Sunday, February 06, 2011

Burnley Vineyards in Barboursville, VA

Burnley Vineyards is amongst the oldest planted vineyards in Virgina. Retired Army Col. C. J. Reeder and his family planted them back in 1977. Reeder's last assignment in the army landed him in Charlottesville, where he decided to literally sink his roots. Today, the winery is run by son Lee and daughter-in-law Dawn. I met them while I was traveling Virginia back just before Thanksgiving, so this post is late in coming.

The extensive vineyards that rise up and down along the sides of the undulating are opposite the unpresuming winery and tastingroom. They are indeed beautiful.

Upon entering the tastingroom, which is loaded with medals and awards for thier years of winemaking, I was greeted by Lee and Cooper. Cooper was interested and affectionate - not bad characteristics for an enormous German Shepherd. Cooper is of a literary bent, having appeared in Winery Dogs: USA.

Lee is friendly and chatty. I tasted several of his wines, before Dawn came in. Both met in college. They were friendly and easy going folks. Really nice people.

Here's some of the wines I liked....

Chardonnay - The first one I tried was a stianless steel Chardonnay, full of tropical fruits, big green big apples, and an almost cirtus finish. Very nice. Fresh and fun. A refreshing white, with a lemony dry finish.

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay - Normally I am not a barrel fermented (the wine was stirred every two weeks), barrel-aged white guy. But here, I have to say, I was pleasantly surpirsed. The wine had rich honey and apple notes - a whiff of melon? Lots of green apple. And a pop of vanilla from the oak. Buttery touch to it, but not over oaked like some can be. The trick here was the wine had lots of fruit and acidity, so it stood up to all the manuipulation. A big, white wine - a nice surprise.

Rivanna White 20009 - This was a Germanic-styled, fresh, off-dry white wine made with Vidal Blanc. grapes crafted in a Germanic style. The result is a nose with lots of lush, tropical fruits, again, with nice acidity to balance out the fruit and hint of sweetness. A lovely wine. Refreshing. A great sipping wine. One can easilly serve this to guests, especially during Super Bowl parties, during a BBQ, or during any evening gathered round the fireplace or patio.

Norton 2008 - Norton is one of the most highly publicized grapes in Virginia. This full-bodied, dark red-purple wine is rich and powerful. I enjoyed this immensely. Lots of fruit up front, with a big pop of acidity and medium tannins, to help bring across the big flavor without the fruit overwhelming everything. A great wine with beef, pork, chicken, or game meats.

Rubix 2007 - This was among my favorite ports that I tasted during my trip through Virginia. It's made from Norton grapes of course. A big, deep, full bodied dessert wine that is big on fruit, yet soft, rich, and complex. A dark, rich elixir.

Burnley Vineyards was an excellent visit!