Saturday, April 15, 2017

Winter Winery Visit

Virginia, USA is a relatively temperate state, especially when compared to NE Ohio, where we have lived most of our lives.  One thing we have enjoyed since moving here is the warmer winter temperatures, the remarkable hiking trails, combined with the beautiful local wineries.  In late December, after a morning of hiking along the York River, we stopped to enjoy a beverage at the Gauthier Vineyard in New Kent, VA.  The name intrigued me, as Mr. Gauthier happened to be the name of my old French Professor in College. It turns out, Gauthier Vineyard is a relative newcomer to the Virginia wine country.  They planted their first 3,200 vines in 2012 and generated their first production in 2014.  We visited in December 2016, so they had only been established for a couple of years by this time. 

It was just past noon and we had all worked up a thirst and an appetite.
Stepping into the tasting room, we were met by two elderly gentleman, already deep into a day of pleasure.  As we chatted, it came out that they were both retired and worked at the winery for fun.  It is locally owned, by a retired military couple, and apparently they were wonderful employers.  The two men joked and poured wine, never once remarking on the early hour. 

After our first glass, we took our bottle to the deck outside, to enjoy the fresh air and the woodsy view.  We were also promised a dozen fresh, free oysters with every bottle we purchased.  That was to be our lunch that day. 
 We started with their fresh, chilled rose, named Aimee Renee Rose and bottled in 2014.  Not one to drink rose usually, I had low expectations.  We were surprised positively by the semi-dry wine, it was not simple and sweet, like many other roses.  This rose' is  from 100% Chambourcin grapes that were whole cluster pressed to obtain the perfect color of a rose.  The color was quite perfectly lovely. 
They age it in neutral oak barrels for six months, cold settled and then bottled with minimal filtering.  This process assures the wine maintains the delicate quality of the Chambourcin grape.
 As we enjoyed our bottle, other guests began to wander in.  The allure of the view and the smell of the roaster brought them to the outside deck.
 Oysters were served, raw on the halfshell with cocktail sauce.  Perfect pairing with this delicate wine.
The oysters were amazing!  Farm raised in the nearby Rappahannock River, they were huge for this time of year.  Creamy, smooth and slightly briny, they paired quite well with the semi-dry Rose.
 Look at those plump, juicy oysters!  Is it no wonder that I have started to call them J'Oysters?
 We met one of the owners as we strolled through the grounds.  Her dog met our dog.
 In addition to the bucolic setting, the winery/working farm is dog friendly.  All in all, it made for a nice mid-day break.  A beautiful, serene setting, good food, good wine, and just six miles from I-64.  We will be back this summer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment