An upcoming wedding in Charlottesville has my husband and me reminiscing about one of our favorite anniversary trips. We make it a point to go away for one night to celebrate our wedding anniversary. On our 3rd anniversary we decided that Charlottesville was the perfect destination. Beautiful farmland, history and amazing wineries. Generally our three credentials for a trip. Once we booked our room at the Boar’s Head Inn, planning the visits to the wineries was the most fun!
Charlottesville has no shortage of wineries. They’re everywhere, some even across the street from each other. We pulled up a map of our route to the Boar’s Head and picked a few wineries for the first day and then a few for the drive back home.
On the first day we decided to visit 3 wineries. The first winery we decided to visit was Trump winery. Yes, THAT Trump, but let me explain. This was a few years ago before this circus of an election started. Trump winery used to be Kluge Winery until Donald Trump bought it. Not too much has changed. We thought the tasting room would be this big impressive room with gold everywhere that would just scream, “Trump owns this”. It was surprisingly small, but very elegant and tasteful. Better than some tasting rooms we have visited. The tasting was well done and the gentleman pouring our wines was a hoot. The wines were solid. Their Viognier was fantastic and the bubbly is wonderful. $12 tasting fee. Side note: The Donald actually doesn’t have too much to do with this winery. His son Eric actually runs the place. Politics aside, the wines are good and worth trying.
After visiting Trump Winery, we drove across the street to Blenheim Vineyard, Dave Matthews’ winery. I grew up with a big sister who loved Dave Matthews Band which meant I loved Dave too! I stole tapes (TAPES for crying out loud!!!!) and CDs from her often. My love for DMB started at a young age thanks to my sister. The winery has a lot of character. You walk in and look down through glass floors to the barrel room. The wine tasting was as laid back as a Dave concert and the lovely lady pouring wine for us appeared very relaxed which is fitting considering that is the Dave Matthews vibe. The view while tasting is gorgeous and the wine was quite tasty. Wonderful Chardonnay and a Viognier that is perfect for summer sipping. The Petit Verdot was great and a true example of Virginia Petit Verdot. The wines are easy drinker and there is something for everyone. Going to this winery is going to make you want to sip wine outside and listen to Dave. Wine and Dave Matthews, a perfect combo! Tasting fee $6.
Our final winery for the day was King Family Vineyards. This was the favorite stop of the day. The view alone was breathtaking. Rolling hills, horses roaming and wonderful wines. We tasted some wines and then decided to each get a glass and sit outside on the patio and take in the beautiful fall scenery. I had the Chardonnay and my husband had the Cabernet Franc. He loves Virginia Cab Franc and King Family makes a fantastic one. Both wines were incredible and done in the classic style. We didn’t taste one wine we didn’t like. Go for the scenery and the fantastic wines! Tasting fee $10.
The first day was very successful. We had a great selection of wines and were not disappointed at all. The second day we were going to go to two wineries on the way home, but ended up squeezing in an extra winery. We started our day at Pollak Vineyards. Let me just say that I am very particular about the appearance of a winery and especially the tasting room. I like curb appeal and tasting wine in a room that has character. It really does make the experience that much more enjoyable. Immediately pulling up to this winery I was turned off and didn’t want to even walk in. The building was not impressive and looked very modern (clearly I am a rustic classic fan). Walking into the tasting room I felt as if I was walking into a big open room where they just decided to not really do anything with the interior. High ceilings, off white leather sofas, nothing on the wall. It lacked character and was bare. Once I tasted the wine I forgot how much I disliked the appearance of the tasting room. The wines were phenomenal and my favorite of the weekend. It didn’t hurt that the gentleman pouring was a huge Redskins fan and we talked football in between tasting wines. We left with 2 bottles. The Viognier and the Pinot Gris. I couldn’t stop talking about the place once we left. The saying “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover” really applied here! Highly recommend! Tasting fee $10.
Next on the Brooks wine tour, Barboursville Vineyards. This was a winery we had wanted to visit for quite a while. For one, you get a lot of bang for your buck – we tasted 20 wines for $7. The fee is always $7 for available vintages. The tasting room is a Tuscan style and the view is to die for. The whole place is filled with rich history. You can actually take a glass of wine and walk the property (it is pretty big) and visit the ruins of the Governor Barbour house, which Thomas Jefferson designed. Now, tasting 20 wines can be intense and I don’t often (ever) pour out wine (except for that one time in upstate New York), but you can skip over what you may not like. I am not a big sweet wine fan, so I skipped a few. They have one large tasting bar split into sections. Whites, reds and sweet wines. They also do not get offended if you pour the wine out. The Chardonnay was fabulous as was the bubbly. We got a glass of Chardonnay (bought a bottle too) and sat out on the deck area and took in the gorgeous view. A must visit!
We were planning on heading home, but we noticed that Horton Vineyard was across the street. What the heck, we decided to go check it out. The vineyard is styled as an old country mansion. We walked in and both of us immediately looked at each other. Lee whispered in my ear ” there is church carpet everywhere!” There was carpet everywhere and the tasting room was just kind of blah. It looked like we would be tasting alone today as there was no one in there. We walked up to the counter and were greeted by a very jovial lady. She handed us a tasting sheet and told us each to pick 6 wines out of the many they had listed. I looked at the list and cringed a bit. Gah, fruit wine! I cannot stand fruit wine. I am not a wine snob at all, but I don’t like fruit and I really don’t like fruit wine. I have to say I have never had a hard time checking off wines to taste. But good lord, this was a tough one. I managed to pick 6, as did my husband. We started tasting the wines and they were OK. Nothing jumped out, nothing screamed “buy me”. We did chat with the tasting room lady about cats. Turns out she had about 15. We didn’t end up buying any wines, but we sure did enjoy hearing about this woman’s cats!
This was by far our favorite anniversary trip. The wineries, the scenery, the Boar’s Head Inn and the wonderful history that surrounded us. We cannot wait to make the trip again in a week. I will make sure to update any new wineries that we visit on our weekend adventure!