Mountfair Vineyards Review
Address: 4875 Fox Mountain Road Crozet,Virginia 22932.
Phone Number: 434-823-7605
Tasting Hours: Mar-Nov: Fri-Sun 12:00-6:00 and by appt.
Region: Monticello AVA, Virginia
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
Review Date: 8/17/2014
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
The first time I visited Mountfair Vineyards, I was relatively new to the wine scene. Needless to say, it has been a while. In fact, what brought Mountfair back to my attention was their social media outreach as we were touring the area on this particular day.
The winery itself is located on the Eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Mountfair, not far from Charlottesville, and the tasting room resembles a small, wooden cottage. This is not a bad thing – just think entirely wood, cozy, and quaint. As we parked and approached, grilled BBQ was being served on the back deck, and crowds huddled around the guitar player entertaining visitors.
The tasting room is comprised of a 6-8 person wooden tasting bar with an indoor open seating area in the barrel room directly behind the tasting bar. Christmas-style lights surround the room, and metal bistro tables are available for people to grab catered fare and a bottle of wine to enjoy at their leisure. As you exit the building to the right, there is a small patio that is utilized in the warmer months, and days like today, for live music and food. With the wood aromas wafting throughout the tasting room from the BBQ outside, we chose to taste in the back barrel room where some of that smoke and BBQ smell had not yet invaded.
Mountfair focuses on the Bordeaux grapes of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, but they have also dabbled a bit in promoting wines and ciders produced by other Virginia wineries. While a large portion of Mountair’s grapes are purchased from local producers (Mount Juliet Farm to be specific), they do try to incorporate a percentage of estate grapes from the near 5 acre plot located on site.
During my first visit to Mountfair, the winemaking duties were handled by full time IT pro, Fritz Repich. To my surprise, the former Tasting Room Manager, Kelly Meyers Rogan, now handles the duties after learning from her predecessor and attending UC Davis. This particular day, the tasting room was packed, as was the outside, so we grabbed glasses at the bar, and one of the staff members kindly brought back some bottles to let us taste in the barrel room. For a few dollars, we were able to taste through nearly ten wines, including a couple of club-only releases that were currently opened for their event. Many of the red blends were easy-drinking and tailored more towards beginner red drinkers with soft tannins and a fruit-forward style, but a couple of wines absolutely stood out. In fact, my favorite wine of the day completely blew me away. All of the reds at Mountair sell for around $30 per bottle, which for a couple of the wines that I tasted, was well worth the money. The first wine that we really enjoyed was the Twang 2012 (only 63 cases produced), which is a blend of 57% Cabernet Franc, 34% Petit Verdot and 9% Merlot, aged 18 months in barrel. Balanced with juicy, chewy tannins and a big body, this wine exhibited black cherry, dark berry and leather notes from the nose to the palate. The leather notes really toned down the fruit-forward qualities and smoothed out the finish to create a perfect red blend to be enjoyed on its own or with grilled burgers. Our next favorite was the Intertwined 2012, which is a red blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc. While this wine isnt overly complicated, the oak influence stands out. Textbook dark cherry and ripe, dark fruit step forward, compliments of the Cabernet Sauvignon, but are leveled out by a blanket of oak influence. The Cabernet Franc adds in plenty of peppery zing that steps out mid palate and really intensifies on the finish. Another enjoyable wine by itself, but it can also accompany a slab of teriyaki marinated cube steak and wild rice.
What really stole the show was one of the club-only releases – the Equilibrium 2012. This blend of 33.3% Tannat, 33.3% Petit Verdot and 33.3% Cabernet Sauvignon is sophisticated and shows plenty of depth. For the bold red wine lovers, the Tannat and Petit Verdot bolster the masculinity of this wine while still showing elegant qualities. Fragrant floral (violet) overtones are backed by currants, spice and toasty oak on both the nose and palate. Black cherry dominates the palate. Dry, chewy tannins lead to hints of mocha on the finish. This wine stole my palate, but, sadly, I was unable to purchase it without joining the club.
The visit to Mountfair was pleasant given the overwhelmed staff and event that was going on this particular day. Though their blends were tailored more to novice wine enthusiasts than those craving depth and complexity, everyone should be able to find at least one or two wines that will be sure to impress.