Today, my husband and I wear Chateau Morrisette sweaters and there is usually at least one bottle of their wine in our house. Whenever someone asks for a wine recommendation, I refer to one of their wines and my gifts to people have consisted of their bottles.
How did I get to such a place?
It started at the Virginia Vintage Wine Festival in Manassas, VA probably two years ago. One of my friends set up a tent where we established a home base for the festival with food and water as we perused the different tasting tents. Chateau Morrisette’s tent was one of the closest ones to the tent that year, and was by and away the runaway hit for me. I ended up drinking a glass of Blackberry wine and came home with a bottle or two. The next year, I made a point to go to their tent again, talking everyone’s head’s off about how theirs was the tent to go to, and ended up sipping on a glass of Sweet Mountain Laurel back the tent afterwards. Once I realized that a good portion of their wines are available at Total Wine, I would pick up a bottle here and there for parties or after a long day, like The Black Dog.
Clearly, I was in a love affair.
When my husband and I went on a vacation to Southwest Virginia in late September, I felt compelled to research how far away we would be from Chateau Morrisette. We weren’t exactly close, but we decided it was worth the trip. And it definitely was.
It’s an absolutely scenic drive getting to the winery. It is along the Blue Ridge Parkway, so you get to follow the winding road through the mountains, over beautiful scenic overpasses. Going in the fall was absolutely breathtaking, even though the leaves were only just beginning to change. It is remote enough that in some ways you really do need to plan a trip as it’s not as likely to just stumble across it. The venue is massive—the winery building is beautifully crafted with boards made from salvaged wood from the St. Marie River. Some pieces of the wood were so large that they were forced to cut them to get them up the mountain roads! There was ample parking, beautiful gazebos that were set into the top of the hill to overlook acres of pasture, farm land, and mountains, and a patio that had a marquee on it for an event. There is even a restaurant on the property that serves lunch. (Tip: Google shows the hours of the restaurant when you search the winery. It may tell you that it is closed, when it is just that the restaurant is closed; the tasting room may still be open as it is in two different buildings.) We unfortunately hadn’t realized that there was a restaurant there in time and missed out on checking it out.
We enjoyed a tasting of their wines—which is a lot! Their website says you get to taste 10 of their wines, but the wine educator that was pouring us the tasting allowed us to taste any of their other wines that we requested. We asked for their Muscadine wine because that is typically something that we enjoy.
The biggest note to make about Chateau Morrisette’s wines is that they are generally sweeter than a lot of other wineries’. Due to their higher altitude, they tend to focus a bit more on what they described as ‘Native American’ grapes to make their wines, like the Niagara, Concord, and Muscadine. This means that some of my favorites (like Sweet Mountain Laurel and the Red Mountain Laurel) are very sweet—basically adult grape juice. Which, if you’re anything like my husband and I, is just fine with us! They also have a lot of fruit wines and I don’t think there was a single one that I didn’t enjoy, be it Blackberry, Cherry, or Apple. Their Sangria wines are also quite fun and we still have a bottle of one of the dessert wines waiting for us.
One of my favorite things about Chateau Morrisette is how affordable they are. For $8 you get a tasting of 10 wines and for $2 more you get to keep the glass. The vast majority of their bottles are so reasonably priced that you don’t have to break the bank to bring them home. Some bottles are only $7-8! Compared with some wineries where the price can be over $20 for a bottle, it certainly makes them stand out.
While remote, their venue would make for a great place to host an event, because seriously, some of those views are quite breathtaking. My husband and I just wanted to stay looking out over the hills from the gazebo our whole trip if we were allowed, sipping on fun wine and watching the dogs. Because, if their labels and their wine names haven’t given it away, they are extremely dog friendly. The dog on their labels is a portrait of one of the owner’s dogs from early on in the winery’s history. It’s a long history, as they first planted vines in 1978, with the first commercial wines produced in 1982.
And so, we returned home with Chateau Morrisette sweaters, glasses, and a case, with promises to return.