This year I celebrated Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer (already!?) about 120 miles southwest of D.C. in Charlottesville, Virginia. Early Friday afternoon Tom and I left D.C. to meet Tom’s parents for a
weekend of history and wine. We arrived at the hotel about an hour before Tom’s parents and decided to head downtown and stroll the Pedestrian Mall. We stopped at a place called Citizen Burger Bar for drinks and snacks, and, while we didn’t eat dinner here, the menu looked amazing. The bartender let it slip that the restuarant will be expanding to Northern Virginia and D.C. in the next year, and I’m excited to check it out.
Saturday we got up early and headed to Monticello to wander the grounds and tour the house. I had been to Monticello once before in grade school and was excited to see many new exhibits at the home. I think my favorite though was the recreated kitchen below the house, which opened to the public in 2004. Did you know Jefferson was one of the first to install a French-style stew stove in his home and used a wine dumbwaiter to deliver wine from the cellar to his dining room? Pretty advance stuff for the time period.
After we finished up the tour of Monticello and a quick lunch at the historic Michie Tavern, Tom’s dad and I were ready to do a little wine tasting. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we stayed close to and chose Jefferson Vineyards, about 3 miles from Monticello. I had heard good things about the vineyard and its wines, rumors which were only confirmed by the rows of medals hanging over the checkout area. The winery has 2 tasting rooms, the main room and a second room for weekend overflow located in a separate building across the courtyard. The vineyard has only one tasting option – 10 wines for $10. We paid for tastings at the register, where we also got our glasses. I was excited to find a spot for the 3 of us (Tom’s mom didn’t taste with us) in the main tasting room, with its wall of wine bottles.
The tasting consisted of 5 whites, 1 rosé, and 4 reds. The winery specializes in dry wines, including a rare dry Riesling with only 1% residual sugar and light oaking. It remained refreshing and light instead of heavy and syrupy. I also enjoyed their Meritage blend made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Fran, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, which are each aged individually for 4 years, then blended together and aged for 1 more year. Other favorites on the list were the Viognier, Petit Verdot, and the semit-dry Vin Blanc. Although I can’t find anything really bad to say about any of their wines and ended up walking away with 6 bottles after the tasting.
After our tasting, we spent a little time relaxing in the shade on the Jefferson Vineyard deck, admiring the picnic area, and taking in the beautiful scenery. Jefferson vineyard is a lovely vineyard with great bottles for those who enjoy drier wines. I’m looking forward to going back with Ruth later in the summer for a girls’ weekend.