Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: Pas de Deux and Pomp and Circumstance

As I write this review the Winey Family is just days out from the Winey Son's graduation from West Point. This will be our first graduation of the week, since three days after, the Winey Daughter will graduate from high school. So as you might image, The Winey Hubby and I have been doing some thinking about those two and the paths they're about to walk upon.

Graduations are, by nature, bittersweet. On the one hand, many of the graduates are SO ready to move on. They've grown out of the routine of their recent years, be it college or a high school. They know there are bigger and better adventures out there and in the usual way of the young, want it NOW.  But on the other hand, they are not quite ready to move on from the friendships they have developed. Or the families they have grown up around. The easy comfort of the people who know and love them, or the familiarity of a small town, of a campus, of the light in the window that is their goal at the end of each busy, wonderful, frustrating day.

So we will watch those two remarkable people step out of the Winey House to write their own stories, knowing, in the way only parents can, that those stories could be so very different than what they have planned.

Take The Winey Son, for instance. A few short hours after walking across the stage at Michie Stadium, he will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army and will begin his career. Will it be spent in the Army? Will he stay on after his West Point commitment is fulfilled? Or, will he take off on a totally new path...one that he might not even realize is there right now.

bottle of Pas de Deux, Biltmore WineryThere is a point to this, I promise. And as usual with The Winey Mom, it begins with a bottle of wine and one of my favorite wineries (and houses, for that matter). I am talking about Biltmore Winery in Asheville, North Carolina. Home of the awe inspiring Biltmore House (if you ever have the chance, go see it...it is jaw droppingly stunning) and home to the most visited winery in the country. The Winey Hubs and I have visited there often (see my review of Christmas at Biltmore wine), but I recently learned something about the winemaker there that made me take note.

Sharon Fenchak became the Biltmore's winemaker in 2003. And just when did her interest in wine blossom? When she was IN THE ARMY!!! That's right. The Army! Sharon enlisted at age 19 to be able to serve our country and explore the world. And then, as Sharon puts it, "I was stationed at Caserma Ederle in Vincenza, Italy for most of my time on active duty. While in Italy, I fell in love with the culture of wine, food and the Italian lifestyle. My favorite wine at that time in my life was the Moscato from the Veneto, Colli Euganei area of Italy. We have a wine at Biltmore called Pas de Deux that was inspired by the Moscato wines from this region." 

After her service in the Army, Sharon went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in food science from Penn State University as well as a master’s degree in food science from the University of Georgia, which lead to jobs in Georgia wineries before joining Biltmore in 1999. What a wonderful journey, right?

And it is a bottle of that aforementioned Pas de Deux (2010, 12.5%, Asheville, NC, grapes from CA) wine that wound up on my winey front steps a few weeks ago for my winey sampling pleasure. Pas de Deux is a sparkling Moscato, made from 100% Muscat Canelli grapes. What a delight this wine is! And to think we might never have been able to sip it if Sharon hadn't joined the Army, gone to Italy and fallen in love with sparkling wines!

The first thing you'll notice with Pas de Deux is all those pretty little bubbles. You will catch the scents of apricot and orange blossom, followed by flavors of almond cookies and mock orange. It finishes on a slightly bitter lemon fruit note. This is a semi-dry wine and has such a wonderful, grown up flavor to it! Fruit, but not cloying fruit. Think of it as tea time as compared to a child's birthday party. It would pair well with a range of foods, from fruit to seafood to a creamy dessert.

It would also pair very well with toasting your children as they mark the milestones of their lives. (And given that, it is going to also have to pair beautifully with waterproof mascara, tissues and a bit of proud sobbing.) So here is to the Winey Son and the Winey Daughter as they start out their new chapters. Enjoy the ride, and if you wind up in a winery at the end of it,  make sure you invite your Winey Mom to happily toast you once again!


I received this wine for review purposes. The opinions are all my own.
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  1. Congratulations on the graduations in your family! My son also just graduated from West Point. I've been looking at all the pictures of the week since we returned along with resting up from the trip. I wish your son well in his career.

    1. Congrats right back to you and your son! Can you believe how many pictures there are? I love looking at them though - it was an amazing day!


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