I twice attended the Middleburg Film Festival a couple of weekends ago, and while I was out there I decided to see investigate my food options. It had been decades since I was last in Middleburg.
Of course I was already aware that wineries and breweries have become a big tourism draw, but somehow it escaped me just how big. There really are a lot of wineries out there, and I didn't realize how many people would be there. What I imagined from a winery is what I know from France or perhaps seeing the movie Bottle Shock. A small tasting room perhaps and a few folks sipping wine.
Instead, I saw large grounds with plenty of picnic tables and entire families making a day of it with bringing their own food and games and sometimes party decorations.
Quattro Goombas has a winery and brewery, and I am told that Virginia law now allows them to coexist as long as there is a modicum of separation. At QG winery, they make their own pizza, and I heard it was great. So great, in fact, that they run out well before closing, which they did twice when I tried to order some after the film festival. One day they sold out by 4:30pm, and the next day by 4pm, though they are open until 6pm. The brewery, just a few feet away, has a small menu, but I was otherwise prepared. I had already visited the food truck of Hammerdown BBQ, so although I was pizza-less, at least I could chow down on some pork ribs. The bbq was nice without being wonderful, but they sure hit the spot. Hammerdown is in the process of building a restaurant in nearby Aldie.
I also visited Chrysalis Vineyards at the Ag District, which appears to be a purpose-built hall for
agricultural entities to sell their wares. Chrysalis wine and Locksley Farmstead Cheese are sold here. Just as at QG, there are plenty of picnic tables. At both places, there is also a nice selection of wine to taste as well as purchase by the glass or bottle.
Chrysalis is especially noteworthy as it is considered to produce the finest Norton wine. And since I read Todd Kliman's book, The Wild Vine (which is about the Norton grape and Chrysalis Vineyard), I thought I should taste what they are all about. BTW, they sell the book at the vineyard and it is an exceptional book, definitely not just about wine but a book about history, transformation, and redemption. I give it my highest recommendation.
They produce three Nortons. One is pure Norton with the unfortunate name of 'Schitz and Giggles,' which makes it sound like a cheap joke wine. It is a really good example of the grape and what makes it like no other wine. It sells for about $20 and is remarkable. For about the same price, they sell a Norton blended with a couple of Italian grapes that is supposed to produce a wine similar to a cab. It really does, and it is unremarkable. Their third Norton, the Locksley Reserve at about $38, is an astonishing and elegant blend that could sell for more. Totally worth it. All are available by the glass.
Quattro Goombas produces some impressive wine. I tried a viognier blend and also a red blend called vino di nonni, both worth a couple of exclamation marks. Virginia wine has come a long way.
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