Monday, August 3, 2009

Day Trip to CrossKeys Vineyards – Great Virginina Cabernet Franc

After lunch we drove to the nearest winery, CrossKeys Vineyards ( in Harrisonburg, and had a delightful tasting. The winery is very impressive with a large stone courtyard and beautiful cream stucco buildings. It is surrounded by vineyards – all with vertical shoot positioning (VSP) and 8 by 4 feet spacing. They have 29 acres, and produce 5500 cases of estate wine. It was a rather crowded tasting room for a Monday afternoon, and while there we couldn’t help but overhear how many people came in asking for their sweet wines. It appears that Virginia wine drinkers have a sweet tooth, because we did encounter sweet wines at every winery we visited and on the grocery store shelves – along with many fruit wines as well. I was impressed that they are trying to cater to all types of customers, and most every place we visited was friendly, relaxed and casual. We tried 7 wines at CrossKeys and found them all to be well-crafted, but our favorites were:

2008 Fiore CrossKeys – a delightful rose of Cabernet Franc that was flying off the shelf. They sold several cases while we were there and were running out of stock. It had a lovely berry nose and creamy mouthfeel with raspberry and pomegranate on the palate. Though it ended with 1% RS, it was still quite refreshing. I could see why it was selling so well ($16.50).

2007 Cabernet Franc CrossKeys – this was a lovely spicy fruity cabernet franc – just how it should taste. Both Mike and I were delighted with it, and bought a bottle. Plum, spicy and earthy nose; medium bodied; plum and blackberry on palate; good acid. $21.

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