Long before there was regional wine, there was North Carolina's Biltmore Winery. It has been making wine since the early 1970s, and producing professional-quality wine for almost 30 years. In fact, Biltmore has been doing this for so long and so successfully that it has added a line of California wines to keep up with demand; the winery produces more than 160,000 cases a year.
The Wine Curmudgeon, of course, is most interested in the North Carolina wines, and I'm happy to report that Biltmore continues to do the state and regional wine proud. I was especially impressed with the cabernet sauvignon ($19, sample) and viognier ($15, sample). Both are made to reflect what winemaker Sharon Fenchak can get from North Carolina grapes, and not to fit some marketing flavor profile.
The cabernet, though only 13 percent alcohol, is ripe and full, with some cherry fruit and well done tannins. In this, it's similar to what I've tasted from Virginia -- a New World-style wine, but one that maintains an Old World-style perspective. The viognier has honeysuckle aromas, a rich mouth feel and a tingly finish. It has been aged in oak, but this doesn't overwhelm the wine. It's another in a long line of well-executed regional viogniers that show up most California viogniers that I've tasted.