While visiting new wineries was the focus of my last trip, some places are just so good you must visit them again. Villa Appalaccia is one such location.
When I made my first trip here in September 2018, it was at the end of the day and my notes weren’t all that great. This time I called ahead (with the assistance at the great people at Stanburn) and was lucky enough that one of the owners was available for an interview. Needless to say, I scurried over as quickly as I could.
Visiting here is one of the prettiest drives in all of Virginia wine country – and that’s saying something. Villa is right off the Blue Ridge parkway. For those who have never been, you’re missing something special.
Tim and Julie Block took over the winery late last year. Both had long been in the corporate world but wanted to try something new, and realized they wanted a venture they could share with the family. While neither had a background in viticulture, Tim brought with him experience in the restaurant business and both had a love of wine. As new winery owners go, that’s at least as a good of a start as most that I’ve met!
Julie talked to me at length about how both of them fell in love with the local area – especially because of the similarities the Blue Ridge has with Tuscany. The previous owners were definitely inspired by Italy, and incorporated not only Tuscan-style architecture but Italian grapes as well.
Speaking of grapes – some of the varietals grown here can’t be found anywhere else in Virginia. Sure, a few places have Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, or Aglianico. But Vermentino is VERY hard to find, and Villa is the only Virginia winery that I know of that has Corvina, Malvasia, Montepulciano, and Pinotivo. Julie explained many of these are very tough to grow in the local terroir, but in keeping with the Villa’s theme she seemed determined to keep as many Italian varietals as they could. All told they have 11 acres under vine, plus some other vinifera.
As for the styles of wine, all the whites are done in stainless, and the reds a mix of stainless and/or barrel. Even the styles of wine are reminiscent of Italy.
Pinot Grigio: Big mouthfeel, some citrus notes. Lots of character here.
Rosa: A nice, pink colored, prosecco-style Merlot rose.
2016 Sangiovese: Made in the soft Chianti style. Nice complexity, good fruit notes, more blackberry than strawberry notes.
2014 Toscanello: Based on a Super Tuscan, this blend has Cabernet Franc, Aglianico, and Sangiovese. The fruit is noticeable but not overly fruity.
Aglianico Reserve. Very nice! Some bramble fruit.
Raspberry Taxi: Tart by itself, but excellent with chocolate.
Some of the rarer wines were in short supply when I visited, so I suspect I’ll have to arrange a 3rd visit just to try the rest!