Thursday, July 12, 2012

Winery Spotlight: Sugarleaf Vineyards

Located off state route 20, south of Charlottesville on the way to Scottsville, Sugarleaf Vineyards is just one of many locations that makes the Monticello Wine Trail so special. An extremely narrow gravel road will take you to a grove situated between giant oak trees, mountains, and a large pond. (This narrow road will test your winery hopping mettle, so as the Boy Scouts once said, "Be Prepared.") Sugarleaf started about four years ago, and their wines at one time were above the norm in price. But now seasoned, the vineyard owners dropped their prices a bit to compete with other neighboring wineries, but their quality has not suffered. This is still the same incredible wine served several years ago in the Obama White House. The chardonnay is crisp with a hint of oak, but not overly oaked. Imagine a dry wine version of butter pecan ice cream, minus the sugar, and you wouldn't be too far off. Their vidal blanc, served extra cold, is full of citrus flavor and perfect for these hot July afternoons. As for the reds, not an under average one in the bunch. Our favorite was the pure petit verdot, with licorice and raisin notes. Don't overlook Sugarleaf on your next visit to the more well-known spots in this area of Charlottesville (First Colony, Cardinal Point, Jefferson). Buy a few bottles, admire the favorite tree of their parted former winemaker Dan Neumeister (who tragically died in a motorcycle crash a few years ago), and stay for the afternoon. Enjoy this video, with a cameo from the Sugarleaf resident dog:

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