It is my quest to discover new wineries, especially those off the beaten path. During a trip to Charlottesville, I noted winery signs to Prince Michel winery. This winery is located along Route 29, between the Virginia cities of Charlottesville and Culpepper. Prince Michel is a beautiful winery offering wine tasting, tours and wine themed suites for overnight guests. My visit was during a weekday and during a snowstorm in Virginia as there were only a couple of customers. I cannot speak about the weekends or summer days, but I’m sure this location has a loyal crowd. The tasting room presented a welcoming and enchanting atmosphere, which coupled with a knowledgeable wine pourer, made this a pleasant visit. The wine tasting rooms offers several varieties of wine flight tasting, to include Fine Fines, Premium Wines and Rapidan River Sweet Wines. I decided to have the Fine Wines and Premium Wines flight tasting.
The following are my wine notes for the Fine Wines:
Pinot Grigio: This is a smooth and refreshing wine, off dry, crisp and with a subtle finish. The wine is moderately aromatic with hints of peach. To the palate, the wine tastes of peach, honeysuckle, citrus, along with an oily texture.
Viognier: This is a classic Virginia Viognier, with strong tropical fruit aromas, medium sweetness, very smooth, and processed in stainless steel. Very enjoyable aromas!
Chardonnay: A very smooth wine, as it is not too grassy to the taste. The wine is buttery, with medium acidity, fruit aromas, and lighter on the palate, also processed in stainless steel.
Cabernet Franc: Light purple wine, medium sweetness, medium acidity, and low tannins.
Merlot: This wine was aged in American oak; it is a dark purple liquid, with hints of red flowers, dark fruits, pepper, dark spices, and smooth to the palate, low acidity, and low tannins.
Merlot-Cab Reserve: This wine was aged in French oak; it is a dark purple blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The wine has hints of vanilla and dark spices, such as black pepper, and it is smooth and not too complex.
Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was aged in American and French oak; it is a lighter purple liquid that is semi-cloudy. The wine has hints of plum and cherry, with medium sweetness, medium acidity, low tannins, and not too bold.
The following are my wine notes for the Premium Wines:
Mt. Juliet Petit Manseng: This is a sweet wine with sweet aromas, very buttery, but smooth to the palate. The wine is a mixture of aromas that include tropical fruits and floral hints. I recommend sipping this wine in order to closely examine its complexities.
Barrel Select Chardonnay: This is a straw yellow wine, with oaky and citrus aromas, low acidity, but smooth on the palate.
Mountain View Cabernet Franc: Unfortunately, the main aroma I detected on this wine was that of cough syrup, specifically cherry cough syrup. Other than that, this wine was aged in French oak; it has medium acidity, medium tannins, and a subtle floral hint such as that of roses. This could potentially be a fault known as brettanomyces, however, it could have been that specific wine bottle. Then again, some wine drinkers love to detect brett in wines.
Crown Orchard Cabernet Sauvignon: This is a dark purple wine, aged in French oak, a very complex wine. The dominating aromatic hint for this wine is that of bay leaf, as well as others hints of floral and spices. It is a medium sweet, moderate soft tannins, and medium tartness.
Syrah: Aged in French oak; this wine is a dark purple wine, with sweet hints of ripe red fruits, spices, very tart, high tannins, and 100% Syrah grape. A very interesting wine to enjoy!
Symbius: This is by far my favorite wine of the tasting! This wine was aged for 27 months in French oak and it is a blend of Bordeaux grapes. The wine is a medium dark purple liquid, very tart, medium acidity, low tannins, and complex and smooth finish. As a complex wine, I highly recommend sipping this wine during a long afternoon. The wine will benefit from further aging and being decanted to allow oxygen to surface the complex aromas.
Prince Michel Port-Style Desert Wine: This is a classic port with high alcohol content, but smooth on the palate.
Prince Michel Trés Bien: While very sweet, it is friendly to the palate with its strong citrus and tropical fruits aromas and tastes. It has low alcohol content and it is smooth. Think of summer wine during a hot afternoon!
Prince Michel Winery
154 Winery Lane
Leon, VA 22725