Continuing our trek through Charlottesville on the Monticello Wine Trail, the next stop of the day brings us to Jefferson Vineyards. Jefferson Vineyards was our very first winery experience last year, so you can say this is where I caught the ‘wine bug’. Do keep in mind that there is no such cure for this illness, so be cautious!
Picture from T. Jefferson wine cellar at Monticello
There is a bit of history to Jefferson Vineyards involving a wine merchant and tradesman named Filippo Mazzei and one Thomas Jefferson, a young married man who practiced law and had a passion for producing wine in Virginia. According to historians, Jefferson offered Mazzei a plot of land he could not refuse to house his family and plant cuttings he had brought from Spain, Italy and France. This property was named the Colle estate and was only a short distance from Monticello. Fast forwarding events, Jefferson and Mazzei’s initial production hopes were thwarted by a severe 1774 frost. It is said that Mazzei was able to produce two barrels of wine from surviving grapes. The wine was however unpalatable and there were no records found to suggest what variety of grape it was made from. With that said, Jefferson Vineyards is situated within view of the once Colle property and Monticello. I’m certain both would be thrilled to see what has become of wine in Virginia today.
Proceeding to the winery, with lovely garden on right
Proceeding to our tasting, the wines offered for the day were the following: Clairet 2005, Chardonnay 2004, Pinot Gris 2005, Chardonnay Reserve 2005, Viognier 2005 (2006 Governor’s Cup winner –Gold), Cabernet Franc 2004, Merlot 2004, Meritage 2004 (2006 Governor’s Cup winner – Gold), and lastly the Riesling 2004.
The charming and toasty tasting room
Upon entering you will find a toasty and charming tasting room with a long tasting bar to accommodate the many visitors who visit the popular winery. The outdoor deck is nice and spacious and gives a nice view of the green rolling hills and horse farm that sits opposite the winery.
The spacious outdoor deck
Our tasting was very pleasant and our tasting associate was friendly, informative and knew her wines very well. As mentioned a few post earlier, 2005 is the year of the white wines in Virginia, and that was tasted in a few notable selections. The Pinot Gris 2005 was crisp and refreshing displaying nice citrus flavors with exceptional balance. The ever popular and award winning Viognier 2005 had a pleasant apricot and pineapple nose with nice lush tropical fruit satiating flavors. The 2005 Chardonnay Reserve is also an ace in the deck with tasty flavors of apple and pear and a pleasing similar nose. Needless to say the latter two came home with me. Last but not least in the red category is the award winning Meritage 2004 blend. The Meritage displayed an abundant dark fruit nose with similar flavors on the palate. This wine displays the nice qualities of the varieties used in making this fine blend.
Outdoor deck view
In closing, Jefferson Vineyards is another must stop on the Monticello Wine Trail. They produce award winning wines and are in a very convenient location near Monticello and the Historic Michie Tavern. They also offer hourly educational tours and host several events throughout the year. If you decide to give Jefferson Vineyards a visit please tell them you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot Blog.