Virginia is for Lovers … and is the Birthplace of American Wine, a 4-part series: the birthplace of American wine, day one – wineries, day two – wineries, and day three – cideries. Check back in 2 weeks for the next part! — EH Stafford, Managing Editor
(Part 3 of 4)
Day one was hectic with a jam packed day of wine tasting (refer to Part 2 of the series). Day two, we changed our pace to be a bit more laid back (at least to my standards).
We decided to try something new and stopped at Bodo’s Bagels, but we were not the only ones with that idea. You would have thought we were at Chick-fil-A. Instead we went to another French bakery, MarieBette Café & Bakery. The selection isn’t as diverse as Albermarle Baking Co, but very tasty. We went for quiche and a sweet pastry to share.
Our first winery of Day Two was Barboursville Vineyard, north of Charlottesville. Barboursville has a long history dating back to the 18th Century when the Barbour family acquired the plantation. James Barbour, the second-generation heir, was instrumental in establishing agriculture at the center of Virginia’s economy. In 1970’s, Gianni Zonin (heir to an Italian wine enterprise) acquired the plantation with plans to create a vineyard. It is thought that the work of Gianni Zonin at Barboursville gave birth to the modern-day Monticello AVA.
There are many flight options at Barboursville to taste their award-winning wines. We opted for two 6 wine flights and were able to try most of the wines available. The sparkling wines are imported from Italy (Tenuta il Bosco, a Zonin family owned winery). The Blanc de Blancs, Viognier, Allegrante Rose Nebbiolo and Octagon were stand outs for us. In fact, we ordered a bottle of Blanc de Blancs (SO GOOD!) with a charcuterie board. We are charcuterie snobs, this one is legit! Be warned though, the flights here are the priciest we experienced on this trip.
We had an extra hour before our next appointment, so we received suggestions from the servers at Barboursville. We decided to visit Reynard Florence Vineyard & Winery. This is a family owned winery that yields about 800 cases per year. You can feel and taste the attention to detail and passion the couple has for their estate. We spent about an hour enjoying our tasting and hearing about the winery from Roe and Dee, the owners and winemaker of Reynard Florence, and just fell in love with the winery. The Petit Manseng 2017 and Cabernet Franc 2016 were our favorite wines made from these two Virginia flagship grapes that we tasted the entire trip.
Lunch at Early Mountain
Next, we drove over to Early Mountain for a late lunch and tasting indoors. The facility was gorgeous, inside and out. They were not offering tastings/flights, but they were offering by the glass/bottle. Over the course of lunch, we tried a few of the wines. For food, they offered a nice selection of small plates at a reasonable price. We enjoyed the Panzanella, Peaches and Burrata and Grilled Chimichurri Steak Tacos. YUM!
While all the wines were fantastic, the Madison County Pinot Gris 2018 and Eluvium 2017 were our favorites. The Eluvium may have just been my favorite red of the entire weekend (and most expensive, but well worth the $55 price tag).
Dinner at Bizou Pop-up
For dinner I booked a table at the Bizou Pop-up at Michael Shaps Wineworks Extension (Warehouse in Charlottesville). Since we visited Michael Shaps winery the day before, we knew that we liked the wine and chose a bottle of the L.Scott to enjoy over dinner. For dinner, we ordered a sampler of crostinis, sweet potato gnocchi and the softshell crab sandwich. The crab sandwich was killer! I’d return just for that, and the wine of course.
And that wrapped up Day Two on the Monticello Wine Trail. Wow, still impressed!
To learn more about the Wineries and Cideries we visited, stay tuned for the last part in this series on September 2.
Part 3: Day Two, Wineries
September 2 – Part 4: Day Three, Cideries
Photos courtesy Stephanie Roberts
Stephanie Roberts, WSET® Certified, is passionate about educating people about wine and all its complexities. She believes that through education comes enlightenment and approachability – elevating the wine and food experience. Stephanie offers unique and tailored wine experiences.
Wine education and topic-driven tastings are now available virtually and in-person for private groups. Choose to attend a scheduled class such as the 4-part Wine Education Series or customize a session to your specific interests. Corporate happy hours (virtual for now) are also available. Contact Stephanie directly through FB, IG or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or reserve your spot at a public event through FB (@Corks&Boards) or Eventbrite.