Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chateau Morrisette Chambourcin 2008

Chateau Morrisette is located in a spectacular mountain setting in Floyd County off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 171 and 172. In 1978, William, Nancy and David Morrisette planted the first vines and the vision of Chateau Morrisette became a small reality. Mrs. Nancy Morrisette stated in 1988 that the winery began as a hobby that soon got out of hand. David Morrisette is a graduate of Mississippi State University's first class in enology and viticulture. After a brief stint working for classmate Bob Burgin's winery in Mississippi, David came home to Virginia and became Chateau Morrisette's first official winemaker. In 1982, the first commercial wines were produced, a modest 2,000 gallons, under the Woolwine Winery label.

Not long thereafter, Bob Burgin joined David at the winery which continued to grow both in quality of wines produced and in production quantity. Bob had been winemaker at his family winery and with facilities in Tennessee and North Carolina when he received a call from William Morrisette in 1990. By that time, he was well experienced in Southern viticulture.

As production increased, so did David and Bob's duties. Bob became more involved in the overal operations leaving the duties of winemaker ever pressing. Soon, additional winemakers were added to the staff to assist Bob with increasing production work. In 2001 Chateau Morrisette hired Dan Tallman, formerly of Clos Du Bois Winery in California, as its principle winemaker and recently promoted Rick Hall from Assistant Winemaker to Winemaker.

For nearly twenty eight years, Dan Tallman has dedicated himself to becoming an expert enologist. He has worked in both small and large winery settings and is known as a premium quality winemaker who pays attention to all the details of winemaking, from production to bottling. A graduate of the University of California at Davis, Dan brings 'style and complexity' to Chateau Morrisette wines.

It was many years before Chateau Morrisette saw black ink on its balance sheet. Wine production has increased rapidly each year and has now surpassed 60,000 cases per year. Our exciting and consistent growth rate necessitated a new production facility. The Morrisette's invested a great deal in expanding and modernizing all aspects of the winery in 1999, ranging from a new wine production facility to the spacious hospitality center. Blue Ridge Timberwrights constructed a unique building from salvaged timber from the St. Marie River to create one of the largest salvaged timber frame buildings in North America: 32, 365 square feet with 135,000 board feet of Douglas fir recycled timbers!

Their location on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway has helped introduce thousands of visitors to premier Virginia wines. The restaurant and winery are open year round and special events are held throughout the year. Chateau Morrisette is both a relaxing and exciting experience for anyone who enjoys fine wine, good food and natural surroundings. it has become one of Southwest Virginia's premier destination points.

Dominique and I had first tasted Chateau Morrisette at the Virginia Wine Fetsival back in 2002. We loved Our Dog Blue. It was a light, refreshing white semi-sweet blend of Riesling, Traminette and Vidal Blanc. The nose is pure citrus and melon and honeysuckle, and the flavor is a delicious light fruity white perfect for sipping or with cheese.

But the wine we tried the other day was the Chateau Morisette Chambourcin 2008. We tried the wine with Hudson Valley winemaker Steve Casscels. The color was a deep purple-red. On the nose the wine had notes of dark cherries and blackberries, and a touch of mocha. The wine is a big, jammy wine, filled with bright cherry, strawberry and blackberry flavors, and a gentle hint of tea and pepper. Smooth and velvety. A very, very nice example of the varietal. All three of us were impressed with this extremely nice drinking wine. This was a great find. Unfortunately, I had only bought one when I was last down in Virginia.

Now I have a reason to go back. Excellent!