Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wine a Bit; You'll Feel Better!

Going on vacation is a lot like having a fiery, passionate, love affair. In the beginning, you can’t get enough of each other. Everything is so much more interesting, better, and exciting than what you have back at home. The food is better; the air is cleaner; the birds are singing. Everything is perfect and new. You even have your very own special coffee place and favorite Thai restaurant. But after a while, you start to lose your patience and things don’t look so shiny anymore. You long for the familiar. Your own bed; your routines; things you can count on. When it all boils down, there’s no place like home and family.

Hubs and I just got back from a wonderful, 5 day get away to northern Virginia. Specifically the Virginia wine trail. We’ve wanted to do this for a while, but our schedules, money, work, and the weather all got in the way. In the past 5 days, we’ve had more wine, smelled more flowers, explored more civil war sites, took more pictures, and passed by more southern Baptist churches than you could shake a stick at (or a snake). It was perfect.

We also discovered the Monticello Wine and Food Festival was going on the same time we were up there, so we checked that out too. It wasn’t what we expected though. It was almost as if the prestigious Monticello wine community had to comply with northern Virginia county fair committee venue guidelines. This left us wine snobs paired with "Sho-nuff Barbeque", a 4 person band playing “Le Freak”, and wine glasses sponsored by the Battleship Automotive Group. We had fun though. A vacation makes people more lighthearted. So does a couple of glasses of wine!

The best wine we found, by far, was the Cru from Kluge Estate Vineyards, which was wayyy at the base of the mountains and in the boonies. The Cru is an aperitif (dessert) wine that is first fortified with brandy, and then aged in seasoned whiskey barrels. It sounds harsh, but it is as smooth as butter and simply divine. We loved it so much that we bought 4 bottles of it (albeit small ones) and plan to order more for gifts.

Kluge also had a very lovely dining café that serves yummy things like gourmet cheese plates with truffled olives and crusty bread. We had our lunch on the front patio, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the sound of migrating Canadian geese. Most of the roads up there were the narrow, snaking-two-lane-white-knuckle types, with no shoulders and a scary, yet beautiful scenery below. It was worth the climb. And if you go to Kluge, further down the road is a winery name Wintergreen Vineyards. You have to go there just for the Raspberry Dessert wine alone.

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