With the fall foliage on the cusp of it’s color peak, most tourists and native Virginians are looking to enjoy gorgeous views, brilliant fall colors and, of course, great Virginia wine. My latest trip to the Charlottesville area opened my eyes to one of the BEST views that I have encountered in Virginia in a long time. This vineyard, Stone Mountain Vineyards, located just north of Charlottesville captured the fall foliage and my breathe at the same time. I’m not going to lie, the dirt road to the winery at the top of the mountain, is beyond gorgeous but treacherous as well. So be sure to use caution when weaving left and right up the road. As you approach the parking lot, you will find yourself hitting the brake pedal hard and gasping at the amazing views that are the back drop to the ski lodge style observation deck, also known as the tasting room.
As you enter the tasting room, you are greeted by glimmering wood floors, ceilings, and furniture. To your right is the tasting bar, while the remainder of the room has scattered rocking chairs and a couple of tables. A nice fireplace sits in the center of the room while a few exits line the back of the room and lead out onto the observation deck. I could sit there for hours and then speak in detail about just how gorgeous the views are but I think that the pictures could do it better justice, but no better justice then seeing them for yourself!
Enough ranting about the views, how are the wines? Well, for a few dollars you can enjoy almost 12 wines on the tasting sheet. The odd thing about Stone Mountain is that they don’t include prices for wine on their tasting sheet (or website) so be sure to ask. I, however, didn’t feel like asking about every bottle so I will just ballpark it and say that it’s most likely 20-30 dollars per bottle, depending on the variety. My favorites? Lets start with the 2011 Chardonnay Reserve. Aromas of oak and tropical fruit waft across the nose, while that classic, buttery, citrus flavor provides the perfect bath for the palate with fresh acidity and a round and intensely flavorful finish. The 2008 Cabernet Franc was also a winner in my book and I enjoyed it so much that I brought a bottle home with me. Big peppery notes and a touch of cedar on the nose with big, black cherry flavors that are balanced by light green pepper and a kiss of cedar on the finish.
Looking for a more powerful red than the Cabernet Franc? How about the 2007 Petit Verdot? Dark, inky colors and bold aromas of tobacco, leather and berry set the foundation to this bold and dry red. A burst of blackberry, tamed by light pepper notes with a lengthy supple dark fruit finish seal the deal for Stone Mountain’s red wine offerings. The last of their tasting is the Maquillage, a non-vintage, white blend that offers honeysuckle and apricot to the nose and big, sweet apricot flavors that give a honey-textured mouth feel. This wine would be perfectly paired with a slice of angel food cake. Overall, the wines were pretty good. We decided to grab a glass and head out onto the observation deck and take in the expansive views of the changing foliage. My glass of choice was the Petit Verdot, which mellowed in the glass in the crisp autumn air. If you are in the Charlottesville area, this is a must visit.
Full Tasting Sheet:
- 2011 Rose: light fruit aromas with subtle floral notes on the palate and a bone dry finish
- 2011 Viognier: honeysuckle and apricot notes flutter over the nostrils while apricot drives the car straight towards flavor country with light, smooth citrus flavors, and a slightly tart finish
- Bacon Hollow Sunset: green pepper and tobacco aromas hit the nose hard adding dark berry and tobacco flavors on the palate — while finishing dry with a touch of green pepper for good measure
- 2009 Merlot: still bearing some youthful characteristics with dark berry dominating the nose and incorporating leather notes as a base — as for the palate, I picked up some black cherry and much more of the dark berry and leather while the finish was surprisingly short lived
- 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: a faint hint of mocha and black cherry pick up steam from the nose to the finish, adding peppery and tobacco notes to the medium length finish
- 2008 Meritage: i’ve noticed a pattern across all of their reds and that’s the presence of pepper, in this case white pepper masks light tobacco and dark fruit aromas, while adding black cherry into the mix, that finishes with a tannic pop
- Bacon Hollow Revenuer’s Select White Wine: honey and peach, that is all one needs to know signing up to try this wine — HEAVY peach and honey aromas and flavors burst across the nose and palate and carry intense flavors well past the finish
Overall Rating: 3/5 Corks
Stone Mountain Vineyards
1376 Wyatt Mountain Road
P.O. Box 7, Dyke, VA 22935