Since my vacation time this past summer was minimal, we traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia a few weeks ago for a short getaway. With four days planned, we were confident that the area would give us a mix of history, scenery, locals, and wine. Meanwhile, a former work colleague seemed perplexed when I said wine.
I have another friend, the Wine Pundit, (not the same person as the Political Pundit and the Baseball Pundit), who travels to Virginia for wine several times per year. Through his boasting about the Virginia wine region, he once said to me, “Virginia wines are every bit as good as anything I’ve tasted from California.” The statement can also serve as a clue why he has earned the Wine Pundit title.
We visited eight wineries in the Monticello AVA over the four days: Afton Mountain, Barboursville, Jefferson, King Family, Kluge, Norton, Pollak, and Veritas – thus I deliver the following conclusions.
- Virginia wines are very respectable as the winemakers are doing the best with what they have.
- Many of these wineries have outstanding grounds to sit and enjoy the wine and your company.
- Virginians do an outstanding job of supporting the Virginia wine industry.
- Virginia wines are very pleasant and flavorful – hence the skill of the winemaker.
- If you are one favoring big, robust wines, Virginia may not be your place because most of their wines are light to medium body. Do not expect a Virginia cabernet sauvignon to carry the same body as one from California. You will find a few blends that carry the full-body taste, but you will pay at least $30, if not more.
- All but one of the wineries we visited had a $5 tasting fee.
Virginia has over 140 wineries throughout the state, plus a winemaking history dating back to Revolutionary War times. Today, European winemakers and wineries are venturing into the Virginia wine market. I was pleased with what I discovered and appreciated the Wine Pundit’s suggestion of wineries – although I still shake my head at his statement.
Here’s a web site about Virginia wines and the video below provides an excellent overview of the region.