I had the opportunity to try a new Virginia wine the other day. I had not heard of the winery before the bottle was gifted to us, and I was excited. It was a red wine blend from the Glass House Winery in Free Union, Virginia.
The name intrigued me – Glass House – like a separate endeavor, the Menokin Glass Project. Menokin, built for Declaration of Independence Signer, Francis Lightfoot Lee, and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe Lee, is a National Historic Landmark in the Northern Neck of Virginia now in ruinous condition. The Menokin Foundation is doing something unique: using structural glass to recreate an abstract memory of an 18th century house as it once stood while protecting its remains. Looking at renderings of the vision for Menokin, the “glass house” takes on a whole new meaning. The connection of the Glass House Winery name with the Menokin Glass Project created a fun parallel.
Opening the wine was exciting in itself. Apart from the name “Glass House Winery,” the wine label featured a pineapple – a colonial symbol of welcome and hospitality. Pealing back the wrapping revealed a glass cork (How cool?!) I was fascinated by this… I have never seen a cork like this before.
After wasting time oohing and aahing at the cork, I finally made it to tasting the wine. The nose was very aromatic. The wine offered a fruity undertone and had a light, bitter tartness, though not in a bad way. The tartness was more like a pomegranate fruit. The wine was very easy to drink, smooth, and well-balanced. I very much enjoyed this red blend and can see myself turning to this wine often for a dinner pairing.
I have added the Glass House Winery to my list of must-visit soon wineries. According to their website, their wines are made only from those grapes they grow on their property and in their region. In their list of wines offered, I cannot wait to try the Viognier, Pinto Gris, E-Ville Pink Drink, and Twenty-First. (Who am I kidding, I cannot wait to try them all!)
Oh yes, and if wine was not already tempting enough, they offer CHOCOLATES hand-crafted by an in-house chocolatier. This winery is screaming “must visit” to me!
One last fun connection to Menokin – in the image above of the bottle and glasses, this photo was taken in front of a rendering of Menokin featuring a glass floor over the barrel vault in the house. In the inventory of Francis Lightfoot Lee’s estate, we learn this barrel vault likely contained as Lee’s death:
- A pipe of Maderia wine
- 3 dozen port wine bottles
- 2 dozen bottles of “old Spirit”
- 13 bottles of Malm (Maderia wine)
- 2 dozen bottles of “Cyder”
I love the connections in our state’s history with Virginia wine!