If you’ve ever wandered through the woods down south and seen large vines hanging in the tree’s I’m here to tell you it’s not where Tarzan hangs out and it’s not super scary Poison Ivy! What you saw was the South's own Native Grape, The Muscadine! Maybe a little unpopular with the so-called cultured wine drinker, folks in the South have been enjoying this sweet and refreshing wine since the 16th century. The oldest known vine is thought to be in Manteo, NC and is still active and being cared for today. Lets not go much further down that road cause I’m sure there’s a lot more history I can talk about and I don’t wanna get distracted.
Tucked away in Natchez MS, a town steeped in its own history (don’t worry I’ll explore that another time, Pssst... there’s a bar there with a famous knife fight) is Old South Winery.
Established in 1979 this third generation family winery is known far and wide down south for its Muscadine Wines. I got the opportunity to stop in and do a tasting of their full line of wines and I can tell you I was definitely not disappointed. You’ll get a warm greeting from the owner, Scott Galbreath while you belly up to the bar where either one of his three sons or his daughter will pour you up something great tasting for only 5 bucks.
A lot of folks think of Muscadine wines as only that overly sweet thing they tried one time way back when and I can tell you while Old South does have your sweet dessert wine, they are not stuck in just that box. One of their oldest and most Popular Wines, “Carlos,” is very reminiscent of a Pinot Grigio with its notes of green apples and would pair perfectly with any light chicken or fish dish.
Next up on my personal list of favorites is the Blue Bayou, a tart and sweet wine perfect for a warm lazy southern afternoon in a shady porch swing while you sip the day away. For the red fans out there they have two dry reds the “Natchez Rouge,” being the less dry of the two, and the “Dry Noble”. Both wines keep that great fruity flavor while being darker and richer than normal Muscadine wines. The dryness of these two wines to me would be more comparable to a whisper and a kiss vs the battering ram you see in more typical dry reds (not that we don’t like that on occasion). Both would pair great with local wild game or a delicious steak from a good local butcher, or you could easily just sit and share a bottle on one of those warm balmy southern nights while you listen to the Symphony of crickets the night provides.
Now, last, but certainly not least, definitely a dessert wine and would make a killer sangria in my opinion is Blueberry Thrill. The thing I really dug about this wine was that it actually tasted like blueberries- not overly sweet, just a hint of tartness, and just hint of the earthiness that the skin of a blueberry tends to have. A lot of blueberry and fruit wines I’ve tried in the past tend to lend themselves more towards a kids fruit juice box than an actual wine and Old South avoids that easily with this tasty bottle.
These are only four of the options the winery has to offer at the moment with many more available for any taste, and more wines to come as they look at possible expansion into a new space and new vineyard. So, if you're traveling Near Natchez MS, do yourself a favor and throw Old South Winery in the GPS and pick out your favorite bottle. Then, drive over to the bluffs in Natchez overlooking the Mississippi river pour a glass in a paper cup (gotta hide it from the cops) leave your phone in the car and enjoy the view!
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