No visit upon the Monticello Wine Trail is complete without first stopping at one of Virginias most successful and popular wineries. Barboursville Vineyards is located just north of Charlottesville and sits on over 800 acres of well manicured and rolling green hills. Barboursville is one of Virginia ’s largest producers and recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary, an amazing feat indeed!
We're here !!!
Barboursville is owned by Giovanni Zonin who also owns a large wine company in Italy and whose family is 6 generations deep in producing quality wines there. Luca Paschina, also from Italy, has been chief winemaker at Barboursville for the past 17 years and is responsible for producing their award winning signature wines that have made Barboursville one of the Common Wealth’s most consistent quality producers year after year.
When we arrived, we were fortunate enough to fall right in line with a complementary tour that is held on weekends and hosted by one of Barboursville experienced staff members. The tour highlights the history of Barboursville Vineyards, winemaking in the Piedmont area and gives you a glimpse into where Barboursville wines are produced and aged. Vine Spot came away from this tour with a much greater appreciation for this pioneering winery and the challenges faced and overcame in the early days of Virginia winemaking when growing Vinifera grapes in the Common Wealth was a major hurdle. It was time to taste these wonderful wines now and Vine Spot was rather eager to get a ticket and move to the tasting bar.
The Barrel Room
The Stainless Collection
The tasting fee at Barboursville is $3 and not only do you get to taste a number of great wines, but you also get to keep the personalized glass. Be sure to bring your glass back for future visits as tasting fees will be waived. The tasting room at Barbourville is spacious with tall ceilings and elegantly decorated boasting a dual sided brick fireplace to keep toasty on those chilly days. Barboursville also has a nice gift shop where everything from local cider, spreads, jams and Barboursville T-Shirts can be purchased.
Moving onto our tasting, we were greeted by a welcoming smile and kind words and told what was being offered on the tasting sheet for that day. Starting with the whites, the following wines were offered: Sauvignon Blanc 2005, Pinot Grigio 2005, Chardonnay 2005, Chardonnay Reserve 2005, Viognier 2005, Riesling 2005 and finishing up with a nice off dry and fruity Rosé 2005.
Pouring Barboursville's finest....
The reds available for tasting were as follows: Merlot 2004, Sangiovese Reserve 2004, Barbera Reserve 2005, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005, and lastly Barbourville signature red, the Octagon 2004 7th Edition. The blush and dessert wines offered were the Cabernet Blanc, the Rosato and the Phileo. We were also treated to a sample of the limited edition Nebbiolo 2002 that is not usually tasted due to limited quantities.
Barboursville wines can best be described as well balanced, harmonious, textured and nuanced, not to mention reasonably priced for the most part. Wines that stuck out on Vine Spot's palate were many, but Vine Spot will mention a few by name. The Pinot Grigio 2005 is done in a dry style with nice pear and apple flavors on the palate and nicely balanced. The Chardonnay Reserve 2005 pleased Vine Spot with its fuller texture and ripe tree fruit flavors framed in sweet oak and vanilla. The Barboursville Viognier Reserve was beautifully fragrant with a smooth texture displaying nice, but subtle tropical fruit flavors on the palate. The medium bodied Barbera Reserve 2005, Italy’s very own red wine grape, was expressive with mixed berry flavors, cocoa and hints of vanilla and mild oak on the palate; based on its uniqueness in Virginia and the price point this is a Vine Spot recommendation. You may ask why Barboursville is in their 30th year, yet the Octagon is only in its 7th year. Barbourville only produces their signature Octagon Bordeaux styled blend when the vintage is what is considered by the winemaker to be a perfect or near perfect vintage for all varieties involved. This wine is Bordeaux based and displays a nice dark color with aromas of mixed berries, leather, vanilla and cocoa. The wine has a nice zing and liveliness about it with nuanced and complex dark fruit flavors rounded out by ripe tannins and a pleasantly lingering finish. This is your true dinner wine that has years of aging potential but offers a great tasting experience now. For the sweet ending, the Phileo is a blend of Moscato and Gewürztraminer that is fruity and sweet and has just enough acidity to make it a nice refreshing after dinner wine or warm weather sipper.
The 'Historic Ruins'
Can you believe that there is much more to see and do at Barboursville? Well there is, as the title suggests where History and Elegance Mingle. After tasting through Barbourville fine wines, visitors can tour the ‘Historic Ruins’ of General Barbour’s mansion that was designed by Thomas Jefferson and destroyed in a house fire on Christmas Day, 1884. The aged red brick remains of this historic abode are sure to capture the eyes and curiosity of all who visit from young to old.Want to spoil yourself? A stones throw away from the ‘Historic Ruins’ sits The 1804 Inn, which is a renovated plantation house that exemplifies true elegance and leisure. With palatial furnishings and balconies that open up to green rolling hills and a serene pond, this could be a great place to escape from the city and bask in tranquility and style.
The Inn 1804
If that is not enough, Barboursville also boasts a 1st class and top notch restaurant that sits adjacent to the winery. Palladio Restaurant highlights fine cuisines of Northern Italy and offers menus that match Barboursville’s fine wine selections. Vine Spot recommends calling ahead and making reservations as this is a true crowd pleaser that attracts quite a crowd.In closing, Barboursville is definitely a must visit on the Monticello Wine Trail and is truly a fine combination of charm, romance and elegance. At 31 years of age, Barboursville is only getting better with time, much like the fine wine they produce. When you visit, please let the friendly staff at Barboursville know you read about them right here on Virginia Vine Spot!
Happy Sipping friends!