So this past weekend my wife and I decided to take a mini-vacation to get out of the house and spend a few days in Virginia wine country. A number of vineyards and a case and a half of wine later and we returned home to return to our 9-5 jobs. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the highlights of our trip.
Our first stop was Keswick Vineyards, and while I have nothing but good things to say about all of their wines, I do have to recommend their 2008 Consensus. Each year, Keswick brings in the members of their wine club and they spend a day mixing wine that was either left over, wasn’t what Keswick was looking for, or that they didn’t get enough yield from to have a single varietal.
After spending the day mixing and breaking for food, the members all come back and taste each of the wines that has been made, voting on the best one, which Keswick then releases as their Consensus. Because of that, each year the wine is different and this years blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Chambourcin (28%), and Petite Verdot (12%) is enough to make me want to join their wine club.
Dark cherry flavors mix well with a finish that is smooth thanks to the Petite Verdot, and yet gives you the hit in the back of the mouth that you would expect from a good Cabernet Sauvignon. A great wine worth picking up.
Our next stop was Jefferson Vineyards, whom I will admit I wanted to visit simply because at the Virginia Wine Expo they weren’t tasting their Petit Verdot and I had wanted to bring some home. While they offer several very good whites, including their Vin Blanc and Pinot Gris, at Jefferson it really is all about the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot for me.
Next up was Kluge Estate and Winery, whom you should visit during the warmer months if only because of their gorgeous outdoor area where you can taste wine and relax. I will say that Kluge wasn’t on our list to visit originally but we stopped there for two reasons. First, while at Keswick we purchased a tasting pass that, for $10 each, got us tastings at Keswick, Jefferson, and Kluge. I highly recommend this pass. Second, we were going to visit Blenheim Vineyards, which you get to by driving past Kluge.
At Kluge, April and I set up outdoors for our tasting. While several of the wines were enjoyable, a few bear remarking. The first thing we tasted was a Sparkling Rose’ which I have to admit was refreshing on the warm day. Also worth mentioning, especially as we took it home, was the Albermarle Rose’. My notes on this wine literally read “obnoxiously good.” I’ll be the first to admit that I have had a prejudice against pink wines in the past, but ever since my trip to California back in October, I’ve been finding Rose’ wine more and more enjoyable, especially as the weather begins to change.
Also worth mentioning is their Albermarle Simply Red 2005. We also tasted the 2003, but April and I liked the 2005 better and so brought home a bottle of that. If you’re looking to stop for a picnic, Kluge is a great spot as they also have a great selection of cheeses to compliment their selection of wines.
Our final stop for the day was Blenheim Vineyards. In many ways they were the impetus for this whole mini-vacation as I was such a fan of theirs at the Virginia Wine Expo and regretted not buying more of their wine. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how beautiful their tasting room is and how friendly and personable their Winemaker and General Manager Kirsty Harmon was to both myself and my wife.
As for their wine, I had bought two bottles of their Viognier at the Wine Expo, and so I didn’t pick up more of that while visiting (though I recommend it to anybody that is visiting), but I can’t recommend their 2005 Meritage enough. At $10 it’s an amazing blend of merlot, cabernet franc, and petit verdot. Speaking of Petit Verdot, Blenheim’s single varietal Petit Verdot is spectacular, along with their Cabernet Franc. Their King Family Merlot may have actually made a merlot drinker out of my wife with its earthy flavors.
Our first day in Virginia Wine Country was amazing, and trust me, the second day was just as much fun. Thanks to Keswick, Jefferson, Kluge, and Blenheim Vineyards for being so welcoming and to all my readers out there – please go and support these amazing vineyards.
Stay tuned for Day 2 of George and April’s Mini-Vacation in Virginia Wine Country.