Williamsburg Winery

Williamsburg is one of the oldest, biggest, and most award-winning wineries in Virginia. Opening in 1988 right outside Colonial Williamsburg, it occupies a huge expanse of tasting rooms and production facilities. It even has its own restaurant on premise – which I happily visited after my tasting for some crab cakes paired with Sauv Blanc. And if that’s not enough, they even have their own hotel. How’s this for ‘all inclusive’?

Because they are so busy it’s advisable to make a reservation in advance. Different tasting options are available, depending on if you’re looking to sample their library wines or not. You can also do a tour which includes an introduction to the history of Virginia wine. During my first visit years ago, this is where I first learned about how Thomas Jefferson is in fact the ‘godfather’ of American wines, and also how American vines saved wine production around the world after the phylloxera bug was accidentally unleashed.

At 40,000 cases a year (40 acres under vine, plus some grapes are brought in from California or Washington state) they are a BIG producer. The wines made from local grapes tend to be light on tannins (for reds) or heavy on the minerals (for whites).

I teamed up with a friend and picked different wines from their ‘standard’ tasting menu…although I think my server snuck in a few extra wines on top of that.

What I tried:

Sauvignon blanc: honeydew taste; went well with a seafood lunch.

Chardonnay (American oak): very light and fresh tasting.

“Midsummer” white: Semi dry, tasting creamy with a butterscotch nose

Governor’s White (Riesling): Washington grapes I think; very nice.

Claret: Nicely balanced red blend.

Petit Verdot: Early, not especially heavy.

Adagio: Excellent (and expensive) red blend, really big mouthfeel.

Gabrielle Archer: Very well balanced red

Moscotto desert wine: Too sweet for me, but not bad.

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