Virginia Tasting Cellar

The last stop of my southern Virginia AVA trip. But this stop wasn’t to a winery – it’s something unique in my Virginia travels.

See, not all Virginia wineries are accessible to the general public. Some have tasting rooms, but are in the far reaches of the state. Others don’t have tasting rooms at all. Many sell the wines via retail, but that takes away the most fun part – tasting the wines before you buy them.

The solution? Have a multi-winery tasting room which incorporates wines from not just southern Virginia but all over the state. It’s actually a common practice in California and Oregon, but seen limited visibility here. It’s sorta like a wine bar, except nearly all the wines are from places you can actually visit.

You pay a $12 fee and get a wristband with 10 pull-off tokens. There were around 9 bars, all showcasing a different winery (plus a cidery and a brewery). You use your tokens in whatever order you want, one token per tasting.

Jamie and Shannon took turns pouring for me as I (literally) wandered from bar to bar. It was late and bottles were open, so instead of stopping at 10 tastings I had some mini-tastings of a few extra places. My notes are unusually thin because I floated from bar to bar so quickly.

I really love the concept. Virginia wineries tend to be centered on agro-tourism, but unless you love driving that’s not feasible for everyone. Visiting a place like this makes it easy to taste a wide selection in one spot.

The diversity of wines and styles was good too. While I ended up with a lot of fruit-forward wines, I did see some dryer, bolder wines at certain stops (hello again, Hunting Creek! Nice to meet you, Rockbridge Meritage!).

The beer and cider were the biggest surprises. Apparently they change the beer options frequently (it was late so I’ll have to try another time). But I did love those ciders on tap.

Hunts Vineyard

  1. Sauvignon Blanc: Light, pear notes
  2. 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon: Light, strawberry notes

Stanburn Vineyard:

  1. Big A Red (Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin): Fruit forward
  2. High Fly (Traminette and Vidal): Soft, almost citrus notes.

Thatch Vineyard (formerly First Colony)

  1. 016 Meritage: Fruit-forward

Thistle GateSt George: Fruity but bold (80% Chambourcin/20% Cab Franc)

Rockbridge:

  • 2014 Dechiel Meritage (58% Cabernet Sauv, plus Merlot and Cab Franc): Very good!
  • 2014 Tuscarola Red (Chambourcin/Cab Franc/DeChanc): Smooth. DeChaunac a  new grape in my travels

Courthouse Creek:

  • Rostico: Very good; bright but dry with only a hint of sweetness
  • Amuse Buche: Different…
  • Endless Summer: Dry apple and some peach notes
  • Easy breeze: Hop-forward
  • Bella Vita: Ginger infused

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