Well, day one of mine and my wife’s weekend in Virginia Wine Country was enjoyable to say the least. We tasted lots of wine, purchased several bottles to bring home with us, and had dinner in Downtown Charlottesville at Siips Wine Bar – which I highly recommend to any visitors.
Our second day of tasting began when we arrived King Family Vineyards. A beautiful estate that is almost hidden (GPS makes it easy to find) off several small roads, we spent some time tasting their wines – the Roseland 2008, a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier offers the best of both wines, and their Crose 2009, a Provence style dry Rose’ made from Merlot grapes, were both especially enjoyable – and looking around the small shop within their tasting room. While this was April and my first stop, this would have been an ideal spot to stop for lunch, as King Family Vineyards has several items available for purchase that, when paired with wine, would make an excellent picnic lunch.
Our second stop on the day was Pollak Vineyards, with their new tasting room with a patio perfect for relaxing with a bottle of wine. A dry Rose’ stood out amongst the lighter wines, but their 2008 Durant Red, a 50/50 blend of their Merlot and Cabernet Franc, made me regret not getting to taste their Merlot (they were sold out) as the flavors I got that weren’t Cab Franc were quite enjoyable, with a bright flavor that still showed a bit of earthiness at the same time.
After relaxing for a bit, you have to pace yourself when wine tasting after all, April and I got back into the car and headed on to our next stop, Veritas Vineyards. Now, this was not my first trip to Veritas, as April’s brother (that’s my brother-in-law for those following along) had been married there coming up on 3 years ago.
However, on my last trip we weren’t wine tasting, and so I hadn’t had the opportunity to sample all of their wines. Veritas offers both a red and a white tasting, and being the good couple that April and I are, we decided to get both and share them. Ain’t love grand?
From the white tasting several wines stand out. The first thing we sampled was their Scintilla, a sparkling brut that was excellent, with a mineral flavor that was both dry and crisp and quite refreshing. Next up was their Sauvignon Blanc, a varietal that you don’t see much of in Virginia. Light and refreshing I liked it, but found myself craving the bolder flavors of South American Sauvignon Blanc. That said, this was still an excellent wine and one worth buying.
The other white to truly stand out was the 2008 “Estate Bottled” Chardonnay. The addition of some Viognier to this wine adds a floral nose and flavor that both April and I found very nice. We actually purchased a bottle of this to go home after having a bottle opened to enjoy with our lunch on the stunning grounds of Veritas.
From the reds, the 2008 Merlot was dry and earthy with flavors of black cherry and it was at this point that I think April officially became a fan of Virginia Merlot. The bottle that came home with us, however, was their 2008 Claret with it’s pepper nose (thanks to the 35% Cab Franc) and smooth finish (thanks to the 5% Petit Verdot). It’s a great wine for pasta, hamburgers, or just because.
Our final stop of the day was in part thanks to the suggestion of our pourer at King Family Vineyards. When asking about our day we told her what we had on our list and she suggested Afton Mountain Vineyards over our other choice (which I will not name) because of the wine selection and what she perceived to be our palates. It also helps that Afton Mountain is just down the road from Veritas, while the other place is not.
At Afton Mountains they also offer two different tastings (a House and a Reserve), and as at Veritas, April and I decided to get both and share. From the House Tasting, the Gewurztraminer was so impressive, with its dry, mineral flavors, that we actually bought a bottle of it to take home. The Cabernet Sauvignon from this tasting was also very nice with a good earthy flavor.
From the Reserve Tasting the Tete de Cuvee brut we started with had a nice mineral (which seemed to be a theme for the weekend) and their Festa di Bacco is nothing if not a great pasta wine.
Like all good things, this weekend came to an end. While this will not be my last trip to Virginia Wine Country, or several of these vineyards to be honest, I do hope that anybody that is in Virginia and reading this (and my previous post) that hasn’t gone out and spent some time in Virginia Wine Country will do so.
Thanks to all of the vineyards across both days for being your hospitality and your wine.