Moss Vineyards Review
Address: 1849 Simmons Gap Road Nortonsville,Virginia 22935.
Phone Number: 434-990-0111
Tasting Hours: Mar 1-Dec: Fri-Sun and Mon holidays 12:00-5:00
Region: Monticello AVA, Virginia
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
Review Date: 8/17/2014
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
After a short couple of years, Moss Vineyards has really hit its stride in the heart of Central Virginia. I recall the first time I visited the winery shortly after it opened its doors. The views were some of the most spectacular in the area. Rolling hills, mountain skyline, and the steep slope of the vineyard in front of the Adirondack chair-lined patio. The tranquility of the place is matched by only a few wineries in the Commonwealth, and its prime location between Charlottesville and Washington, D.C. makes it a quick weekend retreat that you simply can’t put a price on.
The gravel and dirt road cuts through the vineyard as it winds upward towards the tasting room. The vineyard contains close to 5,000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Viognier, and Vermentino vines – all metaphorically representing the red carpet entry to this hidden gem. The architectural design of the facility is simply stunning, not particularly surprising considering that owner Barry Moss’ day job is as an architect. When Barry first sought out the property, he was looking for a piece of property that could provide the ‘wow’ factor in terms of view and, of course, grounds for growing his favorite varieties.
Outside of the tasting room is a covered patio lined with Adirondack chairs. The tasting room is a chic, modern design with the tasting bar located in the center of the room. Wooden-slatted tables and chairs line the floor-to-ceiling windows which highlight the breathtaking views at 1,000 feet above sea level. It really is hard to focus when presented with this much beauty.
During our visit, we were told the story of Barry’s realtor climbing a tree to snap a picture high above the property, and, from that moment, he knew this was the spot. When quizzed on what led Barry to open a vineyard, we were told that it stemmed from his time abroad in Italy (Tuscany, of course) designing buildings. It was there that he fell in love with wine. Now, with no winemaking experience, one might wonder how he acquired his wine-making expertise. Two of the areas winemaking pioneers consult Mr. Moss, and they go by the names of Luca Paschino and Gabriele Rausse. Who better to help Moss achieve his goal of producing exceptional Virginia wine than these respected winemakers? We learned of the tough 2013 vintage and the struggles of fighting off local predators that were merely seeking a food source. What was saved, however, went into producing his grand master of selections – his Architettura Reserva. The 2012 is currently being poured in the tasting room, but the 2013 is expected to turn heads in the upcoming Fall release series. Tastings at Moss are a few dollars, and they are currently pouring five wines, including a white, rose, and three reds.
We began our tasting with the 2012 Viognier ($24) – a smooth, floral dominant white that exhibits nuances of tropical fruit backed by crisp, citrus notes and a clean, crisp, almost effervescent finish. This is a bottle that I couldn’t resist bringing home with me and look forward to enjoying before the summer’s end. The 2013 Rose ($20), made from Sangiovese grape in a Rosato style, features a dry, creamy character. With smooth strawberry backed by floral undertones, this rose offers just a touch of sweetness.
The reds began with the 2012 Cabernet Franc ($22). Slightly toasty flavors with hints of smoke throughout, this wine highlights dark, red fruit and finishes with more toast and smoky flavors towards the back palate. Moss blends Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot to create their 2012 Vino Rosso ($24) blend. Aromas of fresh cut wood and dark fruit are followed by fruit-forward, ripe blackberry flavors balanced by fine tannins and a medium length finish. We concluded our tasting with the 2012 Architettura Reserva, which is crafted only during exceptional vintages and is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of Petit Verdot and Merlot. This powerhouse red is smooth, rich, and balanced with firm tannins. It contains copious amounts of dried, red fruit and concludes with a veil of smooth oak and a long finish. This wine is the perfect representation of Moss’ terroir and makes quite a statement.
Arriving towards the end of the day, our time at Moss was relatively short. It didn’t take long, though, for us to determine that Moss Vineyards is a perfect wine tasting destination for those looking to take a break from studies at UVA or escape the madness of the DC area.