After savoring the tasty Merlot 2005 and seasonal warmth at Oakencroft Vineyards, we saddled up and headed to First Colony Winery. First Colony is located in Charlottesville, VA , and is another gem on the Monticello Wine Trail. First Colony Winery is situated on a 62 acre site, and backed by the wooded and green surroundings of the Green Mountain Range. First Colony was one of the the first wineries we ever visited, so we always stop by for a sip when in the Charlottesville area. The winery, owned by Randolph McElroy Jr, opened doors in Spring of 2002, and since such time has successfully produced satisfying and award winning wines.
First Colony Winery
When we arrived to the tasting room, we were greeted by Tasting Room Manager, Tiffany Park. We also noticed that the gift area was well stocked for Christmas with all sorts of wine related gift ideas. The winery itself is light filled and spacious with two indoor seating areas and an upstairs seating area that is used for wine dinners and other special events. The common seating area offers ample natural lighting, a fireplace, and wooded views. When the weather is favorable, there is a nice deck and patio area where fine nibbles and First Colony wines can be enjoyed.
Common Indoor Seating Area
After chatting with Tiffany about the winery and the wines produced, we were ready to taste. Our friendly and informative tasting associate poured the following First Colony wines: Chardonnay 2003, Viognier 2005, Sweet Shanando 2005 (100% Vidal Blanc), Rosé 2004, Cabernet Franc 2004, Merlot 2005, Meritage 2004 (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc), Cabernet Franc Reserve 2004, Tannat 2005 and the Claret, a very nice Chambourcin based red blend.
First Colony Tasting Bar
As with our past visits, we enjoyed all the wines tasted. One white wine to note that we checked off on our list is the Viognier 2005. The Viognier displays nice fruit, acidity and texture and offers pleasant aromas of apricot and honeysuckle. Yummy! The reasonably priced Cabernet Franc 2004 stuck out on the palate, offering red fruit and herbal aromas with nice fruit flavor, good acidity and supple tannins on the taste. This earned the Cabernet Franc 2004 and several others a trip back to my wine fridge. Also enjoyed was the Cabernet Franc Reserve 2004. The Cabernet Franc Reserve is blended with small amounts of Touriga and Tannat for color, tannic structure and complexity. The Cabernet Franc Reserve offers an intense nose of dark and red fruits and other soft earthy nuances. On the palate, this medium bodied wine is full of dark and red berry fruit that is nicely framed in subtle oak with a smooth lingering finish. What is truly worth the purple tongue, teeth and mouth after consumption is the Tannat 2005. I enjoyed a glass of this on the deck whilst being pummeled in a game of computerized Scrabble. The Tannat 2005 is blended with small amounts of Touriga and is a nice deep purple color. The Tannat 2005 is rich and full with lush dark fruit and plum flavors on the palate. A wonderful food pairing wine with firm tannins, you can pair this with your favorite red meat dish. This wine won gold in the Monticello Cup 2006, and is a nice example of a variety finding roots here in Virginia.
Lastly, several out of state e-mailers who have visited Virginia Wineries in the past have asked me about Totier Creek Winery. I would like to inform those readers that have not visited in a while that First Colony is the site where Totier Creek Winery once stood. When current owners found this property in 2000 there was major work to be done. I myself have only lived here 3 years so did not get to experience Totier Creek Winery, though an e-mailer in New Jersey notes that it was rather promising. From what I gather, the property was terribly neglected when founded by current owner Randy McElroy Jr in 2000. Randy erected a new tasting room, replanted the vineyard, and many other effortful task in returning the site to former glory. The end result is a quality and charming producer in Charlottesville that Vine Spot enjoys visiting.
Great..Tannat is not in the Scrabble dictionary (lol)
I encourage readers to check the First Colony events page, as they host festivals, wine dinners, cooking classes, etc. When you do decide to jump on the Monticello Trail and visit First Colony, please let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot.