Veritas Vineyard & Winery Review
Address: 145 Saddleback Farm Afton,Virginia 22920.
Phone Number: 540-456-8000
Tasting Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30-5:30, Sat-Sun 11:00-5:00
Region: Monticello AVA, Virginia
Reviewer: Brian Yost
Review Date: 11/9/2013
Reviewer: Brian Yost
Here in Charlottesville, in the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA), at the epicenter of Central Virginia wine country, there are almost fifty wineries within a forty-five minute radius. Most are exceptional. Of that number, however, there is just a handful that we return to again and again. Veritas is one of those. Its on our short list when were showing visitors the local sights. But dont take my word for it. Jancis Robinson and Linda Murphys American Wine identified it as a winery of note. There have also been countless mentions in the prestigious wine magazines. Oz Clark was recently in the area and made a point of stopping in at Veritas. I could go on, but you get the idea. The winery has street cred.
From Charlottesville, we typically take Route 250 to Route 151 and wind our way through the Rockfish River Valley, passing large estates and horse farms along the way, and into the shadow of Afton Mountain. Its a beautiful drive. Our most recent visit was during peak foliage, which was even more amazing, but its a nice drive in any season.
The panorama from Veritas is equally stunning. The property contains about thirty-four acres of vines, which are cultivated on the surrounding slopes. There is additional wooded acreage to the rear of the winery and it all backs up to the Blue Ridge. Its a nice place to hang out on a nice day and enjoy the view. There are tables and benches throughout the property to accommodate this activity. I’ve enjoyed more than one picnic at Veritas.
The front of the winery building has a wide covered porch with tables and chairs. On the southern end of the building is a large patio, which provides even more space for relaxing with a bit of wine. Inside is one of my favorite tasting rooms. One side is filled with brown leather couches and chairs. A large stone fireplace sits between the south-facing windows. The other side is filled with solid wood tables. Against the back wall is the tasting bar. It has the feel of a mountain lodge and its the kind of setting that just compels you to linger.
And then, of course, theres the wine
Veritas does have a reputation for world-class wine. As far as whites are concerned, Im always been a fan of Viognier. In a state that is known for this varietal, Veritas makes one of my favorites. It has the signature peach notes with a bit of citrus. There are also oaked and unoaked Chardonnays, a blended white and one of the best sparkling wines in the region. On this visit, the reds being tasted included a Merlot and a couple of Bordeaux blends. My hands-down favorite, however, was the Petit Verdot done in French oak. It had lots of black fruit and tobacco on the nose and more black fruit on the palate with a bit of pepper in the finish. It will only continue to improve with age. There were also a couple dessert wines. The Kenmar is done in a classic ice-wine style and the Othello Reserve is a ruby port. Both are extraordinary.
As you might imagine, Veritas attracts a crowd. Despite any line that you may encounter upon entering the tasting room, the staff does a commendable job dispersing visitors. So the line moves quickly. Tastings can be accommodated at the tables, on the couches, or at the tasting bar. In addition, I have never felt rushed and the wine stewards have always been informed and courteous. Simply stated, I have not had a bad experience at Veritas. Its as pleasant a tasting experience as you will find anywhere.
Veritas hosts a number of private and public events throughout the year. I’ve attended a corporate event at the winery, and I know that more than seventy couples got married there last year. But youre probably more interested in the public sphere and there are quite a few events. In addition to a fair number of formal winery dinners, Veritas is locally renown for its summer music series. The Starry Night concerts are a hugely popular event. Many attendees are regulars and the winery property fills with attendees even in bad weather.
So I keep returning. If you lived as close as me, you would too. If you are located in Virginia, or if you plan to engage in a little wine tourism and visit the area, this should be one of your stops. The area contains much more than the wineries. The Blue Ridge Parkway and the southern entrance to the Shenandoah National Park are about fifteen minutes away. So this area has a lot to offer and Veritas is only one of them. When youre out this way, make it a point to stop in at Veritas. You’ll be glad you did!