Glass House Winery

My last visit to Glass House demonstrates to me why I need to revisit wineries more quickly. My previous trip was around 2015, and the tasting I remember the most was their chocolate wine. This time around they had a remarkably diverse array of reds and whites to satisfy any palate, but the oasis-like tasting room was every bit as cute as before.

The place’s name is very suitable. While most wineries go for a ‘rustic barn’ style or perhaps a ‘cute/contemporary’ setup, Glass House is a tropically-themed glass walled tasting room. I promise, you really will think you’re in a botanical garden.

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge about 30 minutes from Charlottesville, Glass House is….somewhat off the beaten path. Fortunately they also have some great neighbors. I visited Hark just up the road, who picked their location based on the great terroir. I presume many of the factors that they decided makes it great for them likely applies here.

The original owners opened Glass House in 2010 but recently sold to a friend, who’s continued the vineyard and styles of wine. They also have a bed & breakfast on site, although I’ve never had the chance to stay there.

The outdoors were nearly as scenic as the indoors. This must have been a popular place at the height of COVID when everyone wanted to be outdoors, since there were tables everywhere along the pond.

Catherine was my server, and I’m not sure which of us was more thrilled to actually be able to chat with a stranger at a winery tasting bar. I mean seriously – it’s been so long! Sit-down flights are OK, but since the crowds had yet to arrive I was able to get the low-down from her on all her wines.

Their winemaker seems to have a thing for steel-fermented whites, and I’m HERE FOR IT. I was also surprised by their different Chambourcin wines, a varietal I’m often meh about but I liked theirs.

But the biggest surprise was their Barbera, an Italian grape rarely seen in Virginia. They even have a “Brose Rosé” made with Barbera, in a not-so-subtle attempt to get dudes to drink more rosé (fortunately I’m confident enough I can drink whatever I like).

My biggest regret though was not trying their chocolate pairing, which are made in-house. I occasionally see places with truffles, but those are almost always outsourced. Had I not had an appointment at another winery I definitely would have stayed for a chocolate-and-wine pairing.

What I tried:

  • 2019 Chardonnay: Made in steel. Lychee notes, but otherwise fresh and clean
  • 2018 Chardonnay: Lighter than the 2018; also made in steel
  • 2019 Chardonnay/Viognier blend (60/40%): I lack specific tasting notes but…very nice! Why can’t we find this combo more often?
  • 2020 “E-Ville” Rosé (Cab Sauv): Good fruit notes; made with Cab from Wolf Gap Vineyard in the Shenandoah
  • 2017 C-Villian (100% Chambourcin): Definitely a fruit-forward Chambourcin
  • 2017 Estratto (another 100% Chambourcin): I can’t find my notes!
  • 2015 Barbera: Sour notes on the nose? Definitely sour cherries on the palate
  • 2017 Audace: Described as an Amarone-style wine, made with Barbera. Dry, but it had a thick, strawberry syrup quality to it.
  • 2019 Cabernet Franc: Good fruit quality, lighter color. Hardly any pepper notes until the very end, and even then it was more white pepper than green pepper.

All in all it was a great visit to a little oasis in wine country. If you’ve been there, tell me your thoughts!

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