Can it possibly be any prettier than it was this weekend in Charlottesville?
Everyone has been commenting on the recent surge of red, orange and gold leaves so late in the season. Usually by this time in November the majority of leaves have fallen, backpack blowers are roaring and the wind is blowing. Not this year! Only a hint of a breeze and blue sky made ideal conditions for a perfect hot air balloon flight over the Rivanna Reservoir and rolling acres of spent vineyards.
Chores finished, Saturday afternoon we set off for a country drive to two more wineries (and a promise of homemade chili and live music). Mountfair Winery hosted a special event to announce the release of their 2008 Belated – a velvety smooth blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc,and 10% Petit Verdot. They also just completed the tasting room after a few years under construction. The Barrel Room is a rustic 1400 square foot multi purpose event space with a raised stage for live music supported by soaring pine timbers and accented by 100 stacked wine barrels.
The view from the patio overlooks a gravel road, but just beyond it, rows of grapevines underscore a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was sadly disappointed to find out that my quest for the 2008 Wooloomooloo made with 60% Petit Verdot was for naught! Only 150 cases were produced and between wine club members and a live wine tasting via Twitter it was gone! I’ll know next time. The 2008 Belated was very good with a true jammy taste and only I wish we could have stayed until the chili was ready and the music began. For those who have never ventured further north on Browns Gap Turnpike (810) , it is a scenic drive but turning right on Fox Mountain Road lacks curb appeal and one wonders if they might have made a wrong turn. You haven’t, just keep driving up the road and you’ll find the new tasting room on your right. This is definitely a winery and vintner to keep in mind for the future!
Returning toward Free Union, we took a hard right onto Breakheart Road and encountered a picturesque landscape of vineyards and horse farms. When we first moved to Virginia, White Hall had a fantastic Chardonnay and was soon our favorite winery. One of my fondest memories was a picnic that we shared with my Mom and Dad, my Dad loved Soliterre! Charlottesville.
The White Hall Winery tasting bar was completely surrounded with visitors, and considering how gorgeous the day was, we decided to head home to our firepit in the backyard and have a private wine tasting! White Hall will be there for us to return to another weekend, that’s one of the great advantages to living here in Charlottesville!