If you haven’t heard, which a few people haven’t, the new must-go-to winery is Glass House Winery in Free Union, Virginia. It is not hard to find, head out Garth Road towards the Blue Ridge Mountains turn right on Free Union and follow the curvy road past Buck Mountain Road. When you see Buck Mountain to your right, look left and there it is! Bring your wine tasting picnic fare with you and your camera, this is a real treat! I wrote about Glass House in the winter months, vowing to return when the weather warmed up. Glass House, along with Stinson Vineyards (Opening June 16th), White Hall and Mountfair comprise The Appellation Trail. In 2012, Moss will open and join the group. The trail was organized for ease of wine tasting afficionados to enjoy picturesque country roads and target a doable number of wineries on a weekend getaway. It is also a great marketing idea.This was going to be a “Glass House Revisited” post to see how things were growing in the wine business for the Sanders and how the plants were performing in the conservatory. Ominous clouds, a brief rain shower, some unexpected real estate business handled on the side of Free Union Road and suddenly the clouds magically disappeared. My friend and I thought it might be fun to sit inside Glass House Winery’s conservatory and watch the rain trickle down the glass panes and enjoy some of the newer wines offered at the winery. But no thunderstorms this Sunday afternoon! Blue skies and perfectly comfortable temperatures allowed us the option of wine sipping inside the conservatory or outside on the patio.
The first nice surprise for me was running into Paulette Musselman, who was meeting, greeting and pouring at the tasting bar. She has a sparkling personality which fits in well at Glass House! She started out as a repeat visitor and now works there for fun! We have been crossing paths for some time now on Facebook, and have similar interests (wine, photography and people) but had never met. What fun to finally meet face to face, it felt like meeting a friend from a former life! Everyone who works at Glass House is outgoing and seems to love being there and it the feeling is contagious. Definitely look for Paulette when you visit, you can’t miss her pretty smile!
Peeking around the door into the lush green house of the conservatory we found Madeline Holly Sales and Humberto Oliveira Sales, setting up the sound equipment to entertain the fortunate guests! This was my second surprise!
He is originally from Brazil and plays Classic guitar and Flamenco. Madeline sings in Portuguese, English and Spanish! They perform as a duo and also as a group called Beleza Brasil. Beleza ( beautiful in Brazilian Portuguese) is the perfect word to describe this couple and the music they make together! Their music is a blend of North and South American styles and self-described as Funkalicious Samba Soul! By the way, they will be performing at Fridays After Five at the Ntelos Pavillion on June 10th! I recorded a bit of the music for you to sample, sorry you can’t do the same with the wine!
We returned to the tasting bar where we ran into Jeff and Michelle Sanders, proud owners of Glass House. They were preparing to enjoy the music and it was nice to hear that Michelle’s gourmet chocolates are a resounding success and she has all she can do to keep up with the demand. Dogbert their puppy is growing fast and I barely recognized her! She hangs out, staying cool laying on the floor and sniffing the air when visitors arrive. We settled in for a tasting and tried all the wines available. Still on hold for the Barbera which will be available in the Fall.
We started with the Pinot Gris which was nice and light as it should be. My friend selected it to enjoy while listening to the sophisticated vocals drifting in to the tasting room. We moved on to the Viognier, the nose was incredible on this white, and if I recall correctly, I picked up luscious banana and citrus on this one. That was my favorite! The third white that we tried was made from Traminette grapes and had 3% residual sugar. I decided this, in keeping with our tropical theme, would be ideal for a white Sangria. I recommend white peaches from Chiles Peach Orchard, some fresh rasperries and green grapes to make an eye appealing Sangria. Just buy a CD from Beleza Brasil and let the dancing begin!
We followed with the reds, a limited selection, starting with the C-villian, a blend of Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc and Merlot which had a wonderful nose as well. The Twenty First is a Meritage and was good but seemed like it needed to lay down more to develop more body, we thought it might get even better over time. We bought it the last time we were there and remembered it was quit good. The most unique wine was the dessert wine, Megglio del Sesso, and if you don’t like dessert wines you still must give it a try! You can smell and taste the chocolate and when paired with Michelle’s chocolate caramel and sea salt, you have a winning combination! Yummy!!
Glass House has music on Friday evenings, bring your designated driver, the roads are dark and winding and you need to be sober to drive home. I hope you enjoy Glass House as much as we did!