What do you get when you put forty plus wines together on a one page tasting sheet? Overwhelmed! My third stop along the Monticello Wine Trail was Horton Vineyards, located in Orange County, Virginia. Visitors are greeted by a castle-like winery and rows of manicured vines. Owner and winemaker Dennis Horton, dubbed the “Lone Rhone Ranger of the East”, is credited for planting and producing the first commercial Viognier in Virginia.
I have enjoyed Horton’s Viognier on several occasions (see my earlier post), and was excited to sample a few of their other offerings. Up first was the 2008 Vidal Blanc. Retailing for $10, the semi-dry white was crisp and refreshing. Of course, I couldn’t leave without tasting the newest vintage of Viognier, and was excellent as always. Before moving to the reds, I enjoyed a 20th Anniversary Roussanne Reserve and Sparkling Viognier, $20 and $25 respectively.
By now, the tasting room was filling up quickly, so I decided to limit my tasting to three reds, the 2005 Norton, the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc, and the 2008 Malbec. The Norton, which Horton was the first in Virginia to produce since Prohibition, underwhelmed. If it hadn’t been so busy, I would have requested a second pour from a new bottle. The Cab Franc and Merlot were enjoyable and represented good value at $20 and $15.
In summary, I recommend visitors spend the day at Horton and remember to rent a tour guide to help navigate the tasting sheet. Cheers!
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