Virginia wineries and wines
Does anyone have a favorite Virgina wine? I've lived in this area for four years now, and have visited a handful of vineyards, tried some great and some terrible wines, and am curious to know what other hounds think? What are your favorite vinyards for their wine? Favorite vineyards to visit? Which Virginia wines do you like/love the most? Thanks!
I've had some very good "late harvest" dessert wines at Gray Ghost, http://www.virginiawines.org/wineries.... Oasis Winery also had some interesting (in a very good sense) sparklers, plus some nice still wines, http://www.virginiawines.org/wineries.... There were several other wineries that were worth the drive, with the only exception being Meredyth Vineyards. I found the wines showing poorly, and the owner a bit more than eccentric.
Unfortunately, we only had two half-days and meeting before and after in DC, so we missed most of the state. I was pleasently surprised at the wines that we found.
I agree with Bob W that VA whites tend to be better than VA reds (and in general, I'm more of a red person, though VA is slowly changing that).
As for specifics, I haven't actually been to Barboursville, but I have bought their Cabernet Franc several times from a local store, and have really loved it. I visited Chrysalis (which is a beautiful place to visit--perfect for a picnic and leisurely stroll) and enjoyed their "Sarah's Patio Red"--it's a light red wine best served chilled and very refreshing. I bought 3 bottles, and while most of it was great, one bottle was definitely a bit off...I wish I could put my finger on exactly why.
For whites, I really liked the viognier and "Doukenie" from Windham winery (another lovely place to visit, with very friendly staff and a nice pond).
I've enjoyed a few nice wines from Grey Ghost, but unfortunately, cannot remember which varietals.
I visited Naked Mountain not too long ago and enjoyed a few of their chardonnays. I wouldn't recommend visiting the winery, however, because unfortunately, the man pouring for us was not informative or friendly (though the other woman working seemed wonderful) and the grounds are not the most beautiful and not too conducive to walking around or picnicing.
I had a great tour at Breaux winery, led by pleasant and informative staff, but unfortunately, did not enjoy any of the wines (red or white).
As far as being a beautiful place to visit, it is hard to beat Hillsborough winery. They are up on a mountain and the views are stunning. The building where they offer tastings feels like a renovated barn and is stunning. The patios around the building are a perfect place to relax and drink a glass of wine! It also looks like the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding. So lovely. Again, the man pouring for us wasn't the most personable, but the other folks pouring seemed great (must be my luck!). They only had 4-5 wines available for tasting, and I thought all of them were good, though none were truly outstanding. Overall, it is a great place to spend a few hours soaking up the sun, enjoying the view, and relaxing.
That's all I can think of for now, but visit http://www.virginiawines.org/ for info on nearly all of VA's wineries. It also has info on special events being held at the different wineries, and is a good resource for planning trips. I think my next trip will be to Tarara b/c I've heard positive things about their wines, and I read that part of their winery is in a cave!
In the whites, check out the Viognier from Chrysalis (near Middleburg). This grape is doing very well in VA and that winery produces a nice one.
I think reds are not doing as well in VA. One grape that a lot of wineries are having some success with is Cabernet Franc. Try Jefferson's (I'd say that's one of the best VA wineries for reds.)
Some very nice fruit wines being made here too. I'd rather have a good peach or pear wine than a crappy grape wine anyday.
I think that Barboursville is the best in Virginia. I went to Horton (which is just down the road from Barboursville) and liked several of its wines a lot but I think that they offer to great a range of wines.
I have suggestion. You may wish to go to http://www.michaelgreenwine.com/ and ask Michael using the "contact me" on the left side of the page.
Michael has some terrific insights on wine and I think he some special knowledge of Virginia wines. Full disclosure- I neither work for Michael nor the VA wine industry. I have met Michael before and he has a passion for educating people about wine.