Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Winery Tours

Yesterday the hubby and I went to the Charlottesville area to check out the fall foliage and visit a few wineries. It was a lovely day and we thought a day out and about would be nice. Which it was.

The drought kept the leaves from reaching a truly vibrant color. The leaves still looked lovely though. And the views were lovely. Have I mentioned how much I love fall? There's a different smell in the air and it's wonderful. Sadly it started raining and we had to cut things short. We managed to get some pictures, but I have yet to download them from the camera.

We were able to go to four wineries yesterday. When we do wineries we normally do three or four in a day.

The first winery that we went to was Prince Michel. A winery that I had been wanting to go to for quite some time. And not just because of the name. I don't have an ego I swear! I've heard many good things about it. It's a lovely place. Large and spacious. Quite beautiful actually. You can tell they spent time and money into setting up the place. And the gift shop is quite nice as well. They have a self guided tour that is very well set up and quite descriptive. It's a very good layout. The tasting is complimentary and we tried sixteen wines. The pour-er was pretty knowledgeable and very friendly. Sadly they need to spend a bit of money on developing their wines. Most of them had an alcohol taste to them. We did leave with a Shiraz and a Dry Rose.

My mission this year has been to find some dry roses to do a comparison on. I need to do that comparison soon. The wine fridge is way too full. The hubby expressly told me we weren't getting any wine on this trip, but when they don't charge you for a tasting you feel bad if you don't buy something.

Our next stop was First Colony Winery. A bit out of the way and the driveway was a bit rough, even in the truck, but I think it was worth it. Lovely view, but a bit rough looking. A lot of do-it-yourself work, but I don't hold that against them. Again the wine tastings were complimentary and we tried ten. You could try some of their reserves for a fee, which is refunded with purchases and we decided to try two. Well I did, the hubby was only interested in one. We both tried the Tannat and I tried their 1607, which is a dessert wine. The hubby was immediately turned off by the mention of 9.5% residual sugar. We really aren't sweet wine drinkers, but the description intrigued me. It's fortified with brandy and really doesn't taste sweet. I had to fight to get the glass back when I let the hubby try it. Our pour-er was very knowledgeable and friendly. We left there with a 2005 Rose, made completely with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Claret 2006 and of course the 1607, which we'll be saving for the Christmas season. Will definitely be going back there.

We then drove on to Kluge Estate Winery. It's set in a lovely area and the wine shop itself is neat and orderly. There was a tasting fee, but that doesn't bother me. We tried six wines. But it was done in a very unique way. Each wine was poured into a sampler glass, almost like a triangular beaker, and then described. You were then sent off to sip your six wines and encouraged to buy from their deli. Smart marketing on their part, but they pour way too much wine if you're just there to do a tasting. Which is what the hubby and I were there for. Our pour-er was very knowledgeable. She even asked us to pass along a hello to her sister-in-law at our next stop. We did sit outside and discuss the wines. The vineyard dog, Basil, decided that we needed a greeting and I got wet dog hair all on my jeans. Their sparkling wine is nice. Yes they do that in their tasting and they do the methode champenoise. They have other sparkling wines that I'm really interested in checking out. They also had a New World Red that we found interesting and a Rose that was so so. We left without any wines. At the prices they were asking I really didn't feel that bad.

Our last stop was Jefferson Vineyards. Another winery I had been looking forward too. The tasting room sign was almost hidden. The Tasting Room was in disorder and the pour-er acted like it was a hassle to pour for us. It was not crowded in there either. There were two other couples there being served by a woman and the whole time I was there they were bad mouthing Linden. I was surprised that she didn't say anything to try and defend the winery just agreed with them. He also bad mouthed Pearmund. Of course they only seemed to like sweet wines. Ugh! I did pass along the greeting from Kluge, because my momma raised me right. We paid our tasting fee and it felt like we had to fight to get any information on the wines that were poured for us. The young man just wanted us to read the notes while he chatted with one of his co-workers. The wines weren't very memorable and we left with nothing. Needless to say I was very disappointed when I left. Not a winery that I'll be returning to.

Most Virginia wineries will recommend other wineries to you and will try to say something nice about them. At the winery I work at we always recommend other wineries, especially if the person is doing a day of wineries. First Colony did and so did Kluge. In fact so did Prince Michel. The only place that didn't was Jefferson, which was just too busy chatting amongst themselves to give a damn.

Other than our last stop we had a nice day.

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