On Friday morning, we took advantage of the hot breakfast at our hotel, and sales of Biltmore tickets at the desk. We drove to Biltmore (America’s largest home – the estate of George Vanderbilt –which was completed in 1895), and arrived before the doors opened, which, even on a weekday during the off-season, was a great idea. We were ahead of the crowd all day, which was a nice way to see the place. I didn’t actually check my pedometer, but I estimate between the House Tour, Garden Tour and over one hour spent walking the trails, we got in at least 5 miles.
We also took the winery tour – a self-guided trip through the former stables and cattle barn. The winery on Biltmore Estate has a large variety of products, and most of what we tried was good to very good. They actually started the tasting as a one-on-one with the Chateau Reserve Chardonnay – an excellent chardonnay with smooth, buttery character, which is part of their premium tasting. After that, everyone was herded into tasting groups where the wines were explained, and we were given the opportunity to taste eight of the twenty available wines. Between us, we tried 16 wines, and most were very good. There were a few that we didn’t care for (mostly Rose and semi-sweet), but our objections were based in flavor preferences, not the quality. We had Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay Sur Lies, American Chardonnay #21, White Century, Chenin Blanc, Limited Release Chenin Blanc, Grenache Rose, Cabernet Blanc de Noir, Pinot Noir, Cardinal’s Crest, Merlot, Limited Release Merlot, Syrah, Red Century and Cabernet Sauvignon.
With a 10% discount on three or more bottles, and prices that were absolutely reasonable, we were happy to purchase a few bottles to take home. What a nice visit we had at Biltmore! I highly recommend it, but go early and go off-season!