11/09/2009

King Family Vineyards: Red & White Delights!


Hello Friends,

Our next stop on the Monticello Wine Trail was to King Family Vineyards, located just west of Charlottesville in Crozet. King Family Vineyards is a small family-owned winery owned and operated by David and Ellen King. I often refer to King Family Vineyards as a true symphony of nature, offering magnificent mountain views in a beautiful setting. The spectacular views, paired with high-quality estate-grown wines, make this one of the most popular wine destinations on the Monticello Wine Trail.

King Family Vineyards

On this visit, we had the pleasure of meeting winemaker Mathieu Finot, who hails from one of my favorite wine producing regions – the Rhone Valley. Mathieu has also honed his winemaking skills with stints in Italy, Burgundy, Bordeaux (St.-Émilion), Provence, and South Africa – bringing both Old World and New World experience to the Commonwealth. When I asked Mathieu what attracted him to making wine in Virginia, he responded, “the challenge.” Arriving here in 2003 to a very wet vintage year known for its torrential downpours, a challenge is what greeted the young winemaker. Six vintages later, Mathieu is still doing what he enjoys – making high-quality Virginia wine for Virginia wine lovers like you and me to appreciate and enjoy!

At the Tasting Bar with winemaker Mathieu Finot

King Family Vineyards has recently expanded the tasting room, so there is more seating with large picture windows emphasizing the dramatic views, a warm fireplace for the cooler months, and a second tasting bar to keep things flowing smoothly. We moved to the second tasting bar where Mathieu guided us through King Family’s full line-up of red and white wine selections. King Family wines are produced from almost 100% estate-grown fruit, with the exception of the Petit Manseng, which is sourced from a nearby vineyard. I should elaborate some on estate-grown wines. These are wines that are grown, produced, and bottled on the property and are a reflection of an individual producer’s distinct climate, soil, location, exposure, etc. – we call this terrior. Not all wineries choose to do this, or can - for those who do, it allows you, the taster, to draw a close relationship with the fruit in the glass from vintage to vintage.

Enjoy a glass of wine by the toasty fireplace

The wines poured were the 2008 Viognier, 2008 Roseland (Chardonnay & Viognier blend), 2008 Chardonnay, 2008 Cabernet Franc, 2007 Merlot, 2007 Meritage, 2007 Petit Verdot, the 2007 Seven (a Port-styled wine aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for 2 years), and last, but not least, the 2008 Loreley 'Late Harvest Viognier' (a dessert wine made in the “vin de paille” style, a.k.a straw wine). Some of my personal favorites were the crisp, yet round, aromatic Viognier that displayed pleasing stone-fruit and floral aromas and was clean and mouthwatering on the palate. I also enjoyed the fruit forward and easy drinking 2008 Cabernet Franc, as well as the 2007 Meritage, which offers dark fruit, currant, and toasty aromas in a medium-bodied, well-structured wine with integrated tannins. Lastly, the 2007 Petit Verdot, a variety that Mathieu particularly enjoys working with, had a lot going on – red fruit, spice-box, black pepper, and dark undertones of smoke and red meat. It’s wickedly complex and darn tasty! Try it, buy it, and enjoy it.

Barrel Tasting with Mathieu

We later moved to the barrel room where Mathieu was kind enough to let us sample his developing white wines in tank and red wines in barrel. Barrel tasting is truly a treat; it is the only time you get to sample the developing wine while it matures prior to its final resting place in the bottle. Based on the samples I tasted, let’s just say the future looks bright for King Family Vineyards. What was not so bright, at least in color, was a developing deep purple and inky Petit Verdot (2008) barrel sample that offered a dark and rich nose and is definitely something to look forward to when it is released.

On warm days, the patio is the place to be!

In closing, be sure to put King Family Vineyards on your calendar. The newly expanded tasting-room is warm and cozy and the picture windows offer spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, green rolling hills, and surrounding area. Next year you will want to pack a picnic basket and catch an outdoor polo match in the spring and summer months while enjoying your favorite King Family wine. Check King Family Vineyards events page for further information on this popular event. When you visit, friends, be sure to let the kind folks know you read about them on Dezel’s Vine Spot blog.


Stay tuned friends ...Next winery review: Del Fosse Vinyards & Winery!


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