For our May book club meeting, we decided to go to James River Cellars just outside of Richmond, Virginia in Glen Allen. It was a fun day escape, and the wines there were great. The winery itself was smaller than I expected, but a pleasant getaway from the city. They offered something for everyone in the group in their wines. It was a great daytime escape.
To begin, the winery is located just off 95 and was easy to get to. Parking was plentiful, which is always a plus. Going inside, the tasting room is small (you can probably fit 10 people shoulder to shoulder along the bar) but it allowed for a more personal tasting experience. The tastings were only $5 and included a sampling of 6 whites, 3 reds and 4 “sweets.” The wine varietals varied from the standard chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlots to a few less “standard” wines, including: Gewürztraminer and Chambourcin. My personal favorites of the wines sampled included more wines on the sweet side this time around:
- 2013 Montpelier – a blend of Pinot Gris, Chardonel, and Chambourcin – this wine made me think of strawberries and cranberries. As they recommended, great with BBQ (a favorite in my house!)
- 2013 Chambourcin – I do love a good Chambourcin. This Chambourcin had a chocolate scent to me with a hint of chocolate in the taste. It was sweet and smooth. Excellent served chilled.
- 2013 Colonial Red – a blend of Merlot and Touriga Nacional – I very much enjoyed this wine. It tasted of apple cinnamon, perfect for a fall drink. We were recommended mixing this wine with brownie batter for an indulgent combination.
- Finally, we loved their frappe vino. An excellent blend to create a perfectly refreshing, summer slushie. A group favorite, we all relaxed with glasses of this following the tasting.
I loved the personal feeling with the tasting since the room was small and staff friendly. We received a great education along with the wines tasted. After making our purchases, we headed outside to the front yard to sit at a table and eat some of our cheese and crackers. The winery was full of little critters to grab our attention. Lizards and even snakes could be spotted in the garden (don’t worry, we only saw a little garden snake!) We ran into a couple of groups there who were just stopping by the winery for a drink between their errands. It made me realize the centrality of the winery to the city made this location ideal for the “between errands” day escape.
Nearby, there are great history and museum day-trip escapes. A place I used to frequent a few exits down 95 was the Library of Virginia. Their archives room is beautifully set-up and great for primary source research. I reviewed a number of documents here for my Master’s studies… it was thrilling to be able to handle the original 18th century documents. The research material was organized and allowed me great background for my studies as well.
Not far from the Library of Virginia is the Science Museum of Virginia. The Science Museum of Virginia recently went through renovations to their historical building. Once the Broad Street Station, servicing trains since the early 1900s, the building has also been home to other events set in Richmond Virginia (including Civil War encampments!)
Richmond is filled with early American history, Civil War history and more industrial history with their multiple train stations. What is your favorite site to visit here? Let me know what you think of James River Cellars!