Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day Trip to VA Wine Country

I took another day off from work last week and we had our second day trip out to Virginia Wine Country. I really wish I had thought of doing this sooner because this is seriously the best way to spend a day off work. My goal this time was to get to wineries that we had never been to before. I’m on this ultimate quest to visit every winery in Virginia. This may be a lofty goal but hey, I’m determined.

Our day started out at Keswick Vineyards. This is one of the bigger wineries in VA so I had heard of it before, just never visited. I was not disappointed! Not only were the wines delicious, but the staff was so friendly! They gave us a tour of their wine cellar and even let me take a pic with their recently achieved 2016 Virginia Governer’s Cup. No big.

Must try wines: 2014 Petit Verdot, 2015 Viognier and 2015 Consensus

We realized after tasting at Keswick that we really needed to eat lunch. Fortunately, the staff at Keswick recommended that we visit BBQExchange in Gordonsville. We were headed that way so it worked out perfectly. BBQ Exchange is a little hole in the wall place in this tiny mountain town but let me tell you – we had some SERIOUS true Southern BBQ. They had 6 different sauces on the table for you to try, all made in house. They also had Bacon Dust on each table for your enjoyment. IT DOESN’T GET BETTER PEOPLE. Just go eat here.

Our next stop on the wine trail was Horton Vineyards. I’ve had their wines many times at various festivals but again, had never been to their winery. I’ve enjoyed their wines but I’ll be honest, the tasting room experience there was a bit overwhelming for me. They have over 40 different wines. When you pay for your tasting, they give you a sheet and you have to pick 10 to try. That was enough of a task but even more disappointing was the lack of knowledge the staff on hand seemed to possess. The wines are good, but I think we’ll stay away from their tasting room from now on.

Must try wines: 2013 Stonecastle Blush and 2012 Petit Verdot Private Reserve

Our third stop was to visit Burnley Vineyards – it was a whirlwind of a day! This was one winery that I hadn’t even heard of before so I was excited to try something really new. This winery was a cute little family owned operation. These are definitely my preferred type of vineyards! One thing I loved about Burnley was their love of dogs. I don’t know what it is about wineries and dogs but I’m so glad they tend to go hand in hand. They had quite a few more wines than I had expected and was pleasantly surprised at how good they were! If you like easy drinking, yet flavorful and full wines, this is your place.

Must try wines: Dog Gone Red, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and Peach Fuzz

We had it in us for one last stop during our tour and we sort of stumbled upon (pun intended) Reynard Florence Vineyards. It was not part of our original plan but I am so glad we found this little place. Reynard Florence is another small, family owned operation and they made you feel right at home in their tasting room. Not only was it welcoming, but they boast quite a few award winning wines as well! One of my favorite varietals is Grenace, typically from Spain. I’ve never found it in VA – until this place. I was shocked to see on their list of available wines. We couldn’t taste it because the vintage was pretty small but I bought a bottle anyway. I couldn’t pass up the chance to try a VA Grenache. The other awesome discovery of the day is that a few of their wines are going to be available at my local wine shop – hooray!

Must try wines: 2014 Viognier, 2010 Cabernet Franc and 2013 Recherché

All in all it was a truly fantastic day of wine tasting out in the Shenandoah mountains. Keep an eye out for additional posts soon highlighting my favorite wineries from this trip!

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