Friday, August 22, 2014
Miss D. and I try hard to have a just-the-two-of-us 'date' once every week or two. It might be an evening out (we went to see Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Ryman Auditorium earlier this month), or a day out together exploring the vicinity. That's what we did today, heading off to visit Clarksville, TN, an hour away up Interstate 24.
We first visited the Beachaven Vineyards and Winery. We've tried a number of local vineyards only to be largely disappointed by the overly sweet wines they produce (doubtless popular locally, or they wouldn't still be in business, but a bit cloying to palates like Miss D.'s and mine, which have long been exposed to a wider variety of wines). However, Beachaven proved an exception. After a brief tour of the facilities we got stuck in to tasting their extensive selection of wines, and found some that really appealed to us. Their free tasting is limited to five wines per person, but when two people are married and don't mind sharing glasses, that makes ten wines to sample between them. We were a bit buzzed by the time we finished!
We came away with a case of wine; half a dozen Riesling, dry and pleasantly fruity (in my lingo, anyway - Miss D. says it's citrussy rather than fruity - but whether or not we use the same language about it, we both like it); four bottles of Merlot, a lovely smooth full-bodied red; and two bottles of their blackberry dessert wine, very fruity-sweet with a unique flavor that promises excellent results when served over ice-cream or pie (or both). Their prices were reasonable, and offering a 20% discount if we bought a case of a dozen bottles didn't hurt, either. We opened a bottle of the Riesling with supper tonight, and we'll definitely be going back to Beachaven in the not too distant future to replenish our stocks. Highly recommended for reasonably priced wines of better-than-average quality for Tennessee.
On our way out the door we asked the nice lady at the cash register to recommend a good place to have lunch. She suggested Blackhorse Pub & Brewery, a micro-brewery in central Clarksville, and the 'magic elf box' (a.k.a. Miss D.'s smartphone) navigated us to it. It proved to be an inspired recommendation. We ordered their Beer Cheese Dip as a starter, finding it spicy and flavorful. Miss D. and I both had their burgers as our main course, she ordering the Classic and I the Steakhouse. I have to say, that was the best burger I've had in years! It was made of lean, properly (i.e. coarsely) ground good-quality steak, perfectly cooked to order (medium for me, with a pink interior) and served on a bun toasted just right with high-quality trimmings. It was absolutely delicious, and I savored every mouthful. Miss D. also had good things to say about her burger. I can promise you, I'd go back to Clarksville just to have another Blackhorse burger - and I will soon! (They also have a branch in Knoxville, TN, for those of you in that area. If it's as good as the one in Clarksville, it'll be a must-stop destination.)
Coming home, the magic elf box warned us of major delays on I-24 between Clarksville and home, so we detoured onto the less-used country roads and took a leisurely, slower drive. It was very pleasant, passing through winding hills and fertile countryside, not having to worry about other traffic much at all. We made it back in time to spend a leisurely afternoon doing our own thing. It was a good day overall, and one we plan to repeat soon when we head back to Clarksville to replenish our wine shelf at Beachaven and enjoy another Blackhorse burger. If you find yourself in or near Clarksville, I highly recommend both destinations. (Make sure you go there hungry and thirsty!)