Yes, the visits to Virginia wineries continue. This time it was a trip to our friends at the Williamsburg Winery down the road from the well-known and oft-visited Colonial Williamsburg.
Once you reach the winery (after driving past some beautiful vineyards) there is ample parking to accommodate visitors for the tasting room/shop, the Gabriel Archer Tavern right across the alley, Cafe Provencale just up the path, and Wedmore Place (the 28-room hotel on site). As you can see in the photo below, the main building had a very old world/early colonial look which continued on the interior as well. After paying a $15 fee to the cashier at the door for a “Reserve Tasting,” I was directed back to the tasting room for my exploration of the 7 selections. There is also a “Fine Wine Tasting” for $8.
When I bellied up to the tasting bar, so to speak, the staff came right over to give me my menu and notes sheet to begin the process. Here’s what I got to try and some cryptic personal notes on my experience.
2014 Wessex Hundred Vidal Blanc —
I found this wine to be light-bodied and slightly sweet with banana, lemon, grass, and warm spice notes.
2013 Acte 12 Chardonnay —
Thought this was on the light side for a Chardonnay with a nice mouthfeel. On the tongue I got flavors of citrus, pear, kiwi and oak notes.
2013 Barrel Aged Claret —
Really nice bouquet on this wine. Moderate but pleasant tannins. Flavors for me were raspberry, cherry and tea.
2013 Wessex Hundred Merlot —
Lots of fresh berries on the nose. Tasted cherry and cranberry. Tannins were medium with a quick grip. Reminded me more of a Chambourcin than the typical Merlot.
2012 Virginia Trianon —
This is a Cabernet Franc. I found it a smokey wine with black raspberry, tobacco leaf, and black pepper.
2013 Wessex Hundred Petit Verdot —
A heady bouquet of rich earthiness mixed with tangy berries and a hint of cocoa. Medium-bodied, I tasted blackberry, cherry, pepper and coffee grounds.
2012 Adagio —
Thought this a refined selection with an earthiness surrounding tart cranberry overtones and blueberry undertones along with just a touch of rubber. Tannins were medium.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience in a lovely setting. The folks at Williamsburg are set up to handle quite a bit of traffic through their tasting room. And they seem completely up to the task. You may not find the intimate experience available at some of the smaller or more out-of-the-way wineries, but I wouldn’t avoid it. Their wines are worth a trip to taste.
Interesting Factoid: I wondered what was up with the winery being on “Wessex Hundred” road and that moniker being echoed in some of the wine names. Well, according to Wikipedia, an area in Colonial Virginia which carried the label “hundred” was a parcel large enough to support 100 homesteads. Thus you also find roads in Virginia named Bermuda Hundred, Old Hundred, West Hundred, etc.