I don’t have a specific recommendation for today. Instead, I just want to tell everyone that if you live in SWVA and are at all interested in tasting a variety of Virginia wines, you should plan on attending Smith Mountain Lakes’ Wine Festival next year. We’ve gone for a couple of years and always have a great time. There’s live music, plenty of food, a few local craftmakers selling their wares, and tons of great local vinos to try.
This type of event is especially good for novice drinkers (aka, many of my friends, lol!) It gives you an opportunity to try lots of different vineyards with no pretension whatsoever. Also, many Virginia wines tend to err on the side of sweetness which is great for wine beginners because that tends to be the taste profile that can bridge those who drink wine and those who don’t.
We spent a couple of hours wandering thru the booths, tasting plenty of wine, and just relaxing down on the field watching a couple of bands cover some of the best of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. (Everyone loves ska renditions of Michael Jackson songs, right?! Ha, I knew it was a good day for music when within 10 minutes of our sitting down, I heard two of my all-time favorite songs being played– for the record, Sublime’s Santeria and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man.)
We ended up coming home with 8 bottles of wine (under $200).
Here’s a pic of the haul along with some notes on some of our favorite wines of the day:
The three bottles on the left come from our favorite VA winery: Barboursville. They’re always a hit and the guys who pour their tastings are very wine knowledgeable. We love them so much that we just had to grab three great reds: the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cabernet Franc, and the Octagon (which is a red blend). The Octagon sells for $50 a bottle, the CabSauv is $16, and the CabFranc is $25.
The next bottle, plus the 7th bottle, came from Delfosse Vineyards. It should come as a shock to no one that both of the vineyards are located near my favorite town of Charlottesville. We ended up with bottles of their semi-sparkling Viognier and Merlot. I believe both bottles were around $20.
The fifth and sixth bottles in the pic are from Cooper Vineyards. To be honest, the actual tasting experience at this booth was less than stellar. Most of their wines were VERY sweet. And the lady who was pouring our area seemed to expect everyone to like the sweeter wines the best. When I agreed that one of them did in fact taste exactly like grape juice, I was not being complimentary. That said, however, we did really like the Chambourcin ($25) and their dessert wine, Noche (which is infused with chocolate). That bottle was under $20. I was surprised by how much I liked the Noche, but it was pretty tasty! Also, this purchase came with a nice reusable wine bag that I can use when I’m just picking up a couple of bottles, instead of “needing” to fill up the six-bottle totes that we already have. 😉
The last bottle we bought was a Petit Verdot from Sans Soucy Vineyards. I’m pretty sure this bottle was under $20 — lost the tasting notes/price paper, sorry! I was also a fan of their Chateau Weuf de Pup, but the Husband put his foot down on buying that one too, ha.
And although we did not purchase any of these this year, I would like to just mention a few other wines that we enjoyed: The Claret at Veritas Winery ($19), the Cabernet Franc Reserve at Rockbridge Vineyard ($16), and the Chardonnay at Lake Anna Winery ($18).