Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Charlottesville Vineyards - An Overview

I reviewed the activities of this past weekend and noted that I visited seven vineyards and Monticello between 7:30AM Saturday morning and 1PM Sunday afternoon.

I had no ideas that we had fulfilled such an aggressive schedule.
Grapes Ripening at Prince Michel Vineyards

The wineries were:

Prince Michel
King Family
White Hall

Drinkable wines were found at each of the vineyards and were I especially impressed by my first ever visit to White Hall Vineyard. Stinson Vineyard was another winery I visited for the first time as well.

Wine is a great hobby. And it is a hobby that is easily enjoyed with friends and family. It can be contagious and there is something for everyone.

I still have this irrational idea that I want to write a guide to the vineyards of the Monticello wine making region. I seem to visit a lot of the wineries and enjoy meeting the owners and wine makers and discussing the grapes and the wines.

Do I have my favorites? Certainly. But my favorites can vary significantly from someone else. I prefer nice, complex red wines--but many of the vineyards are producing exceptional white wines, which I also appreciate.

The 30 wineries and vineyards which comprise the Monticello Appellation of Virginia are divided into trails. Prince Michel is considered to be one of the Northern Gateway vineyards. King Family, White Hall, and Stinson are part of the Northern Trail along with a few other wineries. Keswick and Barboursville are part of the Eastern Trail while Jefferson is part of the Southern Trail. In my mind, it is possible to comfortable visit all of the wineries on one trail in a day.

I never seem to do anything the easy way however. I like to jump around during the limited time that I have to ensure that I visit my favorites--which of course are not all on the same trail.

It it just fun to get out and see the "wine on the vine" and realize that the vineyards are not just growing grapes--they are in the business of producing wines. And tasting the end result of the growing and the wine making is often like experiencing a piece of art.

Each winemaker places their own personal stamp on the wines and that is the great fun of visiting multiple wineries--to find winemakers who produce wines that I enjoy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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