25 Photos of a Caterpillar, and Wine

The early start from being awake for the race and the beautiful weather meant we made three stops on the winery tour: Barboursville Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, and Castle Hill Cider. Although the sun was shining, it was definitely a boots day.

guess the feet.

Barboursville is one of the older and more established wineries in the area [opened in 1976] with an extensive, unique and well-developed wine selection. They’re famous for their “Octagon”: a Cabernet, Merlot, Cab Franc & Petit Verdot blend. It’s deep and spicy, and one of the region’s best reds. We tasted down the line – Erin and Shaun enjoyed the 2008 Merlot Reserve, and I was a fan of the 2010 Chardonnay Reserve and the 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve. Barboursville is a great stop because its multitude of wines can please many different palates. Its only downfall? No seating outdoors. So we did a tasting and moved on to our next stop.

The ruins of Governor James Barbour’s mansion are found on the winery property. Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the mansion burned down Christmas Day 1884 (after Barbour’s death). It was once the most valuable mansion in the area – and yes, that area included Montpelier.

on the way to the ruins we saw a sad dog...

and a pretty sweet caterpillar.

what an awesome wedding venue.

Next, we got to cross Keswick Vineyards off the Bucket List, a place whose wines we had been meaning to try ever since we explored the winery as a potential wedding venue. Keswick is a dog-friendly winery, even hosting a “Yappy Hour” on Sundays where dogs are expected to join their owners for wine and cheese. Their wine list, however, is small and a bit more expensive than the rest of the wineries in the region. I couldn’t taste a significant difference in quality that would justify the significant price increase.

What shined at Keswick was the 2010 Touriga, the bottle we selected to share with our lunch. Touriga is [if I remember correctly] a Portuguese grape that is usually dried into raisins and used to make sweet dessert wines. Keswick ages the grapes in oak barrels instead. It’s a lighter-bodied red with a pretty purple color and some smokiness. It was perfect with our Foods of All Nations spread: cheese, baguette, vegetables, fruits, olives, and olive oil with spices from Napa! Our friends Lauren and Chris joined us for this leg of the tour – they shared a Cafe Europa sandwich, which Keswick stocks in their cold case.


While we were tasting at Keswick, one of the employees mentioned that a new cider works had just opened up down the street. When you’re that far out into the country, you might as well try as much as you can… so we hopped into the car after lunch and headed to Castle Hill Cider.

Castle Hill opened in July of 2011, and they use only Virginia apples to make their ciders. They had three sparkling and one still cider. It was worth the trip for the scenery [and a chance to stalk a four-hundred person wedding], but to me, ciders are a bit too sweet. We did get to keep the tasting glasses, though!

the views were unreal.

Rather than crash the wedding, Lauren and Chris split off to try Barbeque Exchange [because it’s right down the road and Shaun spent the entire day talking about it], and Erin, Shaun and I headed back into town for an amazing dinner. Stay tuned.




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Categories: C-Ville


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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One Comment on “25 Photos of a Caterpillar, and Wine”

  1. jbockert
    October 23, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    beautiful photos!!

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