Montpelier Wine Festival 2016 Rain or Shine

Montpelier-cover-photo

The rolling hills of the Piedmont and the history of Montpelier make this one of the more idyllic settings for showcasing our local wineries. I’ve been there in all kinds of weather, but this is a must for history buffs, wine lovers and gardening enthusiasts. This event is well organized and traffic flow is smooth. Wear your Wellies or rain boots (just in case) since the ground may be a bit mushy after all of our recent rain. Bring some camp chairs, you’ll want to be able to sit back a bit after walking the gardens and enjoy a nice Viognier or Cabernet Franc. For hikers, save your wine for the end of the day and head out on the Montpelier-Grelen Trail, MontpelierTrails, a 3.9 mile loop with 9 miles of trails to explore. The Governor designated this trail a “Virginia Treasure” and is a fun way to explore the historical grounds, mountain views and it links to the Grelen Nursery on the Grelen Farm. Grelen is another find and worthy of a separate blog post, family oriented, great gift shop and in season berry picking, plus a sand box for the little ones!

 

Don’t miss  visiting the Mansion at James Madison’s Montpelier, but allow extra time!  Mansion tour tickets will be discounted for festival attendees. Exchange Café, featuring BBQ Exchange barbecue, is available for lunches! Wineries that are featured are, of course, Barboursville and Horton Vineyards, as well as Cross Keys Vineyard, Well Hung Vineyard, Democracy Vineyard, Reynard Florence Vineyard, Delfosse Vineyards & Winery, Lazy Days Winery, Villa Appalachia, Kilaurwen Winery, Mattaponi Winery, Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery, Peaks of Otter Winery,  Lake Anna Winery, Jefferson Vineyards, Rockbridge Vineyard (blog post waiting in the wings) and Stone Mountain Vineyards plus even more!

 

Have Fun!

 

Delfosse

I shall be telling this with a sigh                         
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

…Robert Frost

I know this may be one of the most over used quotations, but it fits so perfectly that  I can’t resist.   For some unknown  reason I have procrastinated visiting Delfosse Winery in Nelson County, but after recently running into Yvette Okros, Tasting Room Manager for Delfosse, we decided to make it a priority.  With another winery also in mind, we travelled south on 151, the Rockfish Gap Turnpike,  toward Wintergreen.   We veered off at highway 6  in the direction of Delfosse Winery . Our GPS steered us left onto Old Roberts Mountain Road.  Surely, this wasn’t the way most people visit Delfosse!  Gravel road, rutted in many places and traversing over the crest of a small mountain?  Definitely this was the road less travelled by!

Arriving at our destination, we found a breath-taking Virginia valley flanked by European-style terraced vineyards. We were warmly welcomed by Yvette, who ushered us in and introduced us to the owner, Claude Delfosse.   Yvette arranged a table for us to sample wines and get to know Claude a bit. It was nice to have the opportunity to casually hang out with Claude and ask questions about wine making at our leisure.  

 Claude Delfosse,  a Fulbright Scholar,  decided to “take the road less travelled by”  himself  when he veered away from his professional career of Aeronautical Engineering.  French by birth,  he chose to make the U.S. his home and settle in Virginia .   He was relaxed and pleasant, sipping wine with us and expounding on the attributes of some of his wines. He lights up with a big smile when reflecting on some of his award-winning wines.  I really liked the way Claude named some of  the wines after his family members.  One stand-out wine, Reserve d’ Oriane, was named after his daughter.  A complex blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Viognier and Petit Manseng.  The Merlot was excellent also, but Claude seemed most proud of the 2006 Meritage , a Double Gold Medal winner at the Monticello Wine Cup!  We clearly agreed!  We enjoyed homemade crepes along with our wine for an added treat!

We closed out the day and headed out to explore the grounds. Not the best day, cloudy and overcast before bud break, so no lush vines to photograph. The winery sits at the foot of a hill across from a pond with a quaint bridge for photo ops.  A  generous elegant patio area  expands the dining space outdoors and features  a whimsical  frog sculpture fountain at the center.  This must be a wonderful spot in warm weather and we plan to spend some time here enjoying wine with friends in the Spring and Summer!  

Perched above the pond and winery and just below the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard is a precious log cabin surrounded by perennial gardens and a flagstone patio. What a heavenly spot for a weekend getaway!  The cabin is perfect for a couple and you can invite friends or host a gathering from this vantage point. During the day, take advantage of the miles of hiking trails surrounding the property.

I can only say that I’m sorry I have missed out on this winery in the past and will rectify that in the future!

I highly recommend the drive south from Charlottesville on 29 with Delfosse as your final destination and enjoy the hospitality of Mr. Delfosse, Yvette and Dave ( our wine server who was knowledgeable and unintimidated while  pouring in front of his employer!).

Welcome to Delfosse!