A couple of my friends and I decided to drive down to Chateau Morrisette! it was an hour drive of winding rounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway. After getting there exactly in time for the one o’clock tour, we met our tour guide Roberto.
At the beginning of our tour, we learned a little bit about the history of Chateau Morrisette. In 1978, David Morrisette planted the first vines. It wasn’t until 1982 that the first commercial wine was produced. About a decade ago, they expanded the wine facility. The two buildings (restaurant and wines shop/bar) were constructed out of salvaged timber.
Then, we walked around Chateau Morrisette to see the way the wine was made. We were shown the pressers (new and old). We learned the process of when the grapes come to the vineyard and go into the presser. The grapes are
pressed into juice that are then put into fermentation machines.
After, they are put into stainless steel and/or barrels depending on the wine. Red wine are put into barrels in order to obtain the flavors from the French Oak, while Whites are put into stainless steel vats. Seeing at this time I had only limited knowledge of wines, it was great to see and learn first hand. This visit has really impacted my interest in wine and has motivated me to learn a lot more.
We are unable to take a tour of the bottling area, because bottles were not stored at that location.
After we finished our tour, we went to the bar to try 13 wines, from a range of dry, off-dry, sweet, and fruit wines.
- 2010 Chardonnay: This wine is created through slow barrel fermentation and subsequent aging sur lies for 8 months resulting in a well-balanced and complex wine. It pairs well with crab, lobster and other rich seafood, especially with cream sauces; roasted poultry, mushroom dishes and sharp cheese. This Chardonnay had a light yellowish color and smelled sweet and had a slight oak scent. After tasting, it was a smooth yet crisp. I am not yet big into oaky Chardonnay’s, but its easier for me to pick the tastes in white wines.
- Independence: This wine is a blend of Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay, this refreshing dry white wine is packed with fruit characters of grapefruit and melon. This pairs great with fruit and cheeses. It smelled delicious and was definitely refreshing and crisp. This was an easy to drink wine, very good for first time wine drinkers.
- 2010 Chambourcin: This wine is extremely smooth and food friendly. It pairs well with grilled meats, sausages, roasted poultry, and dishes with mushrooms. Roberto mentioned that this was a good wine to have with chocolate. The wine was a brighter red, but was difficult for me to pick out the different aromas and tastes because of my unexperienced palate.
- 2009 Cabernet Franc: The wines silky tannic structure is augmented by small amounts of Petit Verdot and Tannat, and slowly faces into a warm, lingering finish. It is ideal with steaks, lamb, and mushroom dishes. This is another wine that also pairs well with chocolate. This bright red wine smelled subtle and good with nice scent of blackcherry. This was a pretty good wine overall.
- 2008 Merlot: This is a medium bodied wine with a velvet texture. It pairs well with lamb and mushroom dishes. The 2008 Merlot is blended with Chamboucin, a small amount of Cabernet Franc for depth and is finished with a bit of Tannat for some added structure. My family like Merlot so i have some familiarity with this drink, probably allowing me to enjoy the taste a little more. This dark brownish red wine smelled leathery to me and after tasting it i wasn’t as happy as i had hoped going into it.
- 2009 Sauvignon Blanc: This is one of the more widely produced and recognized wines. It is aged over fifteen months in oak barrels helping mature the tannins in this wine to a smooth, silky texture in the finish. Tannat, Merlot and a small portion of Cabernet Franc wines were married into the Cabernet Sauvignon for depth and complexity. This wine pairs well with dishes containing dark roux,mushrooms and beef. This bright red wine was my least favorite of the bunch. It smelled fruity and delicious but after tasting i can say that this was one of my least favorite wines.
- 2008 Petit Verdot: This was another wine that i did not particularly enjoy. The Petit Verdot is their premium wine at Chateau Morrisette. It is meant to be paired with grilled steak or sharp cheeses. This wine smelled strong of fruit, but was a little dry and tannic. If i had cheese this wine would be a lot better, because i would be allowed to more easily taste the fruits.
- 2010 Vidal Blanc: This was the first off-dry wine I tried. This medium-bodied and smooth wine is very food friendly and pairs well with a variety of grilled and roasted poultry and seafood. This very light yellow wine smelled fruity and after a taste had a strong flavor of lemon and grapefruit. It had a crisp clean acidic finish, which i enjoyed.
- Our Dog Blue: This popular white wine is a semi-sweet German based Reisling-Traminette blend, using Vidal Blanc and Petit Mensang for added depth. It should be served chilled fruit, cheeses fish, or spicy food. This wine was fruity without being heavily sugared, so smooth and deliciously fruity. This was one of there most popular bottles, and one fo my personal favorites.
- Sweet Mountain Laurel: This dessert wine is meant to be poured over fresh berries and sponge cake or in a blend with vanilla ice cream to help create a delicious and creamy smoothie. It was a sweeter wine with nice fruit aromas. I believe the sweetness of this wine makes it a popular wine among Americans. It almost tasted like juice!
- Red Mountain Laurel: This distinctive dessert wine is made from a blend of Native American grape varieties. It is a nice accompaniment for chocolate desserts, delicious poured over pound cake, or served as an aperitif. This pretty pink wine smelled the same ad the Sweet Mountain Laurel but was a lot more tart. There was not much difference in between this and the Sweet mountain except for the cherries flavors that came out and the less sugary component.
- 2010 Frosty Dog: Freezing resulted in a concentrated, aromatic juice, which when fermented became this sumptuous, complex dessert wine. This wine is technically not considered an iced wine because the grape juice was frozen rather than the grape. This wine along with many of the other sweet wines was one of my favorites. It wasn’t my favorite because of how sweet it was but the flavors of honey, mango and pear i could taste and smell.
- Blackberry Wine: This is the first fruit wine that the winery has started making. It was a nice orange-red color and smelled like blackberries. This was the last wine we tried, it was very sweet. A little to sweet for me, but it was a good complement when trying with the Merlot. It helped balanced the flavors.