A dear friend got married recently in Charlottesville, VA, giving me a good excuse to visit a wine region I keep hearing more and more about.
I spent two days driving through the surrounding areas of Charlottesville and managed to visit 4 wineries.
A favorite of the bride & groom, I started my touring at King Family Vineyards. I tasted through their classic tasting, starting with the Viognier. I later came to find that Viognier is the state grape of Virginia, and prevalent throughout all of the wineries I visited. A varietal I tend to dismiss, these were actually exceptionally good. Balanced fruit, medium bodied with a backbone of acidity that led to a smooth finish, I will definitely be keeping my eye out for VA Viognier from now on.
Great bonus at King Family - their wonderful selection of meats, cheeses, and treats in their help-yourself fridge, all to be paired with warm baguettes! Perfect place for a picnic.
My thought overall on VA wines was that the whites were generally better than the reds, but I truly enjoyed the Cab Franc at King Family. Again the other prevalent grape in the region, it's unusual to find 100% Cab Franc, and when you do, they tend to be rather expensive and on the greener side with herbaceous, mineral notes. These were reasonably priced, much riper, with juicy red fruit and bright acidity, though the tannins were still there on the finish.
Next stop, White Hall Vineyards where the lovely Kathy tasted me through their flight as well as shared some great insight into the backroads of Charlottesville so that I could enjoy my tasting and still make it to the airport on time to pick up Aislinn!
Post-brunch on Saturday we continued exploring and made our way to Pollak Winery. Our group unanimously preferred the whites here vs. the red. Read more about our visit and favorite wines over on my friend Nick's blog at Best Coast Wines.
Our group decided to split, half returning to Charlottesville to visit Monticello while Aislinn and I decided to check out one more winery. I prefer to get my culture out of a glass ;-)
We ended up at Pippin Hill Winery. What I was afraid would be a gigantic marketing machine/wedding venue with not so great wines was thoroughly impressive. Absolutely beautiful setting, and great wines indeed!
We tasted through their white selection, with a Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and two Chardonnays, one oaked and one unoaked. My favorites were the Viognier and unoaked Chardonnay.
Sadly the wait for food was too long so we didn't get to enjoy lunch at Pippin Hill, but if you're in the area I highly suggest making an afternoon out of your visit as the setting was just breathtaking (even in the freezing cold!).
We had a wedding to get back to! The bride got her wish; the drizzle stopped just in time for an outdoor ceremony. Every detail of the wedding was exceptional, pinterest worthy, and a DIY dream!
Cheers to the happy couple!