After tasting wine from four different places on our way up to Harrisonburg, VA from Norfolk, VA, I am happy to report that we have changed my dad’s opinion of Virginia wine! :)
(in visiting order)
Grayhaven Winery—We stopped at this place in part because it was fairly close to the highway and we were not disappointed with the scenery. (Although there were a few surprise turns involved.) During our visit we also learned this place hosts the only South African wine festival in the country. And you know that intrigued us. The reds were better than the whites, and we left with a bottle of the Sojourn. Unfortunately, the pinotage wasn’t ready for tasting yet.
King Family Vineyards—This vineyard has an amazing setting including a giant lawn and tables throughout to enjoy a bottle of wine and the sunshine. In fact, when we asked to buy a bottle, the pourer asked if we wanted it ‘for here’ or ‘to go.’ It was fairly crowded but we were taken care of within a few minutes. The first wine we tried was our favorite—Roseland—a blend of viognier and chardonnay. Dad and I liked the whites, in whole, better than the reds here.
Veritas Winery—Eric and I were here three years ago and boy, have things changed in that time. The simple tasting room has been transformed into a cozy living room-type setting with leather couches and an acoustic band. (One song, Ripple, I haven’t heard in years.) Fortunately, the wine is still as good as ever… We left with a case of the Claret (a special of $100/case made this a no-brainer), and a few bottles of the Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, their Vintner’s Reserve red, and the most delicious dessert wine.
Afton Mountain Vineyards—I just finished the last bottle I bought from this place during our previous visit and was looking forward to trying out the newer vintages. We had the entire place to ourselves and pup was even allowed to join us in the tasting room. The young man (what am I, 40?) behind the counter made some good conversation and was able to tell us quite a bit about the wines. It turns out that the bottle I drank recently (an Old Vines Cab 2001) was the last vintage of that varietal since the current 2005 one. Still delicious! We left with a mixed case of the champagne (semi-dry, fruity, and not overly yeasty), Riesling, Pinot Noir (a gift for our hosts in Harrisonburg), and the Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon.