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RagApple Lassie

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How can I describe it. Maybe it was surprise, or perhaps shock. But in the end it was pure pleasure. A trip to a North Carolina winery is usually filled with "the usual"; but not this time. Approaching RagApple Lassie Vineyards in Booneville, NC you see the usual. You see what you expect. But if you dare to take the trek, you will be amazed.

Lenna and Frank Hobson grew tobacco, corn and soybeans on their 100 year old family farm; but the looming demise of tobacco gave rise to concerns about what might happen to their farm. So in 2000, Lenna and Frank planted their first vineyard and in 2002 they built a winery.

The Winery is constructed of simple galvalume and concrete and designed to look like typical farm buildings complete with the requisite silo. But that's where the typical ends. The silo has a circular staircase that leads to the underground wine cellar. The main entrance is via a catwalk that overlooks the fermentation tanks and the Wine Tasting Room.

RagApple Lassie Vineyards has received many awards for their wines, but don't take my word for it. Get yourself up here and taste for yourself. Steven McHone, their winemaker, sets out a fantastic array of handcrafted and Estate Grown wines for your pleasure. They even have a restaurant, The Back Door Cafe, with a sumptuous menu.

If you like Chardonnay, you will love their 2009 offering. For those that enjoy a sweeter wine but not one that's overly so, try their Kaleidoscope Gold. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was very tasty. Steven thinks it will be even better in a year or so, and I believe him. But go ahead and sneak a taste now anyway.

They have so many more wines but the wine they are mainly known for is their Zinfandel. They are pouring the 2007 Zin right now and it is just oozing with flavor; blackberries and plums mixed with the aromas of currants, cherry and a good dash of toasty oak.

So come on Charlotte, take the short trek north up highway 77 and pay them a visit. If you're nice, they may tell you where their name came from. www.ragapplelassie.com

TheWineaux@juno.com

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