Saturday, April 02, 2011

James River Cellars, Glen Allen, Virginia

So, we were on our way to Wineries Unlimited when we decided to stop in and pay a visit to James River Cellars not far outside form the city limits of Richmond, VA. I was traveling with my boon companion Ben Peacock, of Tousey Vineyards.

James River Cellars is located in historic Hanover County in Glen Allen, Virginia, 10 miles North of Richmond, 10 miles South of Kings Dominion just off I-95. This family owned and operated winery offers award winning wines from Virginia grown grapes. Ray Lazarchic (principle owner) works with James Batterson (winemaker), Sebastian Nagy (viticulturist) and Mitzi Batterson (winery manager) to produce 15 varieties of distinctive flavors, including the dessert wine Dolce Vino, winner of the Governor’s Cup for the best Virginia wine of 2005.

In late spring and summer the winery features Fridays on the Patio with live music, appetizers, tours and wine tasting. And they have a lovely new Tuscan style event room for private events.

The tastingroom is situated in a beautiful old home, that is set among the trees. It's really quite lovely. And the tastingroom and shop inside do not disappoint.

So Ben and I sidled up to the bar, and started tasting. Another group, from one of the old wineries in North Carolina, way already in progress. We did our level best to join them up.

The first thing we tasted was he 2009 Reserve Chardonnay. This was a lovely wine. It was oak aged, which is not always to my taste, but this was lovely. It still had lots of fresh, vibrant fruit. It was a light wine, with enough acidity to balance out some of the buttery and creamy notes. Truly, a lovely chardonnay!

Ben and I both liked the 2008 Vidal Blanc, which had notes of peach in the nose, and grapefruit on the finish. And we both liked the 2009 Chardonnel, which was a touch fruitier, but lovely none the less. Some very nice white.

The 2007 Cabernet Franc was cherry with lots of pepper! A hint of pencil shavings, a wisp of grassiness to it. Very, very drinkable!

The 2007 Merlot was very nice. Lots of big, dark cherry. A big mouth full of tannin. A big, impressive Merlot.

My absolute favorite was the 2007 Petit Verdot. Big, deep, bold, lots of smoke, stewed prunes and plums, a hint of cherry, and a finish of pepper. This was an absolute revelation. A fabulous big red wine that certainly holds up to some of the better reds in the state.

Another nice red was the 2008 Hanover Red. This was nice, light red blend, with hints of blackberry, cherry, a hint of red currant. But a wonderful, smooth, light red with a nice soft finish. Wonderful.

It was a great visit, and Ben and I walked out with our purchases happy we had stopped there. If you visit or live in the Richmond area, and you don't visit James River Cellars, then you've missed out.