Rule # 45 – Break the rules occasionally
It’s a warm, humid afternoon.
My brother is tearing divots in a local golf course. Hub is catching up on his beauty sleep. Time for me to have another quest…
My sister-in-law needed a gift for my sister. Sounds convoluted? Not really. My sister does pet sitting. The “Buffinator” is being pet-sat. Hence the need for a gift of some sort for my sister, the pet sitter. We have the perfect gift in mind, but where to find it? We found something Sis-in-law liked at Cross Keys Vineyard. Do they have the exact item we need?
Back we both go to Cross Keys Vineyard, in search of a painted wine glass with the Phillies logo on it. The one we found was designed for a man. We need the female version. And – voila! – they have it. Step one on this quest is complete. The big problem is the wine. We are looking for a chocolate wine for the pet sitting sister. She’s the one who got us both hooked on Cocoa DaVin – a blend of merlot, chocolate and a cream. It’s a chocolate milk shake with a serious kick! We are now in search of Virginia’s version of Cocoa DaVin – if it exists at all.
Like the Phillies at the time, we struck out at Cross Keys Vineyard. Their wines are excellent, but nothing with a chocolate flavoring added.
We decided to head over the mountain ridge on US 33. This trek took us past Standardsville, across Route 29 to Barboursville Vineyards. On the way, it was all the car could do to stay on the road. You see, we passed a house in the mountain holler with laundry hanging on the front porch. Now this, as a picture, was shown to me by my former principal in an effort to share cultural awareness. He said the sight reflected socio-economic issues. Well – may be… but in this neck of the woods it means “Open for business – ‘shine is ready.” The car wanted to turn into the road and see if there was some moonshine available. But, I resisted.
Now, Barboursville Vineyard is really off the beaten path, so to speak. It’s off US 33, but you need to follow the signs on small, country roads to get to the main building. But what a beautiful building it is! Walk into the main store and set yourself up for a tasting. There are twenty wines to check out, so a tasting at Barboursville should include a designated driver. We could have even had lunch at the Palladio Restaurant on the grounds.
For my $5 tasting fee, I also brought home my own wine glass. My sister-in-law decided not to do the tasting at this winery, but she did take my advice on the pinot grigio, which is a light, fragrant dry white wine that rolls nicely on the palate.
I tried about six more wines and found my absolute favorite Cabernet Sauvignon at Barboursville. This dry red wine carries a nice bite, but no tannin aftertaste. This wine would be a plus to any celebration, even if the party is only because it is Friday.
Purchases in hand, we both left Barboursville, without a chocolate wine. Surprised? So were we. With all the great red wines Barboursville offers, I was surprised that there was no chocolate version. Well, down the road a piece is Horton Vineyards. Let’s see what they might have.
We pulled into Horton Vineyard’s drive to see a mini castle. The shop building might look small, but the bricks hold a lot of action. The main winery tour is free and takes you down to the bottom floor of the building. The processing takes place in an area built into the hillside, to keep everything cool. Both of us toured the facility before. We were both on a quest here, so we made tracks to the tasting room.
Tasting at Horton’s is free, too. They have more wine to sample than anyone could safely test in a trip.
We took advantage of the Xoco wine, a dessert feature. Horton offers two in this category, a white and a red. We both try the Blanco Xoco … VERY tasty! It starts with rkatsiteli, vidal blanc and the chocolate essence. The balance of the flavors is perfect for both our tastes. Now to try the Rojo Xoco… which is a blend of touriga nacional, syrah and Norton red wines with a dark chocolate essence added. The vineyard advertises that it tastes like a raspberry Tootsie Roll with a kick. It’s a pretty accurate description! I found it too sweet for my tastes, with not enough chocolate essence. My sis-in-law liked it. Neither wine had a creamy texture, like I was used to with Cocoa DaVin. But now the major decision… which one for the pet-sitter sister? You’ll never guess… ok, maybe you will. We got her one of each. We figured she could decide which one she liked.
Both vineyards are close enough to visit in the same day. However, if you are a serious wine taster, visit on a bus trip or have someone else drive you. While the amounts you taste are small, you can still get a nice buzz from your tasting experience. Not safe you are the one behind the wheel! Check out both vineyards on their websites:
Barboursville Vineyards - http://www.barboursvillewine.net/winery/
Horton Vineyards - http://hortonwine.com/
Quest is complete, for now. Now time to head back over the mountain to our vacation unit. On our way back, we pass the turn off to VA 20 for Montpelier, James Madison’s home. That will have to wait for another day.
Wait... tomorrow is another day!