Jul 2, 2006

Indulgence in Old Virginny

To the commonwealth dominion once more, muffler and all. Tasted Chrysalis, Piedmont, and Linden. Thumbs up, down, and up again. In the middle a venture to Middleburg downtown, a most charming place with a deli called Salamander owned by the woman who started BET (Sheila Johnson), rumored to be the 2nd most wealthy woman in the USA (behind Oprah?).

Bunches soaking rays at Linden Vineyards. They let you park right next to the vines, so I was able to snap this shot. Viognier Grapes? The papers say these get along well with Virginia soil. I've never visited Horton, but found this article interesting:
That avid wine lover Thomas Jefferson dreamed of re-creating the great wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux in Virginia. He never did so because he couldn't get French grapes to grow at Monticello. Dennis Horton has gone about things differently.

Horton, whose vineyards are rooted less than 20 miles north of Jefferson's estate near Charlottesville, set about in 1977 to find out which grapes would grow. He planted and tore up cabernet sauvignon vines. He planted and tore up Riesling and merlot. He planted and tore up at various times Semillon and sauvignon blanc and zinfandel and pinot noir, among others.

"I've torn up more vines than most people have ever planted," he says. "The pinot noir I made tasted like something that ought to run my car."

But his passion for viticultural experimentation has borne, well, fruit. Horton Vineyards is now one of the largest in the state, and it produces what some have called the crown jewel of Virginia wines: a heady-scented, peach and vanilla-flavored white wine that writer Paul Lukacs describes as "a bright June morning in a glass." Though few Americans have ever heard of Horton's Viognier, and fewer still, he says, can pronounce it (VEE-on-yay), it is so prized by aficionados that it's sold in restaurants as distant as Manhattan and Napa Valley, Calif.


Salamander

For dinner, lucky me stopped in Old Town Alexandria's Chart House for oysters and a sunset. After dinner we strolled off the food with this view of the river:

A great indulgent day.

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