Stone Mountain masqueraded as “Snow Mountain” on October 29th & 30th for the 12th Annual Stone Mountain Vineyards Open House. “Bacon Holloween” at Stone Mountain Vineyards drew a nice crowd of leaf peepers, snow seekers and wine sippers. The winery is situated on the side of the mountain above Bacon Hollow, an area known long ago for moonshine and revenue agents. Last Saturday brought an unusual dusting of the white stuff adding a sugar-coating on pumpkin and scarlet colored leaves. Visitors enjoyed private tours of the wine cave and sampling directly from the barrel with winemaker Chris Breiner and tour guide, Brian Taylor. Vertical tastings were also available. We found Gabrielle Rausse pouring tastings of his own wines at a separate bar. Surprised to see Gabrielle, I inquired about the reason for his presence. Winking, he explained that he considers himself Chris Breiner’s life coach. In fact, he does coach Chris on winemaking and in return, periodically showcases some of his own signature labeled wines at Stone Mountain.
Wine on Tap
A new venture for the owners is serving wine on tap. Stone Mountain Vineyards wines are featured on tap, yes, on tap at Aida Bistro Wine Bar in Columbia, Maryland. Aida installed a new Wine on Tap System with 20 Wines on Tap. Based on customer acceptance and demand, they are increasing it to 30 Wines on Tap by Fall 2011. Their Wine on Tap System is the largest in Maryland and second largest in the U.S! They feature Stone Mountain 2010 Pinot Grigio, 2010 Chardonnay and 2008 Cabernet Franc and Aidatage. Aidatage is a special blend the staff created at the winery with
their 2009 Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvigon and Petit Verdot. According to Chris, the
staff had a lot of fun creating the Aidatage and in turn presenting it to
their customers. I wish I had tasted that one. My husband and I have brought friends to Stone Mountain Vineyards numerous times and after a little apprehension about the drive up, they conclude it is well worth the trip. With the vineyards sloping just below the back deck they have found the Autumn views unrivaled by any of the other wineries in our area. Sited at a 1700 foot elevation, the vantage point provides expansive views of Greene County and Northern Albemarle County.
On this particular visit we selected a bottle of Chardonnay rather than going through a complete tasting. It was an ideal afternoon for relaxing on the deck and taking in the scenery, albeit a bit chilly. Later, we joined a small group for the barrel tasting guided Brian Taylor. We sampled 3 Cabernet Francs, 2007, 2008, 2009 and one Chardonnay from the barrels. The 2008 was my favorite and given some more time, should be excellent!
The 2008 Chardonnay was delightful, with ripe green apple flavors aged in 100% stainless steel for a full but crisp mouth feel. I particularly liked the die-cut label with the Blue Ridge Mountains cresting the top. If you have friends who haven’t developed a taste for wine, the Maquillage (Make-up in French) has 3% residual sugar and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay. Fruity, it pairs well with cheeses and lightly spiced dishes. Naming wines can be quite fun and a few give a humorous nod to the history of the “hollows” of Greene County, especially the Bacon Hollow Revenuers Select.
Stone Mountain’s log cabin style winery hugs the mountainside below a tumble of large rocks, hence the name. The natural heart pine wood tasting room is spacious, rustic and cozy. I had so many pictures that I’ll close with a mini gallery of scenes to entice you up the mountain. Part of the fun of Stone Mountain is the approach, passing streets like Mutton Hollow, Bacon Hollow, Brokenback Mountain and finally arriving at Wyatt Mountain Road. Another tidbit- the tasting glasses for collectors have the logo for Stone Mountain and on the back, the Chinese Year, this one being the year of the rabbit. Helpful hint: Drive slowly up the mountain and stay right, it is only one lane and after rains can be quite bumpy. Still, it’s worth the effort. Definitely have a DD for the ride back down!
Climb the Mountain, see how a positive change in altitude,
brings a positive change in attitude..
Winery Hours: Open March 9 thru December 18, 2011 – Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays and Federal Holiday Mondays 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Closed Easter Sunday).
From Charlottesville area (approx. 30 minutes)
- Take 29 North to Ruckersville, VA.
- Take Route 33 West to Stanardsville
- Turn left onto Route 810 (Dyke Road) to Dyke, VA. (Intersection Route 810 & 627 – Bacon Hollow Rd.) Turn right onto Route 627 (Bacon Hollow Rd.) and proceed 3.6 miles
- Turn left onto Route 632 (Wyatt Mountain Road – gravel road)
- Proceed up mountain 2 miles to entrance of Stone Mountain Vineyards (Left hand side of the road).