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I Heard It Through The Grapevine-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die

 

Rose Cou Rouge (Redneck Rose) Wine at Perdido Vineyards, is the 76th dish that I have tasted on my quest to eat all dishes listed on 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die. (Or 25th on my countdown.)

perdidopamphlet

Rose’ Cou Rouge Perdido Vineyards

After the annoying commercial, want to read this to a tune? MEGapick for this read. Creedence Clearwater Revival. Heard It Through The Grapevine.

Rose Cou Rouge Wine is said translates the term “redneck rose’ wine” into English. Literally pink (rose’) neck red. For those of my friends and readers who are not acquainted with this part of the country, and know my stance on labeling each other, this is a term that is used in this area of the world. The area of the Gulf Coast that spans 100 miles along the Florida-Alabama Coast is called ‘The Emerald Coast” and “The Redneck Riviera.” Not joking and people love it.  My friends also call it “the beach.”  I get that, growing up in Wisconsin we called lake and cottage land “up-North.”

That all said, introduced into the culture at Margaritaville on The Redneck Riviera at Gulf Shores, AL, and now toted across the country and globe. Willie Nelson took it on the road and it has been featured on Good Morning America and Family Feud. Perdido Vineyard’s website explains, “Just bottled good humor and fun.” [1]

Perdido Vineyards is located near the heavily traveled I-65 about 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Gulf Shores Alabama and many travelers have made this a stop. I was northbound driving from “the beach” on Highway 98.

Perdido Vineyard outside

Woods of South Alabama

Sometimes traveling through Alabama reminds me of Northern Wisconsin or The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. With tall pines, shoulder-less roads and a lot of wooded lands. With not much in between, I was glad that I was not alone on this trip.

A sign hangs outside the vineyard that describes the vineyard’s history. In 1972, a 50-acre farm was established with the finest wine varieties of Muscadine grapes that were grown specifically for the Bartels Winery of Pensacola, FL. Because Alabama has strict hooch laws to this day, I can only imagine the obstacles that this family has had to face. Fortunately, in 1979, The Alabama Winery Farm Acts was passed making it possible for this family to sell the wine in tasting rooms at the vineyard.

Perdido Vineyard sign

Perdido Vineyards sign marking this as a historical spot.

Perdido Vineyards have the honor of being the very first approved Alabama Winery since prohibition times. Amazingly, an Alabama Vineyard was still not allowed to sell their wines anywhere else until 2014 when the ABC board approved the sale of Alabama wines in their stores, this is currently on a trial basis. *See MEGathougts below.

After entering the property, I saw a few buildings and was not quite sure what to do.

Perdido Vineyard building

Perdido Vineyards

So, I headed towards the barrels and a sign.

Perdido Vineyard barrell

Perdido Vineyards Outbuildings.

Suddenly a man appeared and I fumbled for words to say hello, I’m here for the wine.

Perdido Vineyard tasting

Perdido Vineyard Tour

He said that although he was not the owner, we were welcome inside to see the products. He gave us an informative history of the vineyards and was able to tell us a bit about the production process. Although it was quite hot in the non-air-conditioned building, we learned that they used a cold fermentation process and had a temperature controlled storage ensuring quality assurance. The vineyard has a 90,000-gallon capacity.

perdidoproduction

Perdido Vineyard’s Production Area.

From there we were introduced and able to taste some of the products.  I loved the labels and the clever names of wine relating to Alabama. We learned that the wines are made from the Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes, a species of Muscadine, native to the Southeastern United States, as well as apple wines produced from Alabama apples and Satsuma oranges.

Perdido Vineyard wine priducts

Wines of Perdido Vineyards

During our tasting, we were able to taste samples from the red, white, and rose’ table wines, as well as a blueberry wine. And of course, the Rose-cou-rouge which is described as a  semi-dry, red Muscadine table wine. In addition to the wine, we were able to taste White Muscadine and Muscadine Grape juice, which are both extremely flavorful and loaded with resveratrol to help your body or if you don’t want to feed it to the kids or smack your liver.

We also learned from the sign and our tour that in 2002, vinegar began to be crafted. In 2005, 2006, 2007, they were awarded Gold Medals at Austria’s Mostbarkeiten-Kostbarkeiten competition.  Now that is a fantastic award and my pick for a purchase.

perdidoaward

Award winning vinegar at Perdido Vineyards.

 

MEGastars: 3***

I liked the staff at the vineyard who I found to be  pleasant, knowledgeable and passionate about the grapes. I loved their products made from Alabama grapes and fruit with Alabama pride. The wine was good, I left with three bottles to share with my guests.   I especially loved the witty names on the labels, although possibly not clear to an out of the area visitor. I really loved their vinegar, jams, jellies and other homemade products.

The one thing that dropped my star rating was my overall impression. I did not enjoy the atmosphere. From the moment I drove up to the buildings , my impression was that it needed a lot of TLC.  I kept wanting to garden the place up in a Mediterranean-Alabama style.  The same goes for the inside.  Hot, dusty and not so clean with no place to taste the wines.  Having toured many vineyards both in and out of the U.S.A., my mind was in full blown “I’d love to get my hands on this awesome building and grounds take it up many notches.”  I would grow grape vines for my visitors to walk through.This was the only vine that I observed.

perdidovines

Vines at Perdido Vineyard.

I have Muscadine vines in my Alabama landscape and they are too gorgeous not to show off.

MEGatips:

  1. *Note, Margaritaville in Gulf Shores closed in 2005 but nearby Pensacola Beach Margaritaville is a fantastic stay. I have written on this stop.  Not Beach-ing About It-Pensacola Beach, Florida, Fort Picken’s National Park and Margaritaville Hotel
  2. When you visit, do support this Alabama business.  Can’t get there? See if your Alabama ABC carries their wines.
  3. Do try the vinegar, I wished that I had bought more.
  4. The hours are 10AM-5 PM daily and closed on Sundays.  I would suggest phoning ahead to get a tour.
  5. Perdido Vineyards
    22100 County Road 47
    Perdido, Alabama 36562
    (251) 937-9463
  6. Links and source.  Perdido Vineyard  has a wonderful website. Perdido Vineyards
  7. I love visiting one of my favorite Alabama nurseries called Petals From The Past. Located near Jemison, Alabama and not far from I-65.  They have beautiful vines and orchards on premises with unique heirloom plants, trees, and shrubs.  The staff always go above and beyond. I love to take “the long way” home and drive through this area of grapevines and peaches.  Gorgeous countryside.  Petals from the Past website
  8. Link to the Alabama Wine Trail. Alabama Wine Trail  I noticed that the owners of Perdido Vineyards are listed as members.  There is also an interesting read on Alabama legislation pertaining to wine in Alabama.  Interesting read for this once Wisconsin girl.

MEGathoughts:

Contrast the archaic liquor laws  of Alabama to (for example,  Iowa,) the last state  where I resided.  One example is that Iowa farmers and winemakers are able to give tastings and sell their wines at-say-The State Fair where they are able to share their love of grape farming, promote their State’s bounties and the gorgeous Iowa Wine Trail. Another example, sell their goods at shops in this Iowa historic German Farm and tourist area.

iowavine

Shops of The Historic Amana Colonies in Amana, Iowa

Grapes of Iowa

amanagrapes

Grapes of Iowa Historical Amana Iowa

Or at a Famers Market that I visited in Munich Germany.

munichmarketgrape

Munich Germany Farmer’s Market bringing the vineyard

2. Just for the record, I am not a fruit table wine connoisseur. It is not that I do not understand what does what to the palate and tones and hints of this and that. I know what I like and I know what I do not. I have had some mighty fine wines both homemade and on winery tours and some are good, others not so much. My husband echoes this sentiment; we have a wine cooler that is virtually empty except for the standards that guests might want. Oh, and a bottle of Chianti that my daughter brought back from a recent trip to Italy; saved for a special moment with friends or her visit to our home to re-live her trip. Don’t get me wrong, I love wine and could drink it every day but I do not. I even brought some home.

perdidoglasses

Rose’ Cou Rouge of Perdido Vineyards.

 

To me, it is like eating the doughnuts that I gave up in my adult years; they are so delicious but empty calories that my body dislikes, immensely.  If I go to Neverland, there would be wine and doughnuts. So let me turn this Debbie Downer moment around. When I get back to Italy, I will raise a glass to my spouse and celebrate the moment, which I have not done in the past. I will go on a vineyard tour in France and Germany again and sip some nectar. Who knows, one day or two, I might even over indulge and dance in the moonlight.

3. Be nice to each other. When you think of a person, an ethnic group, religious groups and regional grouping  of peoples, try  in your mind to drop the labels.  Instead, recognize that we are all one.   It is a practice. “The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
— Black Elk (1863-1950)

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This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful information.

ABOUT:  *100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die,” is a compilation of food to chow down on “Bama style.”  Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier.  I am going to have some food fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home.   From the little old diner to the white cloth setting, this journey is an opportunity for me to explore my new state and experience pride in food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food, with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ smoker to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama.  From this list, I select stops based upon convenience of location and they are in no particular order (but I already have a few favorites.)  Perhaps when I finish this list, I will rank my favorite dishes. You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York.

I use a 5 MEGastar system.  For the most part, I am traveling a distance to try these dishes and these places get one shot at how I view the food and experience.   I will not be taking an average of three visit experiences and I factor this in when I give my star rating. That said, I’m very easy to please, I can overlook quite a bit and have worked in the food service industry.  I am not a paid food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on the experience.  I try to follow my own star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.

  • *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can? or,  the place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama.   This has happened to me a few times and is a difficult write.
  • ** passable – the food was “ok” but the place  was not “ok” or vice versa.
  • *** good but not outstanding or unique.
  • **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/or truly highlights Alabama Pride.
  • ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. And/Or, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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