The holiday season is in full swing and life is crazy for the blog masters, so we only have time for a brief mid month post.
FRUIT WINE.....two words that make many wine fanatics shudder. (Although last we checked, grapes are fruit....) Images of Manischewitz in strangely-shaped bottles or Arbor Mist are immediately conjured. Truth to be told, there are some very good non-grape wines out there - and Virginia has several wineries that offer them. And not all of them are Charms lollipop sweet........
Below are five Virginia wineries that are worth a visit, if you really want to dive into the surprising pleasures of fruit wine. One big bonus is fruit wines are typically less expensive than grape wines. And many of them are dry. And many of them will get the job done - whether it's experimenting with different foods, or drinking the holiday chaos (or blues) away.
1. HILL TOP BERRY FARM AND WINERY
This charming spot is located in the heart of Charlottesville wine country - the grape wineries are usually the destination for folks visiting this part of Virginia, but Hill Top Berry Farm is a nice way to start the day, or end the day. And they also make mead (honey wine), if you really want to be bold!
Visit their website and check out their selections.
2. PEAKS OF OTTER WINERY
Home of some truly unique wines. Chili wine? Pumpkin pie wine? A blend with tomatoes? Why not?
And three wineries that offer both grape and non-grape selections, which is a great compromise if you have a pure wine snob in tow...
3. BLUEMONT VINEYARD
Norton, Viognier, Cab Sauv. AND strawberry, blackberry and peach (actually the peach is blended with a unique grape from eastern Europe called rkatsiteli, which has surprisingly delicious results).
4. HIDDENCROFT VINEYARDS
Another Loudoun County winner. Clyde offers magnificent white and red grape wines, but also has a soft spot for blueberry, raspberry and blackberry (and hopefully soon, the return of his greatest non grape offering--sweet cherry).
5. MOUNTAIN COVE VINEYARDS
Mountain Cove Vineyards, between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, is the oldest winery in the Commonwealth - they opened their doors when Three Dog Night and The Carpenters were ruling the airwaves (that would be 1973). Their apple wine is heavenly, and their blackberry and peach goes down like liquid preserves.
Several other Virginia wineries are lightening up a bit regarding non-grape wines - popular spots like Fabbioli Cellars and North Mountain Vineyards in Loudoun County and the Shenandoah Valley, respectively. If a winemaker is passionate enough about a fruit wine, as Doug Fabbioli and Clyde Housel of Hiddencroft are, indulge in something different!