Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Really Big Al

Wine Tasting in Charlottesville, Virginia

Posted by Really Big Al, Feb 24, 2017.

Sandra and I needed to head down south to Charlottesville, Virginia this week to attend a Louis Black comic performance at the Paramont Theater.  Louis wasn't playing closer to us in Washington DC like he usually does, so we figured why not go down there and make it a Bed & Breakfast trip with some wine tasting tossed in.  And thus it was to be.

We started off on Wednesday, 22 February 2017, expecting relatively wet weather because there was a lot of rain showing up in the radar forecast.  We arrived with very little rain in the area however, and this trip was actually going to turn out great, with warm weather (high 60's, low 70's) and some clouds but minimal rain.  The show was on Thursday evening, so we arrived in town on the Wednesday with time to visit Barboursville Vineyards before heading to our B&B (The Inn at 400 West High).  We arrived at this first winery and I think we were the only people there to taste wines.  In past years, we were there with at least a hundred people - this place is usually packed.  What a treat to take our time, tasting all the wines, and talking to the staff about the history of the winery.  We bought several bottles, including one each of their special Octagon anniversary wines (all posted after this opening section), and we opened one of the regular Octagon wines to enjoy with meat and cheeses.  Upon arrival at our B&B, we finished that bottle of wine and enjoyed the ambience of the accommodations prior to heading off on a short walk to our first dinner in Charlottesville.  I'll continue the story in subsequent postings as long as people are interested.

Replies

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Reply by amour, Feb 24, 2017.

Now.... now,  REALLY BIG AL....you need to be writing A BOOK.....Promise amour, that you will save all of theses photos and posts and combine!

I can assist you with editing for FREE...no, for a bottle of we wine only!!!!

I really enjoyed this, thus far!  Regards to Sandra, from all of us on SNOOTH!

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Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 25, 2017.

Ok, how about some pictures from our first dinner in Charlottesville on Wednesday night?  We walked over to Public Fish & Oysters in Charlottesville.  Starting with a plate of oysters on the half-shell, we proceeded with a shared salad and bread plate, then Sandra had some sort of cooked oysters wrapped in bacon, while I enjoyed the jumbo shrimp.  Oh, there was a bottle of champagne (Francois Montand Blanc de Blancs).  Sandra had a few more oysters on the half-shell for dessert and I had glass of Larceny Rye Whisky.  I don't even remember if I liked it, but I probably did.  :-)

We managed to find our way back to the B&B and I enjoyed some hot water in the over-sized rainfall shower.

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 25, 2017.

My next posting will cover wine tasting the next day.....

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Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 26, 2017.

Oh, I moved the pictures from the first day winery (Barboursville) down here so the introduction wasn't so long.  Lessons Learned and such.

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Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 26, 2017.

The second day (Thursday) was to be full of fun and excitement.  We did wine tastings at three wineries (Keswick Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards and then First Colony Winery) and then sat down for a wine dinner (Tastings of Charlottesville) before walking over to the Louis Black performance at the Paramont Theater in Charlottesville.  Lots of pictures to show, so we'll start with Keswick Vineyards - probably our least favorite wines of this trip but they were still drinkable.  We bought two bottles here, the Chardonnay and the Cabernet Franc.  The Cabernet Sauvignon was nothing to write home about.

Oh, breakfast at our Bed & Breakfast Inn was very tasty and a good way to start off the day.  The place is near a corner with lots of road noise though.  I was awoken a few times by traffic during the night.  A nice hot shower makes up for these little things.  It was also good to get away from the daily fails of the current administration in Washington DC.  

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Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 26, 2017.

Next up was Jefferson Vineyards, a winery where the Meritage was pretty decent.  We bought three bottles of Meritage here I do believe.  There was a cute kitten cat out front that rolled around for us, so we knew the wine was going to be good.

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Reply by amour, Feb 26, 2017.

L O V E L Y    REALLY BIG AL!
On behalf of all on SNOOTH......THANKS FOR SHARING!

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Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 26, 2017.

Last winery of the first full day in Charlottesville.  The First Colony Winery looked interesting because they have a cat there called Fritz - and he has his own Facebook page!  Unfortunately for us, Fritz was nowhere to be found.  I walked around the building a few times looking for him.  There was some roof repairs going on, so he probably went off into the nearby woods to avoid all the noise and such.  I bet he is a smart kitty cat.  

So these wines were fine, but we elected to only buy one bottle of their 2014 Meritage.  At this point we already had a case of wine from the wineries we had already visited.  The grounds were nice and we did enjoy a full glass along with some charcuterie.  

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Reply by EMark, Mar 1, 2017.

Fritz the Cat?????????

I'm guessing it wasn't THE Fritz the Cat.

 

Entertaining report, Al.  However, have you ever seen this VA wine?

 

I had breakfast in a coffee shop in Torrance this morning--Black Bear Diner.  This is a chain that, I'm pretty sure started up in Northern California. So, some of our N. California contributors may be familiar with it.  I happen to like their Corned Beef Hash.

The decor is anything that has a bear on it.  So, the above picture is of a framed lablel of Three Bears American Red Grape WIne bottled by the Chelsea Wine Co. of Petersburg, VA.

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Reply by Really Big Al, Mar 1, 2017.

EM - Nope, I've never heard of that 'Three Bears' label.  I wonder what 'extra rich' means in terms of a wine?  I have heard of Torrance CA though, as I used to live there.  I attended South High School in Torrance, and prior to that it was Redondo Beach Union High School (one year there before we relocated to a house after coming out from the east coast with my family).  Of course, I haven't heard of the Black Bear Diner either.  Times change.

Fritz the Cat is a name of an animated movie that was just terrible.  I saw it as a teenager and it was full of swearing and foul language.  I don't know why the cat at the winery was named Fritz, but Fritz Cat is their official Facebook page.  

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Mar 1, 2017.

Now, on to our dinner at Tastings of Charlottesville, with Bill Curtis providing us his personal service.   We walked over to the place, which was close to the Paramont Theater (you see Sandra's backside below as we approach the theater on the way to dinner), and upon entering, we saw that this place is indeed the best restaurant for wine lovers in Charlottesville.  There were wines from CA, Italy and other good locations, but I thought most bottles were French wine.  

We ordered a nice red Burgundy for Sandra, and Bill put together a flight of nice red Burgundy wines for me.  The four individual bottles below are the ones we enjoyed.  The menu on the chalkboard changed as we started to place our order, because they still had the lunch prices up (in red); the green chalk reflected the change to the dinner menu.  Sandra had a plate of mushrooms and I ordered the beef tenderloin.  An exquisite meal.  

We walked over to the theater and Louis Black was great.  Prior to the start, two people sat down in the row in front of us, to our left.  They were at that wine party our neighbor held in early February that I missed due to me getting sick!  They recognized us (I was there briefly until I had walked home, but Sandra stayed for 6 hours) and we laughed about how funny it was to meet them again down here in Charlottesville.  Anyway, the show went for more than 2.5 hours and we laughed so hard.  A short walk home afterwards and we were ready for bed to end a wonderful Thursday.

More soon, to address wine tasting on the Friday coming back home to Springfield, VA.

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Mar 4, 2017.

On the Friday (24 Feb 2017) we returned to our home in Northern Virginia, we stopped at two wineries to do tastings.  First stop was the King Family Vineyards, which is to the east of Charlottesville, Virginia.  As with many of the Virginia wineries, they win some medals and it's our practice to see which wineries won the current 'Governor's Cup' competition when we are planning our wine tasting trips.  These wines were fine but nothing stood out as exceptional.  They did however, recommend that we visit the Gabriele Rausse Winery (due to our love of Cabernet Sauvignon), which of course meant back-tracking to Charlottesville.  

So this Gabriele Rausse Winery was interesting. although we were just in the tasting room.  I'm not sure where exactly the wine making operation was but I suspect it was nearby.  The guy who started this winery is one of the grandfathers of wine production in modern Virginia.  The wines were very good and the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was worth the trip (we bought a few bottles).  I would recommend this tasting room to our friends.

You can see we picked up several wines on this trip - 21 bottles to be exact.  Good times. 

 

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Reply by rckr1951, Mar 4, 2017.

Any favorites to report out of all those wines.  Excellent picto review of the days spent.


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