Spending a day visiting wineries is always a pleasure. We loved the wineries in the Loire Valley when we were in France last year. We also spent an idyllic week in Napa Valley a few years ago. I have great memories of the beauty of the acres of grape vines, the wonderful food that seemed to be an extension of the wine experience and the stately wineries where the tastings were held. North Georgia has more than 12 different wineries. It just so happens that the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Georgia have the perfect terrain and soil to produce wines very similar to the wines produced in Italy’s Piedmont Region. I have been wanting to visit there since I read the post that Sam of My Carolina Kitchen wrote a few years ago. The fact that we have wineries of this caliber so close to home makes me very happy. I chose to visit Montaluce Winery because of the beauty of The Tuscan style tasting villa. The winery abuts the Etowah River and the Chatahoochee National Forest. It is just outside of the college town of Dahlonega, Georgia. It has sweeping views of the vineyards where they grow 10 different varietal European style grapes. This is the view from the table in the dining room where we had lunch. The restaurant, Le Vigne, was the other reason I wanted to visit. Executive Chef, Austin Rocconi, has designed his menu around the organic ingredients grown in the Montaluce garden and from purveyors participating in the Farm to Table movement. My lunch was something I could not resist. It was a BLT, but not just any old BLT. It included Benton’s bacon. Yes, that’s right Larry, the bacon from your neck of the woods in Tennessee and your very favorite. Also on the sandwich were some of the best fried green tomatoes that I have ever had. It was further garnished with heirloom lettuce and a delicious ramp aioli. The bread was also made in house. A very good BLT indeed. Right up there with the sandwich that David Scott and I made from the Benton’s bacon that Larry gave him. And you are not seeing double, triple or more. I had a flight of 5 different Montaluce white wines. I especially liked their 2012 Viognier. David was not too hungry because he had stopped for a late breakfast after trout fishing. He had a small plate of house cured smoked salmon, creme fraiche, whipped goat cheese, pickled okra and smoked blueberries. But he did end up eating 1/4 of my sandwich and several of my house made chips. Plus sips of my wine flight since he ordered just one glass of the Viognier. Here is a view of their outside eating area. Since it was a hot day, we ate in their beautiful inside eating area. This is a view of the the tasting area. Another view of the tasting room. We had a tour of the winery after lunch and only wished that it was harvest season, which will start in a few weeks, to see the activity of the pressing of the grapes. After leaving the winery we visited the organic gardens. There are still green tomatoes on the vine. The garden is in transition now between summer and fall crops. It was a special day and we came away with good feelings about the direction that this area of our country is going. The fact that exceptional wines can be produced from land in Northern Georgia is a promising development. Terroir is a word that sums up what is happening here. Loosely translated it means a sense of place. The combination of soil, climate and geology of a region results in crops that are unique to that particular place. The wines of Northern Georgia have won awards for their excellence.