I started these posts as I explored the immediate Richmond area. There’s still plenty to report and explore but I’m going to expand the actual search area. One of the things that’s enjoyable about Richmond is that you’re so close to so many other cool areas. So lots of potential discoveries.
The perfect hat for adventures!
Halloween weekend the lady of the house and I were bored. To alleviate that boredom we decided to do some winery exploring. There are few wineries in our immediate area but the real “mother lode” is to our west. Charlottesville is only about an hour away and that puts you right into some interesting wine country. So we pulled on our adventure hats and took off.
Should have checked the University of Virginia football schedule first. Charlottesville was a bit of a zoo. Just gave us an excuse to head out into the country faster.
We didn’t have a lot of time so we only hit two this time:
Pippin Hill Farm and Winery – A stunningly beautiful location and a wonderful facility to go along with it. The weather was just a touch cool that day so they had space heaters warming up the patio area. With three tasting bars outside and the main one inside all going at once, so there wasn’t any wait or much crowding. The staff person seemed pretty knowledgeable but was a little distracted since he was answering questions and issues with other staff people. We tried their standard flight ($10/person) of four. Their Chardonnay was very nice and a little oaky. Probably my preferred upper limit on oakiness. The Viognier was also nice. For the reds we did the Merlot, the Cabernet Franc (one of my lady’s particular favorite grape varieties) and their Winemaker’s Select Red. All very interesting, none that really took our breath away. Certainly worth a second trip and little more extensive tasting. They were set up for a wedding later that day and the backdrop was gorgeous.
The outdoor dining and tasting area at Pippin Hill
Loving Cup Vineyard and Winery – Another gorgeous location not all that far from Pippin Hill but you have to drive back into the hills to get there. Absolutely worth the drive. We weren’t quite sure what to expect. Loving Cup is an organic winery. That could mean a lot of things, not all of them good. What you discover is a winery very similar to the classic French château style. Grapes grown there in a confined area (four acres) and fermented and bottled on the property as well. They went organic for the simple reason that one of women in the family (it’s family owned and operated) was pregnant and they didn’t want to expose her to pesticides. So they use naturally disease resistant grapes. This means I was not getting the same flavor profiles I’m accustomed to tasting. Turns out that’s a good thing.
This is a VERY small operation, so quantities of any given wine are small as well. We had both reds and whites (both blends) that were very good. They also have some very nice sweet reserves in both red and white. We were very pleased with all of them. The real surprise for me was a mulled wine they offered. Using the Loving Cup Red along with their mulling spices, cranberry juice and orange juice concentrate they created a mulled wine that I actually liked! That’s a first.
Because they’re so small you can’t guarantee what they may have at any moment. What I will say is this – it’s well worth the drive and the exploration. Really nice people, another incredible view, beautiful building for the tasting room and some very interesting wine. My inner winery snob was very happy.
Loving Cup with the vineyard beyond. This doesn’t begin to give you the feel for the beauty here.
A good day of exploring!
Graphic courtesy of Openglipart.org