Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wine Tasting in Charlottesville, VA

Last weekend was filled with fun, friendship, and wine tasting.  It was a nice, albeit cold, weekend in Charlottesville, VA where our group of 13 tasted our way through some really good Virginia wines.  Please join us on our journey.

We kicked off the weekend on Friday night with dinner at the Aberdeen Barn.  The food and service were excellent, and it was conveniently located near our hotel.  We were all given consecutive rooms on the same floor so our enthusiasm wouldn't disturb the other guests.  After dinner we commandeered the breakfast room to meet and discuss our plans for Saturday.  The wine and conversation flowed freely around the tables we had pushed together, and we nailed down the wineries we wanted to visit.  This was our first visit to the area, so we were fine with whatever was decided upon.

We met in the parking lot after breakfast the next morning and sorted out riding arrangements.  It was cold but sunny, and a good day to be out and about.

The first stop of the day was First Colony Winery.  The tasting room was in a beautiful setting with gorgeous trees in full bloom, and daffodils and grape hyacinth dotting the walkway.  We tasted an array of wines including an interesting Tannat which is seldom used as a stand alone, and petted the resident cat as he dozed in his chair in the sun.  We walked out of there with several bottles of their more interesting varieties.

Next it was on to Blenheim Vineyard & Winery.  They were having an event in the tasting room, so our tasting took place outside.  Yes, it was cold, but we did have a gas heater to warm our hands and/or glasses of wine.  Blenheim  has a lovely selection of wines, and we enjoyed them all thoroughly.  We picked up a couple of our favorites whites, Chardonnay and Painted White.

By this time we were beginning to feel the need for lunch, and there was a small deli just a few miles down the road.  The sandwiches were yummy, but I think we overwhelmed them, so lunch took a little longer than anticipated, and to stay on schedule, it was decided to forgo the next winery.

We soon arrived at the much-anticipated White Hall Vineyards, and it was everything it had been described to be and more.  There was a crowd around the tasting bar where the pourers were holding court.  The guy who was pouring for us was an absolute hoot, and had us all laughing.  We tasted a lot of excellent wines and made more purchases.  One of the group favorites was Edichi, a sweet dessert wine with flavors of plum, walnut, and raspberry with a rum raisin finish.

Just when you think it can't get any better, we made our way to Veritas Winery & Vineyard just before they closed.  This was our first seated tasting, and we were divided between two tables.  We tasted six wines, which were all excellent, and guess what?  Yep, we bought more wine.  My favorite here was a sparkling wine called Scintilla, made from Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay grapes.

That brought an end to our tasting adventures, and we headed back to the hotel to regroup for dinner.

Sunday morning we awoke to an inch of fresh snow, and thus there was a snowball fight in the parking lot as we loaded the cars.

It was a wonderful weekend.  We ate, we drank, we bonded in ways that simply meeting for a couple hours once a month can't accomplish.  I am looking forward to more such getaways.


  1. How absolutely FANTASTIC!! I would really LOVE to go on a wine tasting adventure just like that one day.

  2. meleah rebeccah- I hope you do! It was lots of fun in spite of the cold and snow. It's also a great way to learn about wines from other areas, not available outside the winery or local stores. Our group consisted of wine society members and friends of members.

  3. Linda,

    I wish we had something like this in our area. As my boyfriend is a chef, he deals with wine a lot and we both enjoy the wine tasting we do get.

    It all the more fun to go with a group and travel around to the vineyards. We did in Europe, but we haven't had the pleasure in the States.

    It sounds like you had a wonderful and relaxing time. Good for you:~)

  4. As much wine as I drink, I wish I knew more about them. I feel like an idiot trying to act like I know which wine I want to order at dinner or whatever.

    That last shot of the snow is beautiful.

  5. I seriously had no idea that Virginia had wineries, but I guess why not? Even Pennsylvania has them as crazy as it sounds. :)

  6. That blossom tree is absolutely magnificent, Linda!

    Sounds like a fantastic time!

  7. That sounds wonderful! We live near the Napa Valley so wine tasting is something we try to do quite a bit. We have recently started enjoying the Livermore Valley as well. Northern California has a lot of wineries and by the time I go to my great reward, I am hoping I will have visited most of them!

  8. What beautiful pictures and so much fun spending a weekend with friends over wine. I really want to do a wine tasting at a real vinyard, like Napa maybe.

  9. Gorgeous!

    I learned recently, that wine is produced in 49 of the 50 states. I had no idea!

  10. Sara- Wine tastings are more fun in a group setting. This was our first such adventure, and with as much fun as we had I expect there will be more.

    Margaret- It helps that we are members of the wine society, and no we are not wine snobs by any stretch. We are still learning and discovering new varieties. Maybe we'll have a glass or two at the TB conference.

    unfinishedperson- I guess if you don't live in the area you don't give it much thought. I've heard there are lots of wineries in PA - why is that crazy?

    Talon- Flowers were not out as much there, but I think they'd been having warm weather. Charlottesville is about 4 hours north of us. We're all in a bit of a cold snap around here. And, yes, it was a wonderful trip.

    Linda- I hope we can get to California someday to do some tasting. I love California wines.

    Jen- Everyone had a great time. I think you get closer when you do something like this versus just going to meetings, although those are fun too. The snow was quite scenic. This was a mountainous area and the leaves weren't out yet, so we could see the snow on the mountains. Cool!

    Thomas- Thanks for visiting! That is an interesting fact, and I was curious which state did not, so I Googled it and everything I read said all 50. I guess maybe the one holdout joined in the fun. There are even 4 wineries in Alaska. Who'd have thunk it? Got wine?

  11. I've never done any wine tasting tours but this one sounds ace, Linda! can I come on the next one with you?? :)


  12. Sounds wonderful. This is something I've always wanted to do.

  13. Jannie- Sure, c'mon, let's go. We did a wine tasting just outside of San Antonio in Comfort, TX. They had lots of wines, and frankly I couldn't make it through them all. I had spent several days walking around San Antonio and was very tired.

    Hilary- It was great fun. Wine is made all over the U.S. Do you have many wineries in Canada?

  14. Those photos are fantastic -- you're quite the photographer Linda! Hey, did they offer transportation so you didn't have to drive place to place? I'm such a lightweight I would have been drunk after three sips.

    And you would have had to pry me off the resident cat. I miss my cats.

  15. Cardiogirl- Thank you so much. Mostly the camera does the work. About the transportation, there were 13 in our group and we divided up between 3 cars and drove ourselves. This was not a tour from a tour company. We've been tasting wines for quite a few years, so it wasn't a problem, plus you can take a sip and pour the rest out if you need to.

    The cat was great. He would have loved the attention!


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