Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I’m finally getting some time to catch up on quite the backlog of posts I’ve been meaning to share with you. First and foremost, although I’ve surely mentioned our anniversary last week, I haven’t got around to sharing our adventures.
We decided to stay at Arcady, a winery and inn that Courtney found online and which received excellent reviews. We were glad we did. It’s tucked away enough that deer freely roam the back yard, but just a short drive to downtown Charlottesville and the many wineries we had our eye on. The owners, Erika and Chris, are very hospitable, and chatted with us over wine and cheese when we arrived. Although we decided against the guided wine tour, they were able to give us excellent recommendations not just of which vineyards are generally good, but also who is pouring a good variety right now and where we would find the best reds.
They serve a yummy, home-cooked breakfast each morning. These banana-nut pancakes helped us carb load for a long day of wine tasting! Although they only have a small lot of grapes, they do make some wines on site, including this excellent port that we were served each night at turn-down… along with dark chocolate truffles! They know the way to my heart, I tell you. As for the wineries, King’s Family Vineyards was our favorite stop of the day. We must not be the only ones, because even on a Monday afternoon, the place was hopping. They poured a good variety of reds, our favorites being the 2010 Meritage (a blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec), which we enjoyed a bottle of at a table on their patio overlooking their expansive lawns and the Virginia mountains. I learned that ‘Meritage’ is used to describe a Bordeaux-style wine that doesn’t originate from that particular region in France, so as to not infringe on intellectual property rights. So if you love Bordeaux, but want to try a regional variety while traveling in the states, give the Meritage a go. I was also surprised to find a white wine I actually enjoyed, the 2011 Roseland (a Chardonnay/Viognier blend). While I very, very rarely like a white wine, this one was not overly sweet and had a lovely creamy finish.
Although much quieter (the poor girl behind the counter looked bored to tears) Pollack also had beautiful views. We didn’t venture down to the lake (we had other wineries to get to!), but it looked like a wonderful place for a picnic.
We also made stops at Veritas, which as a red lover was unexciting at this particular time, and Afton Mountain. Afton offers both house (sweet) and reserve (dry/full-bodied) tastings. We decided to do one of each and share, which as you can imagine totally horrified the sommelier. The reserve had some excellent reds, much more in tune with our taste, but the sweet had some interesting wines as well (although not many I’d want more than a glass of).
All of these wines meant that I was in serious need of a nap before heading to our dinner reservation at Fleurie, a cute little French restaurant in downtown Charlottesville. Despite arriving at 8:40 and having an entire cake waiting for us back in the room, we (I) decided to go with the 8 course tasting menu, which took about two and a half hours. You only have one first anniversary after all. However we were too wined-out (apparently that can happen?) for the wine tasting and went for a bottle of champagne.
Despite being stuffed, I was glad we got the full tasting menu, since my favorites (the rack of lamb and the lobster) weren’t on the five-course menu. I definitely recommend this place if you are looking for a special dinner in the Charlottesville area!