Bluemont Vineyard sits on the side of a mountain in Bluemont overlooking what might be one of the amazing views I have seen from a winery in Virginia…one that reaches miles and miles and probably all the way into Maryland. While I have no doubt the view is lovely year-round, the autumn surely rivals the rest with the changing color of leaves complemented with flowers still in full bloom.
I had seen the name Bluemont on the map a number of times…and even a sign for it off Route 50 in Aldie as your approach Snickersville Road, but we ended up there unintentionally. Our day’s plan had us visiting Great Country Farms for their fall festival. Let’s start by saying how fantastic it was! Everyone, especially those with a child, needs to add it to their fall itinerary. You could spend hours on top of hours there as there are endless things to do for kids and the kid at heart…from the petting zoo and animals to a HUGE corn maze and panning for gold. Don’t miss the massive pillow trampoline (sorry…kids only) and the ninja obstacle course too!
On top of all the activities, there are cider-making demonstrations, homemade pizza, ice cream cones, apple picking and more to fill your stomachs and sure enough, a farm stand on your way out to stock up on other goodies. One word of caution…watch out for the kiddie train that chugs around the farm on the gravel path as our friend, to be nameless…ERIC was almost run over a couple times, eventually to receive an evil glare from the conductor the next time she passed.
When we initially arrived at the farm, we realized that Bluemont Vineyard was directly over the road looking out over it. We learned later that the owner is one in the same. Since we had a little extra time after finishing up at the farm, we decided to drive up the hill and see what Bluemont was all about. As you make your way up, you pass the apple picking orchard while the road winds back and forth and past a few small parking lots, which were completely full, opening up to a larger lot adjacent the tasting room. Wall to wall cars. We felt lucky to get a spot relatively close.
As we walked up to the building, we could hear how crowded it was and see all of the people sitting at tables on the multi-level porch overlooking the sweeping view and enjoying the beautiful autumn weather. Inside was just as packed and we followed the signs for tasting upstairs where we found a large front room with a long line (at least 20 minutes) where you could order food (the pizza looked great) or wine flights for self-guided tastings.
There was a smaller room in the back that we originally thought was only for club members and their pickups, and it too was nearly full, but we were told we could do a tasting back there even as non-members. So, in we went!
Through the course of our tasting, the crowd started to die down since it was later in the day and our pourer was able to chat a bit more, which was great, as we started off feeling a little neglected. Understandably, she was pouring for at least 3 other groups along the bar. On this visit, we tasted:
- Albarino – A crisp white with light citrus, best on the colder side, aged in stainless steel…a simple, yet refreshing wine
- “The Goat” – A Viognier with medium body and those typical floral notes one comes to expect from Virginia’s state grape
- “The Donkey” – A Rose’ with immediate notes of strawberry, but hints of tartness one finds from those cranberry flavors
- Farm Table Red – A medium-bodied red, complex in ingredients (I believe there were 6-7 red grapes in the recipe), but simple in flavor
- “The Ram” – Black Cherry and Plums in this medium-bodied Merlot, accented with hints of tobacco and smoke
- “The Horse” – A typical Cab Franc you find in Virginia wineries, medium in body, fruit forward and earthy
- “The Pig” – A take on the Norton grape…which is often loved or hated, but interesting enough to buy a bottle to have sit in our cellar for a few years and retry as this fruit bomb was definitely on the young side
We plan to return another time and try some flights of the wines we didn’t get to taste…to include the Farm Table White, “The Horse” (Cab Franc), “The Cow” (Vidal Blanc), and Chambourcin.
Bluemont was definitely one of those busy/crowded establishments and at first overwhelming to the newcomer. It took a little bit to find our way around and a place to sit even though there were lots of little corners, large porches, and an extensive patio, most positioned for the grand view that draws so many there. Even though the lines were long and slow, this was the type of place I could see coming back to, better prepared, having some lunch (gotta try the pizza!) with some friends and sharing a bottle or two of our favorite wines. The atmosphere is alive and busy but in a fun way.
While many new wineries are surfacing with higher and higher priced bottles and more and more complex wines, Bluemont has found a sweet spot where they balance good wine with respectable prices, ranging from $22 to $32 each.