Discover Monticello

When I received the invite for the “Discover Monticello” wine tasting event, I thought it would be an opportune time to invite a few wine newbies. Not only would I take the opportunity to introduce everyone to Virginia wine, but also educate my friends about the different varieties and styles of wine helping put Virginia on the global wine map. I started this site with the sole purpose to educate and raise awareness to local wine. So without further adieu, I introduce you to my first guest blogger, Michele Carroll. A blogger, small business owner, and good friend, Michele has a passion for writing and a growing interest in local wine.

Michele Carroll (
Michele Carroll (

Hello, my name is Michele Carroll and I originally hail from the Hudson Valley area of New York State. While I have often enjoyed wine from New York, Washington and California, I have never had the opportunity to try Virginia wines, so when my friends Brian and Jessica invited me to the Discover VA Wines live Twitter Tasting hosted by My Vine Spot this past Monday, I was very enthusiastic!

That being said, I by no means consider myself an expert on wines…in fact I’d call myself a newbie. When Brian asked me to guest blog about the event, I tried to argue my way out of it. I thought I could never write intelligently about wines, but he insisted, “You’re exactly the kind of person I’m looking for…someone who is a newcomer, especially to Virginia wines. I’m looking for unbiased opinion.” So here I am.

When I arrived at their house, Brian had all the glasses out and polished. His wife Jessica served the most fantastic spread of delicious cheeses, organic fruits and crusty crackers, breads and olives. The lineup included six bottles from the Monticello Wine Trail. I was excited as I have visited Monticello and love the Charlottesville area.

First up on the list was a 2007 sparkling SP Brut Rose from Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard in Albemarle County. I loved this wine! The color of it was like the final moments of a sunset sky…a gorgeous rosy, peach hue. The clarity was superb. The aromas were fruity…strawberries, cherries and a slight floral note. The finish was crisp, neither too sweet nor too dry. As I sipped I could totally envision this wine being served at a celebratory event like a wedding or an anniversary party.

The second pour was a 2009 Viognier from Keswick Vineyards. As I inhaled this wine in the glass, pictures of a grassy meadow came immediately to mind; indeed I picked up grassy notes, along with melon and lemon. The color was a clear pale straw color. This wine has a full body with a round finish. It was my favorite pick of the whites.

Number three was a 2009 Chardonnay Reserve from Jefferson Vineyards. I also loved this wine; it was light and slightly sweet, not too heavy like some Chardonnays. The aromas were of apples, cinnamon and vanilla. I had a tough time deciding between this and the Keswick.

Fourth on the list was a 2009 Gewurztraminer from Afton Mountain Vineyards. This wine boasted a full body with pear, oak and earthy overtones. This wine was the favorite of my other newbie panel taster friend, Iris.

Now it was time for the reds. Fifth on the list was an excellent 2009 Seven Oaks Merlot from Blenheim Vineyards. I absolutely loved everything about this wine and it was my favorite of the reds. I was mesmerized by the color, like liquid rubies in the glass. This wine possessed beautiful clarity with notes of tobacco, pine and black cherry. I could totally imagine folks enjoying this wine by a cozy, crackling fire on Christmas Eve.

The final pour of the evening was the Mountfair Vineyards Wooloomooloo, a 2008 blend of 60% Petit Verdot, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The wine is deep and dark with tannins. It was not my favorite at the first sip, but as the wine sat in the glass, it opened up. The aromas reminded me of a dark loamy forest, with apple and moss notes. I think a more sophisticated palate would appreciate this wine. I can imagine it served with a hearty savory stew or roasted beef or pork loin with herbed potatoes and root vegetables and crusty bread. After a couple of glasses of this wine, you may even see the mythical spirit of the forest that the wine is named for!

My number one favorite pick of the night was the Keswick Viognier, followed by the Merlot, but all the wines in the lineup were top notch. It was hard to choose just one. Virginia wines have found a new fan in me. Thank you to The Other 46 for inviting me and hats off to My Vine Spot for choosing a great selection. Can’t wait until the next Twitter tasting!

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3 thoughts on “Discover Monticello

  1. Great blog… I like wine but don’t know much about it. Glad to see your suggestions and will definitely try…tks Michele!!!

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