This was a weekend of celebrations. You see, NovaWineBlog’s Son graduated from high school Thursday! Hooray! It’s the culmination of a long journey for him. As a result, Sister, Favorite Brother-In-law (FBI), and nephew came for a visit. And when that happens, well, there will be winery visits too!
The weekend started with a great dinner at Clarity in Vienna on Friday, and we had a fantastic Rose while FBI had a great malbec too. Husband had the standard Tito’s and Tonic, because he isn’t rolling with the grape lovers right now. *sigh* If you haven’t been to Clarity, I can honestly say it’s my #1 NoVa restaurant right now. The food is literally exquisite, and this time I got the tasting menu, which were creative inventions from the kitchen. They offer a wine pairing with it too, but we didn’t go there this time. While it’s expensive, it is well worth saving up and skipping some Chipotle and Cava to get here for dinner. I love it.
So we started our winery journeys on Saturday with a picnic plan. We grabbed takeout chicken and headed to Walsh where we spent an awesome day. We stayed on the patio in the shade with a great breeze. We started off with the Pet Nat Rose (Plateau) and ate our lunch and then dove into the tastings. The patio is such a great spot to enjoy lunch and look out over the Viognier and Petit Manseng vines. Sarah even came out to chat for a bit, which was awesome.
Nephew and I enjoyed Russ Mountain Merlot while everyone else went through the tasting menu. Sister most loved the En Passant blend, while FBI preferred the tannat. That is a really stunning tannat. We grabbed a few bottles and headed out. We debated between hitting up Bluemont (which we heard would be super-busy) and Arterra and decided to do the scenic, windy drive to Arterra.
Once there it was an easy decision to buy a Chardonnay and a Cab Franc and split them between the three of us at a picnic table. Sadly, the beloved Chenin Blanc is now sold out, so I’ve got to make do with the couple of bottles I have left and long for next year’s release…..
Favorite brother in law was focused on franc, and we enjoyed the chardonnay. We ended up finishing both bottles and heading on our way back home.
Sunday was another day with a crabcake plan. We decided to go to Glen Manor, as Linden does not allow parties over 4. Husband even graced us with his presence and did the full tasting at the bar! It was a long drive out there, but we did the full tasting and enjoyed each wine. Everyone felt the dry petit manseng was the winner, and there was a big split for the reds. Husband and dad liked the Vin Rouge the best. FBI preferred the cab franc and St Ruth. Sister and nephew seemed to like them all.
So off it was to chairs under the shade with a vin rouge and petit manseng to enjoy the breeze and good wine, while we ate some cheese and crackers and trail mix we brought along.
I have to say that I enjoyed all the wines much more this second trip. I did appreciate the cab franc more this time, whereas last time I was less a fan. Hodder Hill was of course great too. I ended up bringing the petit manseng and a petit verdot home, to add to the collection for the petit verdot face-off I plan to host in the near future.
But best of all, FBI decided to buy a case to have sent home with his son. This was particularly exciting, because it conferred a year of club membership unto me, which was a nice surprise. It means free tastings and invites to some special events. I’m hoping to get invited to a barrel tasting there sometime. They’ve got some great stuff.
Crab Cakes at Talk of the Mountain Seafood were up next, and that was a huge hit, with everyone loving their crab. For a counter in a gas station, this place deserves three michelin stars. Fer real. And the hush puppies…….
Finally, our party split up so Husband could care for dogs and do work work, so dad, sister, FBI and I headed to La Grange, since they like La Grange. Wine Blog Friend Alex was at the outside bar, and she gave us some good tastings and then sent us home with a bottle of meritage, which we fully intended to split that night.
I love these kinds of weekends, because I got to share some really special wineries with family, and that always makes me happy. These wineries all have special places in my heart right now, and are favorites you’ll read about a lot this summer here as I go one by one through their wines.
Favorite wines during family visit:
Greenhill Reserve Blanc de blancs
Arterra Cab Franc
Walsh Pet Nat
Glen Manor Petit Manseng
Glen Manor Vin Rouge
Can’t wait for FBI to send his son back to retrieve his case of Glen Manor 🙂 If it’s still here……