Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Villa Appalaccia: Virginia Winery Visit

A taste of Tuscany in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains.

Location, location, location. Those are the three most important factors in real estate. When our daughter decided to purchase land and build a cabin in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, we learned the location was fortunate indeed.

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Just two and a half miles from the building site is Villa Appalaccia, a winery with its roots in Virginia, but its head in Italy, in fact, it calls its style a taste of Tuscany in the Blue Ridge Mountains (between mileposts 170 and 171 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and near Floyd). With the weather blustery and cool, we decided to suspend construction on the cabin and head to the winery.

Lofty Location

The winery was established in 1989, we learned, and the original owners had a scientific background. They determined that the elevations and soils were a good match for Italian grape varieties. Villa Appalaccia was purchased in 2018 by Tim and Julie Block.

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The location of Villa Appalaccia is ideal. The stone villa is on a sloping hill that features outdoor tables and seating and also a bocce court. It is at 3,400 feet elevation, while the vineyard is a couple miles away and 1,200 feet lower to lessen the dangers of frost and high winds. Heyward Smith, the son-in-law of Tim and Julie, and the winery manager explained the wines to our tasting group of family and friends as we sipped.

We opened up with the whites, the first a 2019 Pinot Grigio, a light smooth wine with crisp flavors of pear and citrus. The next two wines were both made from Vidal Blanc. We are familiar with Vidal mostly from our time in Ohio. It is a cold hearty grape and also a popular choice for making ice wine.

Italian Varieties And More

The 2019 Lirico (lyrical in Italian) is 100% Vidal and has delicious green apple and lime notes. It bright and flavorful. It goes for $18.95.

Allegra is also 100% Vidal but is produced in a frizzante style, the light fizz being reminiscent of dry Prosecco. This is an upbeat, fun wine that we could sip all day. There are notes of lemon-lime and honey. It’s one of the driest wines produced by Villa Appalaccia.  Both Lirico and Allegra are finished in stainless steel to keep the crisp, precise flavors.

The 2019 Rosa is a rosé made with Merlot and Semillon. This was the first time I’ve tasted a rosé that included Semillon, which is a white grape.

Villa Appalachia offers three very nice reds. Each is aged in neutral oak, so as to not overwhelm the delicate flavors. The first red was the 2019 Sangiovese, a grape we dearly love. Heyward calls this a perfect pizza wine. The notes are deep berries with a touch of spice on the finish.

Delicious Red Wines

The Corvina was an excellent surprise. Sangiovese isn’t super common, but you can find it. Corvina, on the other hand, is much more difficult to locate. According to Heyward, Corvina loves slate, which the Villa Appalaccia vineyard has in abundance. The notes are sour cherry mingled with strawberry and a bit of pepper on the end.

The flagship blend of Villa Appalaccia is Rustico, a balanced 50/50 blend of Montepulciano and Cabernet Franc. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels. This is a fuller-bodied wine with plum and blackberry flavors. Due to the aging in neutral oak, it works well with a variety of lighter meat dishes as well as vegetarian cuisine and pasta.

In addition to great wine and friendly service, the winery is dog friendly (yay!) and has resumed its live music schedule. Due to the weather and our schedule, we didn’t get a chance to play bocce, but you can count on it during our next visit! The winery is open Wednesday through Sunday.

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