Just a short trip west of Charlottesville, surrounded by acres of green rolling hills, horse farms and stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits King Family Vineyards. Located in Crozet, VA, King Family Vineyards is home to Michel Shap’s wines, a name well known with quality and award winning wines in Virginia.
Beauty runs deep along the Monticello Wine Trail, and this would be no different as the outdoor views were just breath taking. As I walked into the winery, I thought to myself what a perfect place for a picnic and a glass of fine wine.
Front of Winery, preparing for event
Upon entering, we were greeted and had to wait a few short minutes to be served as the weekend crowds were out enjoying and experiencing Virginia wines as we were. We walked about the tasting room enjoying all the charming decorations, wine merchandise, and noted the inviting fireplace for the winter months.
Tasting Room (fireplace)
Proceeding to our tasting, we were joined by a friendly couple from Georgia and would be hosted by King Family owner, Ellen King. Before tasting she brought out a youthful Petit Verdot bunch to illustrate the process of veraison. Veraison is the point in the growth of a grape when they begin to soften and change color as seen in the picture below.
Veraison in Petit Verdot
Tastings are complimentary, and the wines offered were the following: Chardonnay 2005, Viognier 2005, C’rose 2005 (Rose blend), Cabernet Franc 2005, Meritage 2004, Late Harvest Cabernet Franc 2004, and lastly the Late Harvest Viognier 2005.
I would be telling a Pinocchio of a tale if I said we did not enjoy every pour and the descriptions that accompanied each, and I’m certain the couple tasting with us would certainly agree.
Tasting Bar pictures
Wines to note during our tasting were the 2005 Chardonnay which had a wonderful smooth texture, ripe apple flavors and toasted notes from French barrel aging. The 2005 Michael Shaps Viognier was delightful on the palate, highly aromatic with intense tropical and citrus flavors to compliment. Viognier has certainly found a home in Virginia and this was a very fine example. Another varietal finding a home in Virginia is Cabernet Franc and the 2005 Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc is of exceptional quality. This smooth wine displayed pleasant dark fruit aromas and flavors rounded out by silky approachable tannins. Last but not least is a Cabernet Franc lovers treat; the Late Harvest Cabernet Franc 2004. Full and rich with dark fruit aromas, cherry flavors and velvety tannins, this nicely balanced hedonistic sipping pleasure was satisfyingly delicious. Unfortunately it is currently sold out until September 2006; I already called about securing more.
Outdoor seating and stunning views
In closing we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to King Family Vineyards. From the wine, to the service, to the resplendent surroundings, this is a must stop on the Monticello Wine Trail. I encourage readers to visit the King Family Vineyard web site for events, as there are live Polo matches some Saturdays and other events scheduled on their calendar. If and when you pack your picnic basket and decide to visit this wonderful winery please let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot blog.