After enjoying a fun filled time of red and white delights at Keswick Vineyards, we saddled up and headed to Afton Mountain Vineyards located in Afton, Virginia . The winery and vineyard is located on the southeastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains and provides spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The Autumn colors, although slowly fading, were still prevalent and the drive to Afton Mountain is one of beauty that all sightseers will enjoy.
Afton Mountain Vineyards is one of the pioneering farm wineries in Virginia, emerging at a rather early and experimental time for Virginia grape growers and winemakers. Prior to purchasing the property that would later become Afton Mountain Vineyards, current owners Tom and Shinko Corpora discovered this 52 acre property with vines that had been severely neglected. It appears that a hopeful grower, who had previously owned the property in the mid to late 1970’s, planted everything from Zinfandel to Semillon to determine what would work in Virginia’s soil type and climate. One might razz at the thought of Zinfandel plantings in Virginia , but do recall these were early and experimental times. Sadly enough the hopeful grower would not see his first vintage as he took ill and shortly after passed away. Most of the vines he planted had to be pulled up because certain grape varieties are not well suited to Virginia’s terroir, however some still remain, making select Afton vines some of the oldest in the state.
Robbie at the tasting bar
Upon entering the tasting room, we were greeted by Robbie, the Corpora’s son, who along with brother Brian assists in winery and vineyard duties. After some chat about the winery and wine talk, we closed in on our mission, tasting Afton wines. The following wines were offered for tasting: Tête de Cuvée Brut Sparkling Wine 2004, Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2005, Sangiovese 2005, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Cabernet Franc 2005, and lastly, Sweet Afton 2005, a Muscat and Gewürztraminer dessert blend.
Charming and cozy seating area
Also available for purchase, but not tasting due to limited production ,were the Pinot Noir 2005 and the Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. Afton Mountain also makes a Riesling, Rose and Gewürztraminer, all of which were sold out (2005 vintage).
Wines to note during our tasting were the Tête de Cuvée Brut 2004, which uses the traditional method where secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. The dry sparkling wine is crisp and refreshing with nice tree fruit flavors on the palate. The Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2005 is medium bodied with nice round fruit flavors and would pair well with smoked white meat and white sauce dishes. The Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 was another medium bodied hit, with dark fruit aromas that follow through with similar flavors on the palate, and would pair well with lamb, venison and light cheeses. The Cabernet Franc 2005, Virginia ’s flagship wine is medium bodied displaying soft cherry aromas and showing nice varietal flavor. Most Virginia Cabernet Francs are food friendly and can be paired with an array of food selections, and this example is no different.
In closing, it was time to saddle up and travel to another Virginia winery before calling it a day. Afton Mountain Vineyards offers great wines, a knowledgeable and friendly staff, beautiful views, a nice picnic area, and a warm and cozy indoor seating area complimented by a fireplace. When you decide to visit Afton Mountains please let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot.
Stay tuned readers, there is more to come.