Our friend Dezel, from My \Vine Spot has been touting Mountfair Vineyards for a year now so we finally took his advice and visited the winery during a trip to Afton. The drive to the winery was quite interesting as we bailed out of route 29 and took the back roads from Madison, twisting and turning along country roads, past pastures, and the Walton Homestead, and into north Crozet. It was construction day as the staff was building and painting a patio for special nuptials planned for next week. But fortunately they had time for visitors.
The winery and tasting room at Mountfair are located in an old horse barn, adjacent to a row of Tannat. The Blue Ridge Mountains are clearly visible, not only from behind the winery but on the wine's label. The estate vineyards are planted with classic Bordeaux varieties as are the other fruit they source. For this winery makes wine not only just from these grape varieties, but only red wines from the classics. And excluding a soon to be released series, the wines are classic blends. In honor of next weekend, we started with the 2008 Engagement - a blend of 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot aged in neutral oak. This is an easy drinking wine - smooth and fruity. The interestingly named Wooloomooloo 2008 was next and this Petit Verdot dominate wine is a much bigger wine, from the nose to the tail. Yea, its also aged a little longer, but even with the extra tannins, its still relatively smooth. Two nice Bordeaux blends, Dezel is right - this is what makes wines from the Monticello AVA so appealing.
Being in the trade, they graciously brought out three upcoming releases. The 2008 Indigenous is a 50-50 blend of Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot harvested from the estate. This is a special wine, only 75 cases available, and believe me, they will go fast. Even with the bottle shock, this is already a delicious wine - give it a couple months - and..... - buy it now. The final two are single varietals (Cabernet Franc and Merlot) especially made for the restaurant market but will be available at the winery - think UVA tailgates. The wines are prices slightly lower than the blends and, are actually blends themselves (80-20) - although state law allows then to be designated single varietal. These are nice wines, obviously not as complex as the other brands - but still good wines. This entire portfolio and the easy going style of the team makes this a destination worth the crazy drive. Actually, if one starts from Charlottesville, the drive is quite easy - just be prepared for a slow trek coming from the north. By either direction, we will return.