Catching up on Virginia wineries I visited over the last year.
Flying Fox Vineyard - literally steps away from Le Bleu Ridge Bed and Breakfast, which I had stayed at the night before. Great hosts and a friendly dog! As for the winery, it was fairly typical Virginia wine. The Cabernet Franc tasted a bit muted and I thought the Trio (blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) was decent. The Viognier was typical Virginia. Overall, fairly average, not bad but not great.
King Family Vineyards - stunning scenery overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. As seems typical of wineries in the Monticello AVA, the whites were very good. The Chardonnay had a touch of oak but not overwhelming and displayed fruit characteristics. The Viognier has the steely acidity and nice floral and tropical fruit notes. The reds were typical and nothing special.
Granite Heights Winery - great venue but disappointing wines. The reds were harsh and flavorless, reminded me of Virginia wines about 10 years ago. The white were also forgettable.
The Winery at Bull Run - unfit for human consumption.
Lazy Days Winery - off to an auspicious start when I pulled into the winery at 12 noon on a beautiful sunny Saturday and I was the only car in the parking lot. This winery is located off busy Rt. 29. The employees were eating lunch at a picnic table and hurried into the tasting room when I arrived. When I looked at the wine list and noticed they were heavy with sweet wines, I knew it wouldn't end well. It didn't.
Afton Mountain Vineyards - another stunning venue with wines to match. The Gewurztraminer was excellent, with a unique nose of rose petals. Interestingly, White Hall Vineyards, a few miles away, had a very similar tasting Gewurzt. The Albarino was also very tasty. I enjoy this grape but have only found a few Virginia wineries that grow it. The reds were typical Virginia. And then I noticed Pinot Noir on the menu. Virginia Pinor Noir?! I had a discussion with the server about how it was even possible to grow this in Virginia and she indicated that certain areas on the mountain have the right climate for PN. It reminded me of some of the cheap, mass market CA Pinot. Not great but certainly drinkable.
Stinson Vineyards - fairly typical reds and whites. I actually enjoyed the Rose and I'm not much of a rose fan. The couple next to me were raving about the Rose. I really liked the 2009 Turk Mountain La Tour d’ Afton, which is a grower's wine they sell. The server poured me a 2010 of the Turk Mountain but I ended up buying the 2009. My server seem very knowledgeable about wine, beyond the superficial knowledge that most servers have. After I got home and perused their website, I realized that she was Rachel Stinson, co-owner with her dad.
Early Mountain Vineyards - bought a few years ago by Steve Case, founder of AOL. Tasting room was very well done and very big. Had an outside area with picnic tables overlooking the vineyards and the mountains. Its a destination; a wedding reception was just starting. You can order wines from other wineries, which certainly makes it unique. I ordered and sat on a nearby couch - they bring you the wines. I opted for the Early Mountain wines (when in Rome...), but wished I picked something else. The wines were flat and harsh, no flavor. If wasn't for the unique experience, I would had been mad I wasted $20.