Can’t afford to go to Napa? Well, you’re in good company ‘cause neither can we. However, Nathan and I are here to tell you that there are other options for East Coast wine enthusiasts! We took a quick vacation down to south west Virginia to visit some of wineries in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sometimes it’s more fun to explore what’s in your own backyard than to travel across the country (or ocean) to get away and have an adventure.
Here’s where we went (and what we bought!):
Chateau Morrisette – 2007 Chardonnay
This was the largest and most established winery that we visited. There was a large tasting room, gift shop, and wine making area, along with a restaurant. Oh, and I hope that you like dogs because that is all their branding consists of.
Valhalla – 2004 Valkyrie
Valhalla sat on top of a mountain that overlooked the entire Roanoke Valley. It had a spectacular view and a nice stone building for tasting. We asked to buy a bottle of their Merlot and when we got back we found that they had given us the Valkyrie instead! Oh well…at least it was our second favorite.
AmRhein – Saffire
I’m still a little bitter about this one… we drove 45 minutes to get to AmRhein and when we got there I realized I had left my ID behind! I had to sit and watch as Nathan and his Mom tasted the wine… Of course, just to rub it in Nathan said it was the best wine he had ever tasted. We shall see when we open up the bottle of Saffire that we got.
Villa Appalaccia – Rustico Reserve
This winery was our favorite setting. The tasting house is built to look like a Tuscan Villa with surrounding gardens. It even had a bocce court that you could play on while drinking some wine! Alas, we visited on a day that was chilly and rainy so no bocce for us (that just means we sat around and drank more wine instead).
Blacksnake Meadery – Squashed (Honey Squash Spiced Wine)
Talk about ‘out of the way’! This meadery was definitely on the back roads of south west Virginia. This place is run by a couple that lives part time in Roanoke and part time out in the middle of nowhere. They run the meadery out of their ‘country home’ and tend to the bees that produce the honey for the mead.
Foggy Ridge Hard Cider – Sweet Stayman
A nice little place also out in the middle of nowhere but with a surprisingly modern little tasting and brewing house.
Stay tuned to see what we pair with each of these picks!
Go to http://www.virginiawine.org for a complete list VA wineries.
Any suggestions on other wineries or breweries that you would recommend? Please share!