Sunday, May 18, 2008

Smokehouse Winery

In conjunction with our article on Honey Wine and CCD we traveled to Sperryville Virginia in order to taste the Mead products of Smokehouse Winery. The winery is located at the Blue Ridge Foothills and the drive along Rt. 211 is one of the most scenic that you will find in central Virginia. Upon arriving at the winery and entering the historic log cabin we regretfully found that they only had samples of their Traditional Mead and not the wide array of concoctions we had anticipated: Metheglin, Melomel, Cyser, and Braggot. The later is only a week away - but this served as a valuable lesson to call ahead of time. Our regret was easily overcome. The Traditional Mead is outstanding - possibly the best we tasted on the east coast. Truth be told, the only non-east coast honey wine we've tasted is from Missouri's Pirtle Winery. Smokehouse's Traditional Mead is labeled as semi-sweet, but this is more dry than sweet. It is made from honey fermented with champagne yeast and well water. These ingredients produce an awesome honey wine - one that we enjoyed the whole bottle later that evening.

The second factor which alleviated our regret, was that we learned that owner, John Hallberg, is a musician and hosts several concerts at the winery. On Memorial Weekend Saturday (May 24th) he hosts the Shenandoah Shindig which includes local bluegrass favorites the Woodshedders and Furnace Mountain. He will also host a similar concert in August; but look out for October, when Larry Keel is scheduled. This is one show we will not miss.

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