Chateau Morrisette

“THE WINERY THAT DOGS BUILT.”

One of the biggest and oldest wineries in Virginia is also located in the county I grew up in, Floyd County. Chateau Morrisette was founded by David Morrisette in 1980 and has grown immensely since then. Sitting on 13 acres of land the winery grows grapes for their Mountain Laurel wine and also boosts a high-end restaurant. The winery is a fixture for the Virginia Wine industry, this winery
sells an astonishing 70,000 cases a year, and that number continues to grow. Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is a must-visit winery for both travelers and winos alike.

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Check out the bottom of the page for detailed descriptions of my favorite wines!

Chateau’s estate is quite enormous in size and can be a little daunting to a new visitor! Included on the property is an up-scale restaurant that has fun coming up with new dishes to pair with their wines. I’ve never been to that restaurant though, so I can’t speak about it much other than that. The tasting building is a large 2-story, French style chateau. Chandeliers hang from the ceilings and the floor was laid out with beautiful stone tiles. Also, for those wanting to see the wine-making process and vineyards, the winery offers a couple of tours through the estate each day.

You’re always sure to be entertained during your visit; Chateau Morrisette hosts events year-round. When we went they were having a large jazz concert on a s20150802_150327unny, but cool Sunday afternoon.  Dogs on leashes are very much welcomed. And almost everyone had brought their dog which made a good environment for socialization. A tip though, bring lawn chairs as tables are very limited and become occupied fast.

Yet, this winery does things a little different than every other winery I have been to, but don’t let that throw you off! For example: you have to buy tickets for tastings at a cash register located towards the entrance of the tasting building and then you proceed to the tasting bar where the pourer gathers a group. $8 gets you a tasting and for $10 you get to keep the glass (which they always are changing with new colors and designs!).

20150802_151100The tasting is ten wines but your pourer also includes additional tastings of their favorites (ours, Michelle, gave us about six more). The standard tasting is always changing and features a new dog from Floyd County Humane society that is up for adoption. Our tasting was called “Oreo’s Choice” and at the bottom of the list was his picture with the contact information to adopt him (I love that about Chateau).

Also weird about the winery is that after a tasting you select your wine bottles from the store front near the bar that you would like to purchase and you proceed to a register to pay for them. Normally, at other wineries, this is handled by the pourer after your tasting. I suspect they have this stream-lined way to deal with the mass amounts of visitors they receive. We were never waiting for too long, I hate lines and they do great combating them.

A bummer though, is that if you do not purchase a wine glass during your tasting you receive little plastic wine glasses to drink from (even if you purchase a bottle you receive these). I think this is also due to the large amount of people coming through and spreading out over the property, which might result in the wine glasses growing legs and walking away!

We always have such a good time visiting this famous and well-established winery. Stop by on any afternoon or check their calendar of events to plan something more special.


The Wines

Chateau Winery has a wide array of wines, many of which I have always adored. When choosing Chateau Morrisette wine in the grocery store it is almost impossible for me to choose just one! Here are some of my favorites from our tastings.

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Nouveau Chien, French for “New Dog.” And that is exactly what this is. One of their original wines is called Our Blue Dog and is a sweet table wine. This wine is a new take on the four wine combination that they used for Our Dog Blue. This one, however, uses more Chardonnay. This wine quickly became a huge hit and is my new favorite from Chateau Morrisette
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One of Chateau’s original wines, this one started in 1978, two years before the winery opened. It’s a semi-dry table wine with 1-2% residual sugars. The aroma is very fruity but with a smooth finish. It’s delicious and would go great with grilled meats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chateau’s Orchard Series features several wines that are fruit juice based. This blackberry wine is just what you think, a wine made out of blackberries! Many people at the winery were drinking this, so I was very excited when it came up in the tasting. Sadly, it was a bit too sweet for me and I didn’t much care for the taste of the blackberries. Must just have been me though! It is one of the more popular wines from this series.
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Chateau feature two sangrias in their orchard series; a red and a white. This is their red, my favorite of the two. Our pourer, Michelle, says that “if you’re drinking to forget, it takes exactly two bottles!” 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Mountain Laurel is one of Chateau’s Signature Wines.  There is also a Red Mountain Laurel but this one is my favorite of the two. Grapes for this wine are grown on the winery’s 13 arces. It is a perfect picnic wine that is light enough to be enjoyed on a hot, humid summer day. It is one of the cheaper wines, coming in at about $9 a bottle, but the taste isn’t reflected in that price!
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Chateau’s Chambourcin wine is amazing and my favorite of their reds. Chambourcin grapes are of unknown origin but they are grown in France and the mid-Atlantic United States. This wine has intense fruity aromas, flavors of berries and black cherry, and has a smooth, deep finish. This wine goes great with pizza! Chateau also has a reserve Chambourcin that is a little more expensive but that is from the constant tending the wine receives during the 20 month aging process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chateau was approached by Wal-Mart a few years ago to develop a white and red wine for them at a low price. Wal-Mart backed out of the deal, but Chateau decided to continue on and make two expensive-tasting wines that wouldn’t hurt the wallet. At about $13 a bottle, these two are well worth their money. The unique (and fun!) part about the 5 Red Grapes blend is the graham cracker aroma! When our pourer told us this, I was a little skeptical about that, but she was not kidding!

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