This was exactly how my Saturday unfolded over the New Year's holiday. Charlottesville had recently received a near-record snowfall - up to 24 inches in some of the outlying areas, but mostly 18" - 24" around town.
As we drove into the parking lot of the Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery, there were still spots of snow resident in the yard and throughout the vineyard. Thankfully, the winery was situated on a slight hill and the wan winter sun had melted most of the snow away by the time we arrived. Prince Michel had a most impressive public area - it gave the impression that it was rather new. But Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery has been around for about 26 years. It's located in Leon, Virginia, about 30 miles outside of Charlottesville. If it's not the first Virginia winery, it's one of the first. (Though, now that I write that, I realize that Thomas Jefferson started a vineyard at Monticello many many years ago, so obviously Prince Michel is not the first winery in Virginia. It is one of the most widely distributed though.)
We entered the winery with the clear intent to enjoy a wine tasting. I mean seriously, I had just spent more than three hours "reminiscing" with various in-laws, some whom I had only met once in my oh-so-many-years of married life. I was ready to taste, to savor, to (possibly) get a little buzz even.... And, joy of joys, Prince Michel offered two different wine tastings - one was free and featured their less expensive wines, and the other one was a nominal $1. After we wandered through their well-appointed gift shop, we scoped out the best spot at the tasting bar and nonchalantly cruised over. We plopped down our dollar and proceeded to taste wines from both flights. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were several wines from each selection that appealed to me.
As is usual with a wine tasting, we began with their whites. The first was a completely unremarkable Pinot Grigio, 2008. I'm still looking for that Pinot Grigio that will make me want to spend money and time on it.
From there we moved on to a very nice 2006 Chardonnay. It was rich and creamy with a strong vanilla scent. It would be very nice with rich cheeses.
Their Prince Michel Cabernet Sauvignon is my wine of choice for today though. On a cold, snowy night, with big snowflakes falling outside, and a warm fire crackling in the fireplace inside, I like to drink a hearty glass of red wine.
I opened this particular bottle last night and enjoyed a couple of glasses over an hour or two. They were so very good! Sometimes, I'll enjoy a wine tasting so much, I'll get carried away and buy too many bottles of wine, bring them home and find that when I drink them at home, they're just not the same. I'm sure a wine expert or a psychiatrist could explain that.