Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Colony Winery: August 20, 2011 (part 3 of 3)

After our quick trip to Jefferson we intended to head north to Keswick, unfortunately their tasting room closes at 5 and it was already after 4, realizing it was several winding roads to get there we quickly checked our maps for close vineyards and found First Colony Winery. I'd never heard of First Colony before but we made our way down the winding dirt road to find it backed right into the woods. It was very quiet there, only one other group was tasting when we got there. For $5 we sampled 8 wines, my favorites being the 2008 Merlot and the 2009 Chardonnay Reserve. Not sure what it is, but Charlottesville soil must do great things to those grapes as they were consistently my favorite wines and they are most typically my least favorites elsewhere.  They also carried some sweet wines: Sweet Shanando 3% rs that wasn't too sweet for me, Claret 3% rs that had a nose like a port but wasn't as smooth sipping and a 2007 "1607" Red Dessert Wine 3% rs fortified with brandy that made it very sweet and strong.

The small staff of 2 at First Colony, were quiet and seemed shy at first but became more engaging as our visit lengthened. They gave us some maps of downtown Charlottesville and suggested some dinner spots before closing up for the night, leaving us on the back deck to enjoy the evening with our wine.  The back deck was very surrounded by woods, more dense than the usual Virginia kind that reminded me of being in the mountains of Idaho or Northern California. It was a nice peaceful evening and after we finished enjoying the quiet we took the recommendation to try Shebeen, a South African restaurant. It was amazing! We loved it! It was just across the street from the Omni and the downtown mall. After dinner we meandered the mall, saw some interesting art display with live moths and caught a few songs by Dave Matthews carried out from the amphitheater.  It was a perfect way to close our long day.
2008 Merlot, juicy with a raspberry nose
Back porch views

Harvest prep

Monday, September 5, 2011

Jefferson Vineyards: August 20, 2011 (part 2 of 3)

After enjoying our lunch at Blenheim our plan was to head to Jefferson then Keswick, well we made it to Jefferson Vineyards as it was just around the bend. Since it was just after 3:00pm and we were on a mission to hit 3 vineyards we sipped more quickly than I like to while at Jefferson. The tasting room is just off the highway and has a large deck out front, but it had more of an urban feel than most porches I've visited.  It was quite busy when we did arrive at Jefferson and we had to squeeze up to the bar. Our server was much livelier than our server at Blenheim which was a relief, but I got the impression he was new to the wine industry-maybe weekend help. We enjoyed almost all the wines we had, my favorites were the lighter tasting Vin Rouge, the juicy 2008 Merlot and the 2009 Johannisberg Riesling with 1.5% rs. Jefferson also upped the ante on Blenheim with the elegant glasses they included with their tastings. In our short visit we were pleased with the wine and service, (Debbie picked up some bottles for the road), but I can't say that anything about Jefferson stood out to me as particularly notable nor was there anything negative to stay about the establishment. I blame this on my own rushed agenda thanks to the morning traffic. If you are looking for good wine at a convenient location, this place is for you.