This past weekend I had the opportunity to play Atlanta tourist. Despite living in this city for over 3 years, I rarely seem to take the opportunity to explore but when my best friend from college came to town we did exactly that. With a limited amount of time and budget because we try to be savee with our millennial funds, we set off to check a few things off our to-do wish list.
We accomplished the big things like finding a gluten free vanilla cupcake, she has celiac disease, and going to the aquarium. However, the one thing I’ve been waiting to do for months and was finally able to do was the wine tasting & winery tour at Chateau Élan.
The Chateau is located about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta. They offer wine tasting throughout most of the day but winery tours only occur a couple of times depending on the day. We chose to taste 8 wines as well as participated in the tour. I would recommend the 8 vs the 6 simply because there are so many great wines for you to try. For those of you who wish to learn from my experience, do the tour then drink. It’s hard to focus with that much wine in your system. J
The winery has a great selection to try. From dry whites to a dessert wine to sweet wines, both myself and “my still learning to love wine” friend were able to find something that we liked. I tend to like wine that isn’t so sweet. Like many of my friends, I started off at the moscato end of the spectrum and have gradually drifted towards preferring a Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. But even I enjoyed a few of the sweet wines.
Here are the wines we tried & our review:
Pinot Grigio Reserve: Surprisingly, we both enjoyed this wine. It’s described as being “fruity, toasty creamy aromas of peaches and yeasts”. It’s definitely a wine I would purchase again. Perfect for summer.
S&S Grade: A
Chardonnay Reserve: Unfortunately, I can’t say we both loved this one. Despite being described with the fruity, it was very much a different wine in comparison to the Pinot Grigio. For someone who loves a good chardonnay, I would highly recommend it. It’s definitely on the dryer side of being a dry wine but was still crisp.
S&S Grade: B+
Summer Wine: This wine won us over and most of the other wine consumers tasting around us. However, with a 6% residual sugar level and 12% alcohol, it’s one to drink with lots of water. I’d describe it as something close to Arbor Mist but way better. For new wine drinkers or those with a sweet tooth, this wine is perfect. But even someone with a dryer pallet can appreciate this light summer wine.
S&S Grade: A+
Moscato D’Asti D.O.C.G: This is the wine that divided the tasting. While K loved it, I was only able to handle a little bit. It was a bit too sweet for my tastes, but K used at least two of her tasting to drink this wine so it must be good. For those with a dryer wine preference, it’s definitely a bit sweeter than you’ll want but would be worth trying if you have a friend along.
S&S Grade: B
Dolce Rosso: Recommended by our server and ordered by at least 4 people around us, this wine got an okay mark for us. Another sweet wine, it didn’t stand out with the love that Summer Wine did but didn’t get the negative reaction K gave other wines. It was enjoyable to drink and is a great summer sparkling wine but if given the choice, I’d choose Summer Wine.
S&S Grade: B
Velvet Reserve: I loved this one & K gave it a try. By this point, she had decided to use the rest of her tasting marks to test the rest of the sweet wines. Described as “slightly oaked and very fruity”, this wine is a red that would appeal to many people on the spectrum and I will definitely be purchasing in the future.
S&S Grade: A
Merlot Reserve: Strong. I wrote a ? in my notes for this one because I wasn’t quite sure what to think. K gave this a negative as it was too much for her. However, I think that alone this wine would be okay. It is very dark in comparison to the velvet but probably wouldn’t appease everyone. However, if you are a Merlot drinker, I think you would find that you enjoy this wine.
S&S Grade: B
American Port: This may be one of the most memorable of the wines we tried. Well I tried it, K smelled it, made a face because it was so potent & took a tiny sip. It’s recommended that you try this wine last and I can understand why. Described as balancing “the high residual sugar with a high acidity level”, it is almost as intoxicating to smell as it is to drink. I wouldn’t put this under recommendations for everyone but if you appreciate a good, strong wine you would enjoy the port. However, I’d recommend slowly sipping on this one, it’s quite strong.
S&S Grade: B
Overall, the experience was great. The prices for doing the tasting are fairly reasonable as well as to do the wine tour. There are definitely a few wines I will be purchasing in the future. If you have a weekend to spend, the Chateau features golf & a spa. It would make a great girls weekend or bachelorette trip.
S&S Grade for Chateau Élan: A-