Our wine touring has slowed considerably since we had a kid, but the first seriously warm day of the year encouraged us to pop the boy into the Ergo and take a swing through Southern Albemarle.
Blenheim only has four wines to taste right now, a Table Red and a Table White for $15 each, and their marquee “Painted Red” and “Painted White,” which each cost about twice as much.
Long story short, the whites were both tasty and recommended, although I have preferred Blenheim’s single varietal whites more in the past. The reds, from the difficult 2011 vintage, tasted a bit thin. Certainly not the strongest set of reds this typically very good winery has produced.
Our pourer noted that the the winery had seen a serious run on its product following a pair of Dave Matthews shows in Charlottesville in late 2012, hence the depleted stocks.
You can taste the four wines for $5 right now.
Down the road at Trump, they’re pretty much heading down the trail blazed by Kluge, and have maintained the former winery’s winemaker. Indeed, for the most part it appears the only thing that has changed is the labels.
And as much as it pains me to say it, the wines range from competent to very, very good. The sparklers, in particular, are excellent. If anyone else in Virginia is anywhere close to making true Champagne method wines that are this good, I certainly haven’t tried them. Trump pours three sparklers as part of its 8 wines for $8 tasting. All are excellent.
The still wines are less notable, although the New World Red tastes expensive.
Finally, we stopped in at Michael Shaps’ Virginia Wine Works, the warehouse and crush facility just north of Scottsville. For $10–what’s with the tasting fee inflation, Virginia?–you get to taste through nearly a dozen wines, including a few Virginia Wine Works boxed wines.
I was less enamored with the boxed blends, but the viognier tasted might fine. All of the Michael Shaps-labeled wines were good to very good, with the Chardonnay and Viognier, emerging as stars of the tasting.
And while the $10 tasting fee is a bit irksome, this is one of the best places to taste in Central Virginia. The state needs more no-frills spots that are all about the wine.
I might have to add it to my Virginia Wine Guide.