Beliveau is the quintessential place to get away from town to enjoy the view while drinking adult beverages. While only 45 minutes from Roanoke, my GPS signal almost gave up on me as this area is definitely rural, given its location at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re into hiking as well as drinking, this is your place.
I called ahead and was told to meet up with their winemaker, Derek Gassler. Derek gave me the low-down of the vineyard, starting with how they first planted in 2009 and progressively added more after that. He seemed especially proud how as of 2018 they had finally become 100% estate-grown and for the first time were selling fruit – an uncommon feature in Virginia.
At 3-5000 cases/year this is still a small operation; Beliveau’s wines are rare outside the winery itself. Derek said he made their wine in what he called “High Mountain” style – light and low tannin. Their 12 acres of vines were 60%/40% split between hybrids and vinifera, sitting anywhere between 2100-2500 feet. While I’m don’t style myself an expert, this seemed like an especially good place for wine growing.
Wine isn’t the only thing on the menu. Derek wasn’t just a winemaker; he was a brewer. That’s right – Beliveau is about to join a growing trend of hybrid winery/brewery operations. If that’s not enough they are a Bed & Breakfast, plus they do a lot of events. Suffice to say, there’s a lot going on here.
After chatting about the vineyard I made my down to their outside tasting bar where Bob poured my wine. We chatted a bit as I enjoyed the view outside. He seemed just as thrilled as I was that Derek authorized him to open a bottle of their Petit Verdot, which definitely seemed to be on his ‘must drink after work’ list.
What I tried:
2016/2017 Destiny (Vidal): Both were quite nice, with the 2016 being more citrusy.
2017 Afternoon Delight (50/50 Chardonnel/Vidal): Lightly oaked and bright notes.
2015 Mystique (Chardonnay): Unoaked. Nutty and very sharp.
Reflection (Traminette): Floral nose, maybe lemon on my palate?
2017 Crown Jewel: Derek’s current favorite; an off dry Traminette/Vidal blend. Very crisp and clean.
2016 Pristine (Chardonnel): Apple notes; I’m finding I’m really starting to like Chardonnel (including this one) despite my usual apathy towards most hybrids.
Rose: Definite cranberry notes.
2017 Trailblazer (Merlot): Smokey!
2016 A Capallela: Fruit forward but still peppery. It’s a red blend but I suspect it’s Cabernet Franc heavy.
Fireside Chat (Cab Franc): Light and peppery.
2016 Soul Singer (Chambourcin): Cherry forward
Warm Glow (Chambourcin): This couldn’t be more different than the Soul Singer; semi sweet, kinda reminded me of melted chocolate in a good way.
2017 Petit Verdot (with a tad bit of Tempranillo): Outstanding! Just enough pepper to make me happy but not overwhelming.