My goal at last weekend’s Viginia Wine Expo was to taste wines from many of the wineries I’d heard about (I hit 15 wineries and sampled 88 wines) and find some favorites (I did!). Yesterday’s post covered Blenheim Vineyards and DuCard Vineyards. Here are three more favorites.

*Afton Mountain Vineyards: On the southeastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits one of Virginia’s pioneer farm wineries with the oldest vines dating back to the late 1970s. I had a great chat with owner Tony Smith about their wines and their recent 2011 Governor’s Cup Gold Medal for their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve (picked up a bottle for $25… its on my wine rack to open in 6 months). They have a great selection of 15 wines including a Pinot Noir, a Sparkling Wine and even a Gewürztraminer (typical white German grape) and a Sangiovese (Chianti red grape). At the event I enjoyed their…

  • Cabernet Franc 2009: Also a medal winner, 2011 Silver, this medium bodied red has the nose of cherries and tastes of dark cherry and currants. $22
  • Steel Chardonnay: Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, this Chardonnay is crisp, delicate and fruity. $19

You can purchase their wines online or visit their gorgeous vineyard and tasting room outside of Charlottesville.

* Rosemont Vineyards and Winery: The Rose Family estate has been farming since 1858 and in 2003 planted 22 acres of grapes. By fall 2008, they opened the doors of Rosemont of Virginia Winery. Their lively booth at the Expo was offering samplings of 8 wines (7 of which are award winners) and I found some really nice ones.

  • Pinot Grigio: Being a Pinot Grigio fan I enjoyed the tasting and took home a bottle. I really liked the aromas of green apple and citrus with taste of both and a splash of honey. It drank more like a Sauvignon Blanc to me. This Silver Medal Winner at the Virginia Wine Lovers Classic is $17.
  • Meritage: This blend of traditional Bordeaux grapes (52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot) won Best in Show at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition last summer. The vanilla nose and flavor are paired with cedar, tea and cocoa…very nice!

Rosemont is located in LaCrosse, Virginia close to the North Carolina a border. Order wines from them directly to ship to Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

* Virginia Wineworks: These wines are made from 100% Virginia grapes and have been created to meet the need for value-oriented wines.  Not only are they good price points but they are good wines! Wineworks is also home to Michael Shaps Wines. They are located in the former Montdomaine winery south of Charlottesville. The other cool thing is they are a “Custom Crush” facility allowing individuals, grape growers and wineries to use Wineworks expertise and facility to create wines for their own brand.

  • 2009 Wineworks White, Viognier: I brought home a bottle of this bright floral and citrusy blend of 75% Viognier and 25% Vidal Blanc. Made in stainless steel tanks its crisp and perfect for springtime. $16
  • 2009 Wineworks Bag in a Box, Cabernet Franc: It’s Virginia’s first box wine and this one was tasty! Deep color, aromas of dark blackberry and currants with tastes of berries and vanilla. $30 (equivalent of about 4 bottles)

I’ll share more of my Virginia grape finds in the coming weeks. Cheers!