The barrel room was chilled to make the wine happy and Julie, a wine maker in her own right, provided us with snuggly throws to wrap around ourselves to make us happy too, as we tasted the wine.
Dennis sat beside us, served us each tastes of wine to savor. He took the time to explain origins and unique histories of the grapes that brought the whole tasting experience to life. We tasted a Souzao, which is a wine grape from Portugal used in making Port.
Dennis decided to make this into wine and instead used a Cabernet grape to make one of his Ports. Every wine we tasted was excellent and each distinctly different from the last. It often seems that small boutique wineries produce a few wines that all have a similar taste and style, but that is not the case with Eagles Nest Winery.
With each new wine you experience the essence of that grape varietal and unique layers of complexity. Our favorites were a Ruby Cab and a Lagrein, although we would have been very happy with any of their other award winning wines.
My husband is a red wine lover and he tends to stay away from the white wines, so a sweet white port seemed out of the question. However, we were both so pleasantly surprised by the White Ports that Dennis had produced.
The Viognier Port has a slightly pink color and a silky feel in your mouth. It is sweet but so beautifully balanced that what you really taste is the stone fruit, toasted almond and a faint caramel flavor. It is heavenly on the nose.
The Picpoul Blanc Port has a light gold color and a crisp, clean flavor. As soon as you bring your glass to your lips the aromas of pineapple and tropical fruit hits your nose. It is wonderful!
By the time we had pried every tidbit about the process of making port from Dennis’ lips it was growing dark outside. We wound our way back to the Cottage, which can also be rented for a lovely romantic getaway, and found a small group of people re-creating a Thanksgiving feast.
Could my magical wish get any better…..and then it did. I met, of all coincidences, Dianne, the sister of Karen, a college friend, that I had not seen for 30 years right there in the kitchen!
Meanwhile, the girls in the kitchen, Janis, Sarah and Shannon were having so much fun putting the last minute touches on dinner and between the tossing of salad, the stirring of rosemary gravy and the slicing of the most succulent turkey breast, they engaged us in conversation.
Everything was served buffet style along with wines from the vineyards we were overlooking. The food, wine and most of all the wonderful people that we shared this day with completed the magic that had begun at the gate when Julie first greeted us.
The views are spectacular but it is the warmth and generosity of Dennis and Julie that take your breath away!
All of this came together without anyone knowing they were a part of one of the best birthday celebrations I had had in quite some time.
As my husband and I drove home, we reflected on what an amazing day it had been and that this was the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Sharing what you have with others, even strangers, now friends.