Recently I moved to Tappahannock, Virginia and have started working in the Northern Neck. I am in LOVE with the area… it is beautiful, filled with history, and of course, there is the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail to pair with weekend explorations. The moved knocked me off of my A-game with the blogging world… but I am back and ready to get into the swing of learning and sharing again!
Michelle came to visit and we decided to make a day of taking the Captain Thomas to Ingleside Vineyards, located in Oak Grove, Virginia near Leedstown. This was a great escape… the boat ride was beautiful (with a few bald eagle sitings!) and the vineyard was a gem of an escape. Ingleside Vineyards is known to be one of the oldest wineries in the state – the fifth oldest in Virginia and the oldest in historic Northern Neck. The wines were some of the all-around best I have had in a while and the experience made our weekend one to remember.
First, the wine: Ingleside produces over 18 varietals, including Sangiovese, Albariño, Pinot Grigio and some of the more traditional Virginia varietals including Viognier, Chardonnay and Merlot. My favorite wines I want to highlight:
- 2012 Sangiovese – I really liked this wine (and have learned I really like Sangiovese wines in general). I would enjoy this with a good red-sauced pasta or chilled on a hot summer’s day.
- 2014 Viognier – For a fairly new release, this Viognier was lighter than others I have tried and pleasant on the tongue. Some Viogniers have the consistency closer to syrup, and some behave more like a red. This Viognier was light, crisp, with citrus notes. A perfect Virginia wine for a hot Virginia summer!
- Blue Crab Red – I love this wine because it’s versatile. You can drink it with dinner or you can enjoy it chilled on its own in the rocking chair (what I ended up doing). It has a little spice kick and left a lasting, slightly sweet, pleasant taste.
- October Harvest – Another new release… It is hard for me to describe this one. Typically, I do not lean towards the sweetest of wines. This wine is designed to be a dessert wine… It made me think of fall. It was a spiced white wine that was perfect chilled and brought me forward to my favorite time of year: autumn. It was not too heavy with spice, also making it a great chilled front-porch sipping wine.
I did enjoy their other varietals as well… the Red Crab Blush was sweet, light, perfect for summer with a hint of strawberries. The 2013 Albariño would be perfect served with oysters. Michelle bought a bottle of the 2014 Rosato di Sangiovese – one of her favorites!
In addition to the tasting, the winery had so much to offer. We received a detailed tour of the vine to bottle process and got to walk out to one of their oldest vineyards, currently with Merlot starting to ripen. After the tour and tasting, we were guided through the museum on site, which contained a lot of Native American artifacts. The gift shop contained a lot of great items (it took energy not to reach into my wallet for my credit card) I left with a couple of books on the local history, including “Birthplace of the Nation” by Carl Flemer and a history on the Northern Neck, Virginia wine and the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail.
If you have a day (or I highly recommend a weekend) to spend in the Northern Neck, the area is rich in history with many sites to visit! The Northern Neck was the site of Captain John Smith’s explorations of Virginia. It was also the birthplace of three of the first five American presidents – George Washington, James Monroe, and James Madison. In addition, it was the home of many other prominent leaders in American history, including the Lee family of Virginia. Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee were two of Virginia’s seven signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the only brothers to sign the Declaration. In addition, Civil War General and leader from Virginia, Robert E. Lee, was born in Stratford Hall there in Westmoreland County. If you are in town to visit the winery, you have to take the time to tour the area as well.
Just a couple of miles down the road from Ingleside is Bray’s Church where Richard Henry Lee’s infamous words inspired Francis Lightfoot Lee and over 100 others from around Westmoreland County to come together and sign what became the Leedstown Resolves in 1766 in opposition to the Stamp Act. Also down the road from Ingleside is George Washington’s birthplace and National Monument. A must-visit if you are in the area! Down Route 3 from George Washington’s Birthplace is Stratford Hall. Stratford Hall, built in the 1730s by Thomas Lee, was home to Francis Lightfoot, Richard Henry, “Light Horse Harry” and Robert E. Lee, amongst other prominent Lee family members. A few miles further down the road from Stratford Hall was the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee: Menokin. Menokin is the most engaging preservation project in America today with the innovative glass house project unlike any other in historic preservation. These are just a few of the must-visit sites of the Northern Neck.
Overall, we had a memorable time at Ingleside Vineyards and cannot wait to go back. I loved the overall experience, one of the best I have had at a winery. The staff was knowledgeable, kind and helpful. The wines were great. The tour was informative and offered an experienced look into the growing Virginia wine industry. And the prices were right – not too expensive for a local bottle of wine. Ingleside is definitely worth the drive, or boat ride in our case!
Cheers! (And more pictures, coming soon!)