapes, as well as some blending grapes.? There are many varietals and blends offered, both red and white.

    We tasted through their lineup, and review some of our favorites below.

    2017 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay –?the wine spends 3-4 months in neutral French oak.? It has a lean profile, with the oak a Barrel Chardonnaynice addition and not overpowering.? The finish is clean and long.? Quite well done.? $17.99

    Cab Franc2016 Cabernet Franc –?aged in French oak, this wine is light red, with red plum, cherry, spice and oak on the nose.? Tart cherry joins the finish on the palate.? There is spice throughout.? This is pretty delicious juice.? $17.99

    2017 Petit Verdot –?this has both red and black fruits, along with tobacco, caramel and toasty oak.? Very nice wine all around.? $29.99

    2017 BB Select –?another unusual wine, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, that is aged for six months in Woodford Reserve bourbon Bourbon Barrel Redbarrels.? It emerges a dark, dusty red wine, with bourbon on the nose, along with caramel, vanilla and fruit.? Rich fruit emerges on the palate, and the bourbon comes back around at you toward the end.? This has solid tannins, is full bodied and quite long.? It is an excellent wine.? $24.99

    2017 Riesling –?this also has a bit of Muscat Canelli in it, and is semi-sweet.? It has honeysuckle, white flowers and crisp flavors.? A very good white, for those who like something off dry.? $15.99

    NV Pale Red –?as soon as they pour it into your glass you understand where the name came from, as it is pale red in color.? This is made with Syrah and Concord, and is quite unusual.? You get a grapey flavor mixed with chutney, and mulling spices.? The concord does hold sway, and that is just fine as this is easy drinking and very different.? $12.99

    Caravel Dessert Wine –?this is made with Cabernet Franc grapes, and carries a hefty 19% alcohol.? After it spends 30 months in French oak it develops a complex profile, and you get some hints of caramel, nuts, fruit and more.? Almost a cross between Cognac and Port.? Very good indeed.? $19.99

    The inviting tasting room

    The inviting tasting room

    We brought a few bottles home, and bought a bottle of the excellent Cab Franc to sit on the patio with and enjoy the afternoon.? It was relaxing, fun and a great couple of hours.? We met and talked with several people while we watched the time go by, including some who were attending a wedding at the winery.? Everyone in sight seemed to be happy.

    Raylen is about 20 minutes west of Winston-Salem, off of Route 40.? It’s worth the trip.

    Here are the particulars:


    Raylen Vineyards and Winery

    3577 U.S. Highway 158

    Mocksville, N.C.? 27028 ? ? 336-998-3100

    Open for tastings and tours M-F? 11-6,? Sundays 12-5

    A votre santé!



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