Georgia: Montaluce Vineyards + Le Vigne Ristorante

OK folks in the southeast, Georgia wine is making strides. Seriously.

If you’re not familiar with Montaluce, it is a relatively new winery + community/development + restaurant that is investing heavily in a first rate operation. The Beechams, who own the place, invited a bunch of Atlanta foodies/winos up for a visit today, and it was impressive - from the beauty of the land, to the lovely Tuscan style architecture, to the darn good wines, to the very talented chef and kitchen (Steven Hartman, who worked under Sean Brock in Nashville). Full disclosure - they treated us to the wine and food.

We had a five course lunch paired with their wines, plus discussion with the winemaker and chef. The chardonnay, no oak, with 10% viognier, was perfect for all the ABC’ers out there, nice acidity and minerality, and paired wonderfully with a chicken liver mousse, the acidity of the wine balancing the fat/salt in the chicken liver very nicely. The other white, a straight viognier, was also pretty darn good, a wonderful typical viognier nose, but was not quite sweet enough to pair well with what was the most outstanding course of the day - a butternut squash custard with ample gel, oat crumble and buttermilk (served in a mason jar). Wow. Just wow.

We also tasted their cabernet sauvignon and merlot, both of which are certainly better than you might expect from Georgia. But I have the highest hopes for their whites given the climate, and think they’ll continue to do great things for Georgia wine.

Back to the food, the chef is doing great things with great ingredients, a flair for blending Southern and Italian-inspired elements nicely. Some photos that just might make you drive down to Georgia from wherever you are at -

Love the shots Brad!

Thanks for the tip Brad. I’ll have to check them out once the weather warms up.

Well done Brad…some great shots there. Sounds like a great time.

Thanks all. I do look forward to trying more Georgia wine in the future. Last time I had any was a couple years ago and it was dreadful, but this visit and comments from others on Tiger and Frogtown give me hope. And the food the chef is creating at Le Vigne is excellent - I’d put it on par with Abattoir in Atlanta which is saying a lot. *yes, sample size of one meal, but i really liked his approach to the food