Scuppernong – the North Carolinian grape

Scuppernong.  Just the sort of elegance you’d except from the name of a Southern United States grape variety.  I jest, but really it’s a ridiculous name.  Scuppernong.  Doesn’t hold nearly the same impression as telling someone about that fabulous Merlot or Chardonnay you had last night.

The scuppernong grape is native to North Carolina, and as the local grocer across the street was going out of buisness, I figured I had to try a bottle of this local North Carolina wine that I have yet to see anywhere else.  A white wine labeled as “semi-dry”, I had a hunch I wasn’t going to swoon over this scuppernong and blueberry (blueberry!) table wine.  Just my tastes.  My sweets-loving boyfriend, on the other hand, who typically is drinking the wine I buy begrudgingly, finished 3/4 of this bottle on his own.  An aroma of pure grape – it smells the way concord grapes taste, and a flavor to match.  Low in alcohol at 10%, this could have been sold with a Welch’s label on it.  That being said, I think it was pretty well done for what it was – the sweetness wasn’t cloying and it was as balanced as any other glass of grape juice.

Especially after seeing how my wine-shy boyfriend reacted to this wine, I’d actually recommend it to someone who isn’t interested in contemplating the nuance of a complex Bordeaux but instead just wants something drinkable, doesn’t taste like alcohol (no, really!), yet isn’t a sickeningly sweet Barefoot Pink Moscato. In fact, the scuppernong grape variety is a mutated relative of the muscadine grape, which bears no relation to the Italian muscat grape (which is responsible for moscato) though shares many similar characteristics, resulting in similar sounding names.  Please note mutated relative is only an acceptable phrase with regard to grapes – avoid referring to your family members as such.

As always with me, where there’s wine, there’s food (and vice versa). So what on earth does one eat with a Scuppernong?  A wholesomm country style southern mess.  For some this could mean BBQ pulled pork, coleslaw, mac and cheese and so on but to do it up southern style in a vegetarian (and in this case, vegan) way I made BQQ refried black beans, roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato, and corn on the cob (with non-dairy butter).  As apathetic as I was about the Scuppernong, I have to admit it felt right to drink it with this southern plate.  It felt like dressing up the typical BBQ buffet lunch with an ice cold glass of sweet tea and turning it into a dinner with chilled white wine.


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