While travelling home on Route 211, we realized we had time to visit Gadino Cellars, located just outside historic Washington Virginia, the oldest of the 28 cities\towns with the name of Washington in the United States. In fact, the town’s current layout was surveyed by then 17 year old George Washington in 1749. Gadino Cellars is owned and operated by the family and their story is very familiar to many other winery proprietors. While living in California, they had become infatuated with California wines and the industry and decided to try their hand in making wine. After making wine as amateurs and moving back to Virginia, the next logical progression was growing their own grapes, which they first planted almost 20 years ago. With the assistance of Lindon Vineyard’s Jim Law – and the partnership of their daughter and son in law, they eventually expanded into the current operation: Gadino Cellars.
The winery is another example that viniferia wines can be grown successfully in the state of Virginia. They offer two styles of Chardonnay, a Premium Chardonnay fermented in Franch Oak and a Barrel Select Chardonnay, made in the sur-lie style and aged in French oak for 9 months. The 2006 Premium Chardonnay has an amazing fruity aroma where you could actually taste the chardonnay grape through the nose. It has a refreshing acidic finish that makes it appropriate for meals or after a hike or bike ride. The 2005 Barrel Select Chardonnay is more of a dinner wine, with strong vanilla notes on the nose and palette. No respectful Virginia winery would be without a Viognier offering and Gadino Cellars produces two. The 2006 Viognier is fermented in Hungarian oak for four months and the result is a good wine with a strong floral nose and an orange-citrusy flavor. The 2005 Reserve Viognier is aged in French Oak and has a similar nose but a more vanilla feel from the barrel. This wine also remains on the tongue for a long finish. The final white was the semi-dry Sunset that has a Traminette base with portions of Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc. This wine has citrus flavors, nice acidity, and the usual spicy finish associated with “traminer” grapes.
For red wines, there was a collection of Bordeaux styled wines – that were impressive. The 2005 Reserve Merlot was our favorite – full bodied, with cherry flavors and a long vanilla flavored finish; a result of 22 months in French Oak. The grapes for this wine were grown near the Chesapeake Bay where the water warms the winter nights allowing the vines to sustain themselves the entire year. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium bodied wine that has been aged in French Oak. Both the nose and finish contain hints of pepper, but don’t think that the fruit is lacking. This is a fruit forward wine with soft tannins that produce a smooth finish. The 2006 Cabernet Franc - Antiche Viti Reserva is a special wine since it is made from the first vines planted at the estate – over 19 years ago. For Virginia standards these are ancient grapes. It is a medium bodied cherry flavored wine with a long smooth finish. Another fine Cabernet Franc from Virginia. Finally, their Moonrise is a dry, strawberry flavored rose-styled wine made from Cabernet Franc. At less than 1% residual sugar, it is dry – but also contains nice acidity with a somewhat cherry finish. The winery recommends this as your picnic wine and says that it is very popular with hikers and bicyclists after a day in the hills.
Gadino Cellars is well worth a visit. The spacious tasting room enables freedom of movement even with large crowds and the outdoor porch area provides a relaxing environment to enjoy an afternoon. The winery will be a regular sojourn along our Route 211 travels.