Here in Charlottesville, as January starts winding down there are some great tasting activities planned.
Especially exciting is the 2nd Annual Futures Barrel Tasting and Sale this weekend (Jan 30/31 from 11am to 5pm) at Virginia Wineworks.
You’ll be tasting their 2008 reds: Meritage, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc as they age in their oak barrels. Advance purchases will save you $10 to $15 per bottle.
For those of you that prefer to visit the fancy tasting rooms and cozy up in front of the fire with a bottle, this is not for you. But if you are a Virginia Wine Fanatic and want a chance to meet one of our leading winemakers and find out what a “custom crush” winery is all about, this is a must! Both Michael Shaps, winemaker, and Philip Stafford, his partner, will be there to pour for you.
You’ll be walking past the bottling machine and tasting right in the barrel room, as a custom crush winery does not usually have a formal tasting area. This is a winery where smaller vineyards like us and other growers can go to to press our grapes, age them, and get winemaking advice. Besides Michael’s wines I believe there are 7 growers using Virginia Wineworks to make their wine.
For more informations about Virginia Wineworks go to http://www.virginiawineworks.com
Directions: Take Rt 20 south for 12 miles from I 64. Turn right at the grape sign for First Colony Winery (Harris Creek Road). Drive past First Colony and continue into the woods onto a dirt road for about 1/4 mile. Virginia Wineworks is at the end of the road, and the building has the name Montdomaine on it – but you’re in the right place!
It looks like they will also be pouring some new releases: 2008 Michael Shaps Viognier and 2007 Michael Shaps Meritage.
For those of you who have not read about the surprise results of a recent blind wine tasting in DC last August, experts were shocked to find that they had scored Virginia wines higher than some well known and favored French and California wines.
Michael Shaps’ Chardonnay 2007 was ranked as 4th best over all whites with all the judges all figuring it was from Burgundy. His 2007 Cabernet Franc scored fifth best overall for the reds.
You may want to make an afternoon of it by stopping at Feast! or Brix first and purchase a picnic of sandwiches, cheeses, salads, etc. After your barrel tasting at Virginia Wineworks stop and taste at First Colony where you can enjoy your picnic lunch. They have lots of indoor space for lunching comfortably.
On a side note – not so much to do with wine tasting, but if you’re in the Charlottesville area this week – January 25 – 31, it’s our second “Restaurant Week” so you may want to go online and book a dinner reservation as it’s immensely popular and restaurants will be booking up fast. You can see who is participating at this link.
See you in the tasting rooms!