A Double Gold Afternoon at Jefferson Vineyards


Sunday Drive

Family outings with our son Brian and his  bride to be,  Carolina, are the best!  Always game for scoping out a new winery, we headed in the direction of Kluge Winery to pick up more of the 2007  Albemarle Simply Red.  The sun had  just peeked out after a rather gloomy Sunday morning and we were ripe to enjoy a little fresh April breeze and warm sunshine.  In a recent church sermon, ( it was Sunday after all!) we learned that direction not intention determines our destination!  Cruising down 53 past historic Monticello,  Jefferson Vineyards appeared ahead on our right and with that,  our destination  veered to the Jefferson Tasting Room!  Side note, we did make it to Kluge eventually and a quick stop at Blenheim as well.

We were quite familiar with  Jefferson wines but always held the notion that this particular winery was a bit  more of a tourist trap then a local attraction.  Nice to be  proven wrong,  it turned out to be a very pleasant experience and in retrospect are glad we hijacked ourselves off  our original route. If you’ve read any other posts you’ll notice I’m a bit spontaneous when it comes to winery visits.

To the right side of the parking area are old wine barrels  for sale to recycle rainwater, cool idea!  Add that want to Honey! I want a Vineyard!  Next to the rain barrels were even larger wine barrels.  Brian, anticipating his upcoming wedding festivities was attracted to the super sized wine barrels and attempted a pre-tasting!  Not really!  He hammed it up for the camera!

Jefferson Vineyards

A shaded deck is positioned just in front of the door to the tasting room. Lacks a little in curb appeal but  a  nice area to sit outside;  I think the best views are from the meadow facing the mountains and  that site could  be capitalized on  more.  They have placed a few Adirondack chairs with small tables to rest your wine bottle and glasses.  Nice touch!  I would recommend tightening the bolts a little or sturdier furniture, they’re  a bit light weight compared to other chairs of similar style.  All it takes is a bigger budget! or maybe a smaller…!  A lovely flagstone patio would be nice and visible from the scenic highway, beckoning to the multitude of tourists who visit Monticello and Ashlawn daily.

Invited inside by a couple of engaging  tasting hosts, forgive me I can’t recall the gentemen’s names, we embarked on tasting award-winning wines envisioned long ago by Thomas Jefferson.  Several visitors passed through during our tasting.  They were given directions, information and local trivia by the hosts.  We enjoyed their personal stories about  the wines and their favorite food  pairings. Such hospitality,  Another nice touch!

The Tasting

Tastings are $10,  slightly higher than most of the local wineries but includes a Riedel wine glass. Nicest touch of all!!  I’ve been in wineries in the Willamette Valley that offer the same style of Riedel glassware, each engraved with their logo.  A classic idea which enhances  the overall experience of the quality, color and especially the bouquet of the vintage.   Coincidentally, we were consulted about offering engraved glasses at Jefferson.  Of course, we thought it an excellent idea as a keepsake.  I use my souvenir glasses for sipping by the firepit, no tears if the glass doesn’t return to the cabinet!  In this case, the glass stays indoors.   We first tasted the whites, then reds and finished with the semi dry whites,  the Vin Blanc was Carolina’s favorite ( as marked on the tasting notes)!  Carolina draws hearts and stars (which fit her personality) on her tasting notes and Brian draws emotional  faces and caricatures on his (fitting his personality!) .

     Carolina Loved This-See the Heart!

Top of our list was the 2010 Pinot Gris crisp, bright and floral like the afternoon weather.  Our favorite reds were the Petit Verdot 2009 tasting of spice and tobacco and definitely, the Meritage 2008  Gold Medal Winner of the 2010 San Diego International Wine Competition.  The memorable and unique Malvaxian wine wasn’t available for tasting  (I love that bottle design) which is an excellent addition to any wine collection!   We selected the Pinot Gris, a Double Gold Medal winner,  to toast our side trip.  Taking our bottle to the meadow, we relaxed in the Adirondack chairs  savouring  excellent wine,  picture postcard views and sharing it with a lovely young couple very much in love.

 A Double Gold Day in The Monticello Trail Wine Country!                       

Cheers and a Clink to Carolina and Brian in 2011 and another Clink to Thomas Jefferson-Happy Belated Birthday!

PVCC Viticulture/Enology Snapshots

A Class That Is Not Over the Hill!
Rausse and Class
Church at Kluge Estate

Nip/Tuck: Grapevine Surgeons, Rausse and Hill


Gabrielle Rausse

 Gabrielle Rausse and Chris Hill, a tag team extraordinaire, taught our  Dormant Vine Pruning class Saturday  at Piedmont Virginia Community College.  Both are experts in the field of viticulture with decades of experience between them. Even though their theories sometimes differed as did their teaching style, their mutual admiration was palpable. They discussed the pros and cons of irrigation and whether to allow the roots to strengthen by reaching  deep into the soil for hydration.  Chris was personable,  very straight forward and hands on, while Gabrielle lapsed into stories of his personal experiences that literally had us rolling!

 I think there is a potential book here, perhaps  Gabrielleisms: Wine and Wisdom by Gabrielle Rausse!…or Gabrielle Walks the Vine!  …but I get to write it!  Listen to Gabrielle explain about growing the best grapes and making wine in Virginia.  It sounds a little quiet in the beginning, but listen carefully to the end; he tells an interesting story about a winemaker at Afton Mountain Vineyards and her excellent results!

In this video clip, Chris demonstrates “vigor” in a grapevine starting from a tiny green shoot!

Grapes are  only produced on one year old wood and pruned leaving two to three buds.  We were introduced to cane pruning and spur pruning, single trunk and two trunks, cordons and buds.

We had an incredibly beautiful day in Virginia, starting off a bit windy and brisk. We walked through vineyards on the Kluge Estate, partly owned by two different banks and marked by pink ribbons.  Sections had been neglected and we were able to see first hand how mismanaged vines look. Poor vines!

Nodes, shoots, spurs and canes were the topics of the day. Loppers and bypass-pruners in hand, we all had an opportunity to put our new limited  knowledge to the test on vines intended for sparkling wine.  Chris and Gabrielle critiqued our work and corrected our mistakes. We were taught about uniformity and different ways of training the vines. All in all, an excellent class!  We learned quickly and did a little pruning at Blenheim Vineyards as well.  Of course, the finale was wine tasting at Blenheim poured by Gabrielle’s son Peter. Finally,  a quick stop at Kluge for a case of Albemarle Simply Red to round out a perfect day!

Baskets with a Vintage Touch!

The Virginia Shop at Barracks Rd.

Unfortunately for us UVA football fans, the 2nd of October,  2010 was not the best weekend!  However,  it was an excellent weekend for The Virginia Shop at Barracks Road.  Florida State and UVA  fans were looking for  gifts that reflect the local flavor, whether it was Jeffersonian, Southern hospitality or even more popular, Virginia wines. I happened to be in the shop and was ever so pleasantly greeted  by Elizabeth Carras,a  part-time employee (you would never know she wasn’t the proprietor with her hands on attention!) offering a tasting of two wines from Lovingston Winery, cleverly named WaHoo White and Rotunda Red!  The WaHoo White consists of 57% Sauvignon Blanc, 36% Chardonnay, and 7% Petit Manseng.  The Rotunda Red embodies the family motto, “We bleed orange and blue, but we drink red,” this wine is a nod to their  family’s two generations of UVA alums. and is a  blend of 57% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 13% Petit Verdot. I really enjoyed it with the cheese straws!

Happy Halloween Party Wines!

The Virginia Shop was so busy, I decided to return the following afternoon for more shopping and information about their gift baskets. As I walked in, Tiffany Smith, Co Manager of the shop was assembling a gift basket for a local couple to give a friend in Northern Virginia. She explained that they do an extensive number of gift bags and baskets for weddings and events and will include items from the store as well as added off-site items.

Virginia Gift Basket

They have UPS shipping and free local delivery within an approximately 10 mile radius are just two of the reasons to do your souvenir gift shopping here!

Don’t miss Boutique Week October 15th through the 22nd! There will be food and wine tasting all week-long plus a featured discount item daily. A great opportunity to sample some of Virginia’s finest foods and wines!

The Virginia Shop is also the  home of The Virginia Wine of the Month Club. In the store they have a very nice selection of  wines from our local wineries including  Keswick,  Veritas Jefferson, Del FossePollakCardinal PointWhite Hall KlugeLovingstonPrince Michel and Stone Mountain!


Our local Virginia Shop is not a franchise and they work hard to take care of you however large or small your order. They also offer corporate discounts for your holiday giving!

Subscribe to Cville Uncorked and mention this blog and you will receive a 20 % Discount on wine in the month of October!

Happy Fall Everyone!

You can follow them on Twitter @thevashop

Monticello Wine Festival

Tonight on the West Lawn at Monticello!  The Monticello Wine Festival is an opportunity to  sample some of the best wines in our area in a historic setting.  The weather is fabulous today and everyone should have a great time, not sure if tickets are still available at this time, but for  future events, check out the Monticello Wine Trail!  One of my favorites will be represented, Pollak!  Try their Cabernet Franc!Cabernet Franc 2007 Reserve was recognized with gold at the Grand Harvest Awards sponsored by the Vineyard and Management magazine while the 2008 vintage received gold at the Virginia State Fair.

Kluge EstateVeritasKeswickWhitehallJefferson,Afton MountainGabriele Rausse and King Family wines will all be available!  Enjoy, I can’t make it but guaranteed I will be there next year! Look for future posts about EACH of these wineries and tips about making the most of your visit to them.