North Mountain Vineyard

My second stop of the day. North Mountain is one of the older vineyards in Virginia, founded in 1982 by a couple who loved Germany so much they built a German themed winery. I’d been there a bunch of times, especially because this is one of the few places that my dry and sweet-wine drinking friends could equally agree was a hit.

The tasting room looks like a Bavarian inn, but the similarities don’t stop there. This is one of the few places in Virginia that grows Austrian/German-style grapes, including Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt. They even have a yearly Octoberfest-themed event to top the theme off.

15 acres are planted, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and several hybrids. Situated right between two close mountain ranges in the Shenandoah Valley, it’s also in one of the best grape-growing regions in the state due to its low rainfall and high elevation. I’ve long been an advocate for Shenandoah wines; I just wish they were closer!

The winery is currently up for sale for $2 million – for those willing to become full-fledged farmers. I admire the dedication of those who can make that commitment. But personally, I’d rather just drink wine than make it.

2017 Zweigelt Rose: North Mountain is the only grower of this grape in Virginia. A cross between Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent (itself a child of Pinot Noir), it’s a soft-tannin red that grows well in cool climates.

2016 Vidal Blanc: Strong lemon notes.

2017 Grüner Veltliner: Another rarity in Virginia. Full bodied for a white; you might call this a white wine for red drinkers. White peppercorn and lemon notes.

2017 Zweigelt: Pink-orange in color, dry. Cranberry notes.

2017 Sonnenburg (Cabernet Sauvignon): Bright, almost sweet for a red.

2017 Cabernet Franc: Fruit forward.

Tom’s Brook (75% Chambourcin/25% Cab Sauv): Very fruity!

Spice Apple Wine: I’m a sucker for apple wine, and I especially liked this one. It reminded me of mulled cider with all spice notes.

Not tried this trip were the Petit Verdot, Riesling, or Mountain Midnight (a sweet, high alcohol Chambourcin that my sweet-wine loving friends loved).

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