Food & Wine
Trump Winery: Good Wine or Hype?
While winetasting in Charlottesville Virginia, I just couldn’t resist swinging by Trump Winery just to check it out. Fortunately it was near other wineries I wanted to visit anyway, including Blenhiem Vineyards owned by Dave Matthews.
Trump Winery has a very fancy sign and a large tasting room with a fairly modest exterior. The inside is pretty luxe. Looked like there was a nice outdoor space to enjoy food with your wine, but since the storms were ripping through the area at that point I had little interest in checking it out.
I was mostly interested in the wines. I’d been a fan of Kluge’s award winning sparkling wines before it became Trump winery and I heard Jonathan Wheeler was still the winemaker there. And the first pour on the tasting menu — the Sparkling Blanc de Blanc 2009 was not only fantastic, but reasonably priced at $26 a bottle. The still wines — Viognier, Rose, and Meritage — were fine but less remarkable.
Thier CRU ($30), a blend of Chardonnay juice and grape brandy aged in bourbon barrels, was probably the most interesting with strong notes of vanilla, bourbon, and hints of citrus. They mixed it with the blanc de blancs as well which was rather refreshing.
Tastings aren’t cheap at $12, though you do get to keep your Trump logo Riedel glass if you want it.
Trump Winery didn’t really stand out to me though if you visit you’ll find some good wines decently priced (especially for Virginia). The only political references was some merchandise in a corner by the back. Otherwise the focus is mostly on the wine. 🙂
Right down the road from Trump Winery is Blenheim Vineyards owned by Dave Matthews. Turns out Dave Matthews wine is surprisingly good.
The tasting room is a fun space with local artwork and a glass floor to see the wine making process below. I loved all the windows and skylights, though on such a rainy day there wasn’t much of a view.
Blenheim Vineyards offers a neat deal with their tastings. You pay $6 which includes the glass and future tastings are free if you bring your glass with you. I normally decline my tasting glass but this one is going in my car glove compartment. 🙂
With wines starting at $17 a bottle, Bleinheim is one of the more affordable Virginia wineries I’ve visited recently. Their reds are decent, they really seem to shine when it comes to whites. They also offer wine growlers — wasn’t a huge fan of this year’s vintage — but love to see wineries moving in this direction.
Fun fact: Dave Matthews paints a new label each year for their Painted White wine.
I wouldn’t make a special trip to visit either winery, but if you’ll be in the area they’re both worth a stop. If you have to pick one, go with Blenheim Vineyards.
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