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FOOD: Drink wine with merry heart at Beachaven

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(TMP Photo/A. Nesse)
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Beachaven Winery is one of Tennessee’s 32 wineries. Located at 1100 Dunlop Lane in Clarksville, Beachaven proves to be a worthy use of gas money and weekend exploration for curious Tennesseans.

Clarksville is home to the famous 101st Airborne – a unit that has a reputation for distinguished performance.

The reputation of the 101st and those who live in Clarksville are rich with bravery and valor. A thirsty traveller might be perplexed with the enchantment of the vines of Beachaven Winery just beyond the barracks.

Louisa Cooke, owner of Beachaven, often leans at the end of the U-shaped bar in the tasting room, sipping her own Classic White.

“We wanted to see how hard we could make ourselves work, “ she said jokingly when asked why she decided to open a winery in Clarksville.  

Cook’s father was a politician and hobbyist, which inspired her to explore viticulture.

The legal limit is 200 gallons of homemade wine, and when she and her husband reached that limit, they knew they would have to do something else.

Dutch Mann, an 88-year-old veteran, carves the tops of the barrels with caricatures of Beachaven memories and employees.  After the barrels are retired, the tops of the barrels are lacquered and displayed in the production room. Unfortunately, they’re not for sale, but they’re one of the several unique aspects of the winery.

Cook’s staff offers a free tasting for visitors.

Free wine? Yes.

Don’t forget to tip your bartender.

Beachaven’s cabernet sauvignon smells like Christmas fruits: warm nutmeg, cinnamon and mulled fragrance. This wine is aged  in American oak. Tart tannin coats the entire palette with flavors of vanilla, blackberry, licorice and spice.

The Barrelhead Red, at first whiff, is almost like a cherry coke or a sweet Portuguese sherry. However, the taste is balanced with spice and has a long, luxurious finish. The juice is a royal purple and will leave an impression on your pearly whites.

The 2008 Cynthiana is the winery’s newest signature product. Its medium body is garnet in color, and at the nose, reminds me of candy from my grandmother’s crystal candy dish.

The Carpenter family grows the grapes for the Cynthiana in Montgomery County. This wine is exceptionally approachable and the perfect bottle to buy by the case. If you do purchase by the case, there is a 20 percent discount available. That’s a great incentive to keep the party going.

Cook said her favorite wine is the Classic White. The varietal is vidal blanc, which is most often used in creating ice wine because of its high acidity and fruitiness.

However, Beachaven Winery produces a lemony, crisp table wine that perfectly pairs with seafood, chicken and pasta. It’s slick on the tongue with no effervescence, and it smells like a chardonnay at first. But, it’s very light with an obvious stainless steel fermentation time.

“Vidal is a French hybrid, meaning it was ‘created’ by pairing two different grape parents. This is sort of like crossing a poodle and a cocker spaniel and creating a cock-a-poo,” according to Wineintro.com.

Reading over the list of wines at Beachaven Winery, some of the names sound like a set list for a concert - Raspberry Rhapsody, Jazz Jamboree, Sonata, Melody, Tempo and Harmony.

Each May through October, Beachaven presents Jazz on the Lawn, which is Cook’s favorite time of the year, she said.

Now, it’s that time of year. Spring is bursting out of late winter in Middle Tennessee, and it’s time to get out of the house.

Take it from the best selling book in the world, Ecclesiastes says “Eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart.”
Tagged under  Beachaven Winery, Clarksville, Entertainment, Food, Tennessee, Travel, Wine

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