I have blogged about a few of our vineyards in the past and after a recent visit to Cross Keys Vineyard up in the Shenandoah Mountains, I feel it is high time to blog about them again.
First, let’s get through the obligatory disclaimers. There’s a whole post about this, but let me summarize: I receive no compensation, no remuneration, no kickbacks, no swag, no nothing for blogging about commercial establishments. If I recommend it, that means I would take my in-laws there. If the product or place is less than good, I usually give it another try at a later date, then if it’s still bad, I just won’t talk much about it. Like mom said…if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.
Back to the Cross Keys. Located near Harrisonburg, VA, this is a relatively new winery. They have tours and tastings, all led by knowledgeable staff. It’s still a small operation, so the tour didn’t take too long, which was fine with us since that put us closer to the tasting. Also, as the many weddings scheduled will attest, the Mediterranean style architecture is something to behold!
I had the “Reds” tasting and my lovely wife tried many of the white wines. You could also do a full tasting and sample everything. Your choice. It was at this point that I realized that the owners had hired two excellent vintners, one from Cognac, France and one from South Africa. This is not what I expected to find in the middle of the Virginia highlands. The whole experience was like stumbling upon a great microbrewery; this being great wine that only a handful of people have tasted. This wine is now at the top of my wishlist. We ended up taking a six-pack with us. I’ll probably join their wine club eventually in order to receive four deliveries a year.
Deliveries? Why yes. Remember when I said this was a small operation? Cross Keys only produces 3,000 cases a year. They supply wine to a few local restaurants and sell the rest to people who take the tour or join the club.
As for the wines, like I said, I tried the reds. The favorite of everyone on the tour was the “Tavern.” Almost a port, this red wine has brandy added. If only this could have been the grog served at all of those Marine Corps Mess Nights…
For an every day red, I prefer the “Joy” red. Named after one of the neighbors (and isn’t that a great concept?!) Joy red is slightly fruity but not too dry. You can’t go wrong with this wine; even non-wine drinkers will like it.
For those with more sophisticated palates, you might try the Petit Verdot. On the white wine side of life, my wife chose the Chardonnay. And she doesn’t really drink wine so that should tell you something.
Now I know there are well over 100 wineries in Virginia, and there are people out there trying to visit all of them. That’s not me. But I will say this…
If you find yourself up in Harrisonburg, Virginia, perhaps at the Massanutten Resort or at James Madison University, take an hour out of your day and go visit the Cross Keys Vineyard
And don’t forget to try the “Tavern!”