Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Mountain crab cakes & wine

Posted June 26, 2008

What is your favorite North Carolina winery and why? Let’s float that question today as I tell you about my experience with Mountain Crab Cakes.

I finally made it to Shelton Winery near Mount Airy. What a beautiful setting! As I sat in the Harvest Grill Restaurant for lunch and looked out on the 383 acre estate I felt like I was back in Sonoma County, California with its rolling hills and lush vineyards. I was yearning for crab cakes but I had my doubts. I asked executive chef Paul S. Lange and he said I would not be disappointed. He said visitors from Maryland and Washington, DC consistently raved about their crab cakes.

He was right. Circled with a delectable cilantro sauce the crispy cakes exploded with flavor. They went down well with the Shelton Riesling. That was my wife's choice. I went with the cabernet. It was good.

We didn't do the wine tasting but took home a bottle of Shelton Pinot Noir. It was not one of my favorites as it lacked the liveliness and complexity I expect in a great pinot. But overall I think Shelton puts out some excellent products. Plus, they have some terrific weekend entertainment.

Shelton is located just off Interstate 77 near Mount Airy. It's worth the drive.

What is your favorite NC winery? I really can't weigh in on this one because my knowledge is limited but I would like to hear from you.


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  • Jim Pomeranz Jun 26, 2008

    Bill, As you know, my wife and I regularly visit North Carolina wineries. We've been to more than 40 in the last four years. For great wine from top to bottom, we like to visit Raylen in Mocksville and Stoney Mountain in Albemarle. While Shelton is a nice place to visit, we like to go to the smaller wineries where the attention to the customer is superior. You will not find restaurants at the smaller places, but the atmosphere and the wines are excellent. And, we also suggest a visit to some of the Virginia wineries. We did a three-day tour on the Northern Neck area and through the middle of the state and found many interesting wineries and vineyards and many excellent wines. Bottom line for wine enthusiasts is this: explore. Get a NC Wine map and plan a day trip to nearby facilities and an overnight to many other areas of North Carolina. AS you know, our state has a lot to offer. Taking your own wine tour combined with other sightseeing is lots of fun and educational.

  • 1Moms_View Jun 26, 2008

    I don't have a favorite NC wine, but one of my favorites that is close enough for NCians to visit is Chāteau Morrisette Winery. It's located off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County.

    I'll have to visit some of the NC wineries this summer.

  • Wheelman Jun 26, 2008


    Try New River Winery in Lansing, NC. It is in the Jefferson, West Jefferson, Todd area off Hwy. 221 and Hwy. 16 in Ashe Co. not a far drive from your cabin. Also, here is a link to the NC Wine Growers Assoc. for lots of info . Cheers!

  • uncfan89 Jun 26, 2008

    I haven't been to the winery but Duplin wines are wonderful and the fruit infused wines from Chatham Hill are great also. My husband and I went to the NC Wine festival at Tanglewood Park near Winston Salem the last weekend of May, I would definately recommend putting that on your calender for next year, there were about 30+ wineries and you could sample everything they had, plus there was great beach music with the Chairmen of the Baord and good food, a great weekend outing. We will be back in 2009.

  • granvillesc Jun 26, 2008

    Well, this is my first post to WRAL's GOLO and what a place to start! NC wineries have really come a long way in the past few years. Unlike most of the folks who have posted here, I find the fruit and muscodine wines of NC too sweet. My favorite winery so far is Hanover Park in Wilkes Co. The wines there are of the French bordeaux variety. The tasting room is an old farmhouse circa 1870's and it's a great place to hang out and taste and talk with very knowledgeable folks about all of the wineries in the Yadkin Valley. I thought that their chardonnay was as good as any I've had. And someone local always has freshly baked bread available for purchase, too.

  • lisa23 Jun 26, 2008

    We have an excellent winery in the triangle -- Chatham Hill Winery located near the RDU airport has several wonderful offerings - Viogner, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonny, Reisling that will not disappoint a wine connoisseur. Their fruit infused wines, Peach, Blueberry, Blackberry, Cherry, Strawberry, Raspberry and Pomegranate will please any lover of sweet wine! They offer wine tastings and tours without the drive! Have visited most of the NC wineries and these are some of the best NC has to offer! Save your gas money and visit one close to home !

  • davidgnews Jun 26, 2008

    We enjoyed touring and buying Shelton wines, and ate at the other winery nearby.

    The whites seem to be a little better than the reds for now, but I think NC wines/grapes need a bit more maturity before they'll be close to competing with California and beyond.

  • NCSUbabe Jun 26, 2008

    I've been to Grove Winery in Gibonsville, near Elon, North Carolina. It was a really nice experience. They have this Gears and Cheers bike race and you ride your bike and then to get stay after for wine tasting, food, and live band. It was a lot of fun and the wine was so good. I live in Raleigh and trying to find the wine locally is hard so we've had to order it off their website. It shipped pretty quickly and I could see myself going back there somtime soon.

  • beachbum1 Jun 26, 2008

    Went to Duplin, did not like it much. Lady was not real friendly. Wine we bought was average at best.

  • Riverracer8 Jun 26, 2008

    Cottontown, I tried Duplin's Almond Champagne for the first time last weekend. I LOVE IT!!! It has such an unusual flavor and is so good! I can definitely see myself making a road trip down there soon.




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Bill Leslie