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Blenheim Vineyards
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

Blenheim VineyardsSummary: Blenheim Vineyards is owned by Dave Matthews, known for the Dave Matthews Band. This winery is environmentally friendly and offers visitors good wines in a country atmosphere.

Although Blenheim Vineyards is a new facility, its name has roots in Virginia history. John Carter received a patent for the land in 1730. Prior to 1799, his son Edward built a house and called it Blenheim. Blenheim is the name of a Barvarian village where the Duke of Marlborough won a battle for the British.

Located a short distance from the center of Charlottesville, Blenheim Vineyards is a delightful winery to visit. Upon entering, you will see a large area that beckons you to the opposite end. Along the way, the A-shaped tasting room has two large glass paneled plates in the floor that provide excellent views of the winery below. Visitors will have a different perspective in looking down at the winery. You see the tops of oak barrels rather than the sides or heads. You also get a view of the top of variable capacity tanks. Note the activity going on below. The winemaker and staff have daily tasks throughout the year.

Blenheim Vineyards     Blenheim Vineyards

There are two tasting counters at the end of the room. Behind the tasting counters large plate glass windows provide an extraordinary view of the vineyards and pastoral setting. Visitors can walk out on the deck and enjoy the views with a glass of wine. Tables in front of the tasting counter provide space for sitting.

The owner is Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band. He had the desire to find a place in Charlottesville to call home. At his mother’s request, to live on a small farm, Dave purchased the property in 1999. Dave designed the winery and tasting room. His mother is actively involved in the winery.

The facility is environmentally friendly with the winery on the lower half being built into the hillside. The tasting room on the floor above has windows facing the south and skylights. These windows allow for passive solar lighting. In addition, the winery contributes to the environment by actively recycling and composting. Shipping packaging used is recyclable.

Blenheim VineyardsThe vineyards have a total of ten acres. The first planting was in 2000 and the second planting in 2007. The grapes growing on the property include Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Grapes are also sourced from other Virginia growers. Currently the winery produces 5,500 cases.

Notice the wine label. The geometric shapes form a tree based on the Pythagoras tree fractal. The use of this label began in April 2009. The right side of the geometric tree represents red and blush wines while the left side reflects white wines. Put together the two sides represent one perfectly formed geometric tree. Our tasting was conducted by Jennifer Law, tasting room manager.

Blenheim VineyardsWhite Wines

Chardonnay 2008 was aged 35 percent in oak and 65 percent in stainless steel. The wine offered apple and pear nuances on the aroma and taste. The finish was creamy with slight butter notes and a crisp finish. Blenheim Farm Chardonnay 2008 was in French and American oak for five to 9 months. This wine had apple and pear nuances on the aroma and taste. The crisp finish was creamy and buttery. Virginia Chardonnay 2006 offered an oak aroma with apple nuances on the taste. The creamy finish had butter notes. Blenheim Vineyards Chardonnay 2006 had apple nuances on the aroma and taste. The finish was creamy with butter nuances. Vigonier 2008 offered a floral aroma and the taste was of a tropical fruit salad. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Red Wines

Meritage 2005 was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This wine was a red translucent color. The aroma and taste were of red fruit. The finish was also of red fruit with earthy nuances. King Family Merlot 2004 was in French oak for 16 months. The aroma was of dark fruit and the taste offered notes of plum. The finish had soft tannins. Seven Oaks Merlot was a dark reddish/purple translucent color. The aroma and taste had cherry nuances. The crisp finish was fruity with mild tannins.

Blenheim VineyardsOne often wonders what impact a celebraty owner has on a winery. Winemaker, Kirsty Harmon stated that Dave Mathews simply said, “Make the best wines you can make.” This allows Kirsty to develop her own style, reflected with wines from the 2008 vintage.

Enjoy a visit to Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia. The uniquely designed facility provides visitors with great views of the winery, vineyards and countryside. Watch for the new wine label that will soon be released. Dave Matthews, a man of many talents, designed the image.

Blenheim Vineyards
31 Blenheim Farm
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902

 


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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2006-2014