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!
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!
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!