After traveling for about an hour, we finally began to see signs for the wineries…first stop? Unicorn Winery. This quaint and secluded winery was surrounded by rolling hills, a pond and an endless amount of grape trees. We were kindly greeted by the server who generously poured 12 tastings that ranged from Voignier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc and Meritage. The tasting ended with the most delicious dessert wine, Obsidian, which was paired with chocolate morsels. My mouth was watering from the taste of chocolate covered cherries.
After leaving Unicorn Winery with three bottles in hand, we stopped by Gray Ghost Vineyards, an internationally acclaimed winery. The staff was very knowledgeable and provided the ultimate in Southern hospitality. Not only did the 11 wines taste lovely, the winery’s setting was absolutely immaculate – the interior was contemporary but did not lack charm…a perfect complement to the old world feel of the landscaping.
We left Gray Ghost Vineyards with three more bottles of wine and continued along the path until we reached Rappahannock Cellars, my hands-down favorite winery of the day. Originally from California, the family-owned business moved to Virginia 12 years ago and has been open to the public for seven years, according to the winery’s site.
During our tasting we were served European-style Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Bordeaux-style Meritage and Cabernet Sauvignon, to name a few. And the greatest part? The winery was completely family-owned and operated. We were served by Mary while her sister situated us and her brother poured for other tasters at the station next to us. Mary’s sister even rang us up at the register!
While at the winery, I tasted one of the best Merlots I have ever had. Upon leaving the winery, Chris and I both agreed that we would love to become members!
Our fourth stop of the day was at Chester Gap Cellars, a winery nestled at over 1,000 feet elevation overlooking the rolling hills. This winery was a bit on the new side and didn’t have many wines as part of their tasting package; however, the red wines that we did taste were absolutely amazing. Their 2006 Merlot was mouth-watering…needless to say, we left with plenty.
Because we were so enthralled by the view from the open-air porch, we bought a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and spent quite a while outside enjoying the warm sun and the great company.
Before heading home, we made one last stop at our fifth winery, Oasis Winery. Unfortunately, the family recently encountered turmoil and is in the midst of selling the winery (it’s going for $4.1 million…and takers?). Because of the impending sale, the winery’s crops seemed to look a bit neglected and many of their wines were sold out.
However, we did come across a tasty and refreshing blush which we enjoyed on the winery’s porch while taking in the views of the mountains.
We were sad to leave the area but excited when we returned home to find our back seat piled high with bottles upon bottles of wine. After looking at our pictures from the day (all of which can be found on my Flickr page), Chris and I agreed that many trips to the Shenandoah Valley will be taken in the future.