Virginia is for (Wine) Lovers

Did you know Virginia is the fifth largest producer of wine in the US?  I learned that and more, mainly just how good Virginia wine is, as a panelist in last night’s TasteLive Monticello, VA Wine Trail wine tasting event.

When Cailyn (who I met this summer at Zazu) from TasteLive emailed me inviting me to participate on a TasteLive panel, I was extremely excited. I have followed TasteLive tastings before, and the panelists are always excellent wine bloggers and other experts; to be included was an honor! A few days prior to the event, I received the wine from UPS, and being that I had never tried VA wine before, it was difficult not to open a bottle or two.

Virginia wine

Kluge Vineyards image Afton Mountain Gewurztraminer
Keswick Viongier Blenheim Merlot Mountfair Wooloomooloo

The moderator for the evening was Dezel from, and a representative from each winery signed in as we tasted their wine.

TasteLive wine tasting

I had SO much fun! It was a really funny, smart group of tasters. Because we were in an online platform, it was maybe a little easier to share my observations on the wine than if we were actually in the same room. But then again, I can be pretty shy and sometimes worry if my sense of smell is working when people are getting certain aromas off of the wine. Last night I felt like I was getting the key characteristics of each wine, and it was fun to hear what other people were getting from them as well as everyone else’s favorites.

The lineup for the evening’s tasting and some of the observations made during the tasting:

Kluge Estate 2007 SP Rosé

Beautiful pale pink color, lots of tiny bubbles and great effervescence, slight rose petal on the nose with flavors of strawberry, nice acidity as well as a nice round, creamy mouth feel, very balanced, delicious bubbly. A great Thanksgiving dinner wine.

Keswick Vineyards 2009 Viognier

Nice aromas and flavors of apricots and honeysuckle, a slick, oily mouth feel (in a good way), really flavorful and fragrant, good with Asian food but also a great Thanksgiving wine.

Jefferson Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay

An oaky nose with flavors of oak and vanilla. This wine was a hit with many of the tasters but was a little too oaky for me.

Afton Mountains 2009 Gewürztraminer (dry & 100% stainless)

Lots of people were getting lime or key lime pie from this wine, and I didn’t get the pie, but I definitely could taste some nice lime zest flavors. It had a great spiciness to it; I commented that it would be delicious with a spicy coconut curry. But again, this was mentioned as good with both spicy foods and poultry, making it a great Thanksgiving wine (see a trend?) This was probably my favorite white of the evening.

Blenheim Vineyards 2009 Merlot

A very earthy, tobacco-y nose with some dark cherry flavors as well as some leafy, green flavors to it. My husband and I thought this wine was very    forest-y. It took us a few sips to get into it, but I think it opened up nicely as we tasted.

Mountfair Vineyards 2008 Wooloomooloo

Winner! This gorgeous, dark purple wine with an awesome name won me over 100%. It is a Petite Verdot blend, and I always enjoy Petite Verdot. It had just started raining here in Boston as we were tasting this wine, and I happened to be having some Nutella toast. The wine, the weather, the mood, the snack all went so well together. This wine has great, big berry flavors and such richness. I want to figure out a way to order and get this wine in Massachusetts. It is stunning.

Virginia wine is GOOD, at least in my little opinion! There are plenty of naysayers out there and plenty of people unhappy to see the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference on the East Coast, but I am excited to have had the opportunity to try all of these wines and I really hope to be able to attend the conference. One of the cool things about TasteLive is having the wineries right there with you as you taste. They put so much into the wine that they make and know so much about it making it truly a special experience to get to live chat with them. I hope to be able to participate in more TasteLive events in the future and definitely plan on making a visit to Virginia for some wine tasting!


Have you ever tried a wine from Virginia or other lesser-known wine regions?


*By the way, as you probably know from my miserable tweets, because I am quite sick and on medication, this was truly a tasting for me. I utilized the spit cup as I tasted while hubby got to enjoy the wines. Didn’t want you to think I was drinking and medicating Winking smile  I think I got so much out of this tasting because I was not actually drinking. I paid attention to the characteristics of the wine so much more. For more info on wine tasting, check out my guest post on Melissa Nibbles today!

  1. brandi’s avatar

    Yeah VA! There are some great wineries here.

    Chateau Morrisette, definitely. A ton in the New River Valley region and near Charlottesville, too.


  2. Michelle’s avatar

    When I was down in D.C., I did some wine tastings but they were in Maryland – not VA! This panel sounds ridiculously cool…how many time can you wear sweats and slippers while sipping wine with a laptop? Actually, that might be a normal Friday night for me :-)


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Haha I was SO grateful people couldn’t see me!


    2. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

      Yum…I want to try the chardonnay!


    3. Megan’s avatar

      I liked that Mountfair one just by looking at the bottle! It sounds delicious. I had some CT wines that I was not too fond of.


    4. Sues’s avatar

      Yay! Chris is from in Virginia… I’ve only been home with him once for a super quick trip, but I’m already excited to go back and hit up some wineries! This is a fabulous list :) Oh, and I hope you’re feeling better!! I have a feeling the wine helps :)


      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        Thank you! It provided a good distraction from feeling miserable!


      2. Mellissa’s avatar

        I think I have tried at least 1 kind of wine from Virginian and I have tried wine from Illinois, Wisconsin, MN, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana. The wine I think I have liked the least is wine from Missouri.

        As of right now I am planning on going to the conference in July as well.


      3. Mark’s avatar

        Agreed. There are plenty of naysayers out there. East Coast wines are greatly underappreciated.

        Just today, I was blown away by a Pennsylvania Cabernet Sauvignon.


        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          As you know, I am a big fan of MA wines. If you ever come up this way, you have to check them out!


        2. Kat Schornberg’s avatar

          Thank you so much for participating in the tasting last night! It was a lot of fun- great crowd and great wines!


          1. traveleatlove’s avatar

            Thank you for commenting! I am always excited to discover new wine and look forward to visiting Virginia wine country!


          2. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox’s avatar

            Awesome review! Looks like a great tasting! My two favorite wines come from Pigeon Forge TN of all places.


          3. Jolene (’s avatar

            Every time I buy a bottle of wine I try something different, but I never keep track of where they are from!


          4. Eileen’s avatar

            I love wine tastings. I live in the Finger Lakes Region – a big wine area of NYS. I’ve never tasted Virginia wines – but would love to. Maybe my next trip South I’ll make it a point. Glad you enjoyed yourself. Check out my recent post for our areas Cork & Fork. A good time too. Thanks for sharing your tasting with us!


          5. style'n’s avatar

            Ok first off I think you and I could be best friends!! I LOVE wine and I am so glad I found your blog from Melissa’s. My husband and I both enjoy wine, visiting wineries, and we love hosting wine tastings at our place. I am glad to have found such a great resource for my wine obsession! I was telling Melissa I just had some fabulous wine at the Butcher Shop yesterday after work.


            1. traveleatlove’s avatar

              I love the Butcher Shop! Thank you for visiting my blog :)


            2. Enrico’s avatar

              I have tried the Kluge before. berry nice indeed. thank you for sharing this post – now I know what to buy before the weather gets cold. I was not aware that Virginia was such a rising star in the wine world, but I will definitely be on the look out for some of these in future. such great price points.


            3. May Ling Wu’s avatar

              I didn’t know VA was big on wine! Great post!


            4. Kristin’s avatar

              I loved Keswick winery, i still have my wine glass in my cabinets!


            5. Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers’s avatar

              This year’s (July 2011) Wine Bloggers conference will be held in Charlottesville VA!! If your blog focuses on wine, it’s definitely a worthwhile experience. Virginia was chosen for its burgeoning wine industry. Check it out, and hope to see everyone there!


            6. Julie’s avatar

              Love VA wines–we did Unicorn and a few in that area! So fun to have something on the east coast!


            7. Daisy’s avatar

              such a fun post! i love a pink bubbly for t-day dinner (my wine guy recommended that to me last year)


            8. Alison’s avatar

              I had no idea Virginia produced that much wine! The more you know :)


            9. Grace’s avatar

              I love discovering new wine regions! I definitely did not know that Virginia offered such a wide variety of grapes!


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