The end of 2012 brought a few wild weekend trips in Virginia Wine Country. We expanded our ventures beyond just our usual area of visitation. The plan was to hit the southern part of the state as well as the Shenandoah Valley. We tried to visit as many of the wineries as we could each day. As I will be covering our travels through the Shenandoah Valley in the coming weeks, I decided to follow the write-up on Barren Ridge with a look at Bluestone Vineyard, the final stop on the Shenandoah Valley trip. With daylight dwindling and most of the wineries closing, we went to Bluestone to take part in their standard tasting. For $5 you are able to taste 7 whites and 4 reds. For $7, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2011 Estate Grown Blue Ice wines are included. I had recently tasted the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon in the Governor’s Case Tasting at the Washington Wine Academy a couple weeks prior, so the standard tasting sufficed for this visit.
So how about a little history on how Bluestone became Bluestone? Curt and Jackie Hartman, with the help of their friends, Phil and Lois Kreider (owners of Misty Ray Winery), began planting vines on the hill above Jordan Stretch in 2003 for personal use. Eventually, they formed a business and began planting 4,000 red grape vines on the south side of the property. By winter 2009, the north and east sides of the property were covered with an additional 4,000 vines of white varieties. All of this was done with the assistance of friends and a Vineyard Team consisting of Lee Hartman and Ben Geiser. Later that year, two more additions to the Bluestone Team came in the form of consultants Chris Hill (Vineyard Manager) and renowned winemaker Michael Shaps. In 2010, an additional 1,000 vines were planted on the west side of the property and, in a matter of just a couple of years, Bluestone went from yielding 500 cases of wine per year to approximately 2,000.
When you have the chance to visit you will notice the tremendous house at the top of the hillside with vines completely surrounding the property and just past the Vineyard is the newly built Winery facility. After parking, you will approach the tasting room which resembles a strip mall shop. The tasting room has two long tasting bars with knick-knacks and assorted local products for sale to patrons. The right side corner contains a couple of bistro tables offering a view of the winemaking facility. While they do offer some area on the side to enjoy a picnic outdoors, the winery seemed, at least to me, to be more focused on making quality wines than anything else.
We began our tasting with the whites and what jumped out to me was their 2010 Chardonnay. Bright fruit aromas add just a dash of oak on the nose while passion fruit jump starts your taste buds. Then they are tamed by soft nutty and creamy flavor and texture, delivering your palate to a smooth yet not overly heavy finish. Bluestone also offers a 2011 Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc ($18.50) that carries a lot of textbook Sauvignon Blanc qualities but with a Virginia spin. Scents of grassy citrus notes greet your nose while bright lime and a touch of tropical fruit carry the palate finishing with a zesty punch on the finish. As for the red varieties, my top choice was the Quartz Hill Red ($18.50), which is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin. Very aromatic with big floral characteristics and tart cherry notes, while chocolate and cherry pie flavors collide on the palate tapering off to subtle hints of espresso on the finish. Bluestone offers some very approachable wine, more so in the red category than white (Chardonnay excluded).
Other Tasting Notes:
- 2011 Vidal Blanc ($15.50): Citrus popping on the nose; crisp apple with lime undertones, high acidity with a clean dry finish
- 2010 Viognier ($16.50): floral and citrus aromas give way to lemon and pear across the palate finishing crisp and refreshing
- 2011 Traminette ($17.50): tropical fruit on the nose with a touch of honeysuckle and spice in addition on the palate, finishing spicy
- Beau ($15.50): floral (lilac) and apricot aromas with subtle flavors of apricot meshing with a touch of honey — finishing smooth and sweet
- 2011 Rose ($16.50): cranberry qualities dominate from start to finish with tapering acidity towards the dry finish
- 2010 Merlot ($23.50): clove and black cherry mesh with soft tannins and a smooth medium bodied finish
- 2010 Cabernet Franc ($24.50): cherry, plum, and pepper all fight for position on the nose while smoky bacon and subtle black fruit carry your taste buds to a peppery scintillating finish
- Crooked and Weedy ($15.50): This blend of Pinot Noir and Chambourcin bring spice and red fruit aromas that are complimented by blackberry and cherry flavors finishing with a buttery texture on the finish
It was a nice cap to a long day trip down in the Shenandoah Valley, and a good decision at that. Be sure to visit Bluestone Vineyard and make sure you spend the extra couple of dollars for the Reserve Tasting to give the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon a try while you are down there. As always, be sure to mention reading about them on the Virginia Pour House Wine Blog.
- Red Wine: 3.00 / 5
- White Wine: 3.00 / 5
- Experience: 3.5/5
- Views/Ambiance: 3.00/5
- Overall Rating: 3.125/5 Corks
4828 Spring Creek Road
Bridgewater, VA 22812