When visiting Arrington Vineyards, you may see a man wandering around in a t-shirt and cowboy hat acting suspiciously like he owns the place. That's because he does. Kix Brooks (you know... from that little country duo, Brooks and Dunn), along with Fred Mindermann and Kip Summers, founded AV in 2005. Winemaker, Summers, has been helping AV win awards from the very beginning. (In a couple weeks, I'll be sure to get a picture of the ridiculous number of awards.) Because the vines are still young and the Tennessee climate is not suited to all grape varieties, many grapes are shipped in from California. But all the masterful work of fermenting and blending and bottling occurs on location in Arrington.
Other than the absolutely gorgeous Middle Tennessee setting, the best part about the vineyard is that the tastings are free and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable! Weekdays, you can taste all the available wines (don't hold me to this statement, this was their policy, and I don't know if it has changed or not.) And weekends (Fri-Sun), you can choose 4 wines (I know that this is correct!) Tastings are on a first come, first served basis. On weekends, it seems that there is usually about a 1 hour wait for tastings. Probably longer in the peak season (May-September). Bring a picnic, buy a bottle to enjoy, and soak up the scenery while you wait.
Normally I don't like rose wines. They tend to be sweet, and I don't really care for sweet wine. But Arrington Vineyards' one rose, Firefly Rose, is a beautiful, crisp, light-bodied wine with "aromas of strawberry jam and cherry pie". It sounds sweet, but it's not. The fruity flavors allow the natural, mild sugars to sing. Gently chilled, Firefly Rose is a great compliment to any meal.
Red Fox Red is the most popular red AV sells. It is easy to understand why once you've tasted it. You don't have to be a hard-core red fan to be a fan of this red. It isn't heavy or dense. It has a bright, clean flavor that is widely appealing. "Aromatic notes of wild strawberry and black tea are followed by flavors of mixed berries, vanilla, and black plum." Maybe I am just tricked by the description, but I can find all these flavors in the wine when I taste it... especially the back end hints of vanilla.
My personal favorite red at Arrington Vineyard is the Syrah. You probably have to be a hard-core red fan to like this one. It is deep, dark, spicy, and smokey, "...aromas of blackberry, vanilla oak, and allspice are followed by flavors of juicy raspberry, clove and cocoa." It is dangerous luxury.
A bottle of Arrington Vineyard red wine will run you $23-$28. So, not outrageous, but definitely more than Barefoot or Little Penguin. Truly though, the quality is fantastic and you can feel the love that is put into every bottle. Especially if you spring for the $50 KB 308. This is the only special reserve wine at AV. And oh, it is amazing... beyond amazing, actually! It's a Cabernet Sauvignon: smooth, rich, decadent, a hint of sweetness, a little spice. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. The tasting menu describes it best: "Made from [their] best barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, this special reserve is loaded with complex aromas of cedar, cola, and cherry pie followed by smooth chocolate covered cherry and black currant flavors." That makes you want to have a glass, right?
And the whites..... To be continued!!!
6211 Patton Rd., Arrington TN 37014
*Quoted wine descriptions from AV tasting menu.