Trump it.

Recently, the Washington Post took the time to explore the wine region in its own backyard. The entire travel section was devoted to eating, tasting, playing, and staying in Virginia wine country. One article in particular was focused on the culinary and viticultural bounty of the Charlottesville area. With numerous recent articles touting Charlottesville as one of America’s best cities for food and wine, the historical home of Jefferson and America’s winegrowing efforts has become a mecca for foodies and oenophiles alike. So, it goes without saying that the author probably couldn’t pack everything into one quick weekend jaunt through town. It seems to be her bias, however, and not Father Time that kept her from one of Charlottesville’s gems.

After taking in some of the rich history in the area, the author gets back to the business of tasting through Virginia’s wine country. It’s at this point that she muses, “[Blenheim Vineyards] is just up the road from Trump Winery. We’ve elected to skip the latter, put off by the large gold-leaf “T” on the sign at the entrance. By contrast, the sign for Blenheim is so small and plain, it’s easy to miss the turnoff.” Now to be fair, when most of us hear the name “Trump” it probably conjures images of opulence and bad toupees, but Trump Winery is under the tutelage of Donald’s son, Eric Trump. Eric’s done a tremendous job bringing Trump’s signature customer service to Charlottesville, while preserving the understated elegance and charm of Virginia Wine Country.

Trump Winery Sign

The Trump Winery tasting room is nestled among the estate’s 1300 acres of grapevines and tree groves. The cozy space is full of natural light and dark wood, with the square shaped tasting bar drawing attention to the center of the room. Beyond the tasting bar, the room opens to a spacious stone terrace with additional room for tasting, and various alcoves for lounging and sipping on your favorite Trump wine.

Trump Tasting Room

You may just find more than one favorite at Trump, too. Sparkling roots run deep on this property, having been planted by Patricia Kluge in 1999. These sparkling wines have won numerous competitions and accolades, including the 2008 SP Rosé which claimed a coveted spot in the 2013 Governor’s Cup Case. Trump offers more than just the light and bright, however. The 2012 New World Reserve is a beautiful, complex Bordeaux blend worthy of a gourmet meal or a cozy spot in front of a fire.  If you’re craving something a little stronger, indulge in Trump’s Cru: a fortified chardonnay aged in bourbon barrels for more than 12 months. It makes a killer hot toddy or spiked/spiced apple cider.

Overall, Trump Winery provides a spectacular tasting experience in a beautiful corner of Virginia wine country; one that people (like the Washington Post journalist mentioned above) might miss because of preconceived notions about its owner.  To avoid missing out, I invite you to Trump it.

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Is it Butterflies… Or the Bubbles?

Butterflies_BubblesHappy Love Month to all you Valentine’s Day enthusiasts out there! For those of you that are less enamored with the forced love celebration, at least it’s an excuse to drink champagne with the one you love. Not that you need an excuse, mind you, but there are lots of great deals and promotions this time of year that make taking advantage of this Hallmark-driven holiday a rather attractive proposition (and honestly, how tough can a great meal and bubbly with your loved one really be?).

This Valentine’s Day, why not explore the wonderful world of Sparkling Rosés? This group generally pairs beautifully with the luxurious and decadent world of gastronomy that always seems to envelope this day of love, and provides the extra panache to make your celebration sparkle. Here are my favorite deals for Valentine’s Day 2014:

  1. Wine.com is running a spectacular deal from one of my all-time favorite Champagne houses: the Piper-Heidsieck ROSE-SAUVAGE-BRosé Sauvage “Bodyguard” Limited Edition sparkler is just $49.99 with this deal. That’s 33% off! It’s a dry sparkler, with plenty of brioche notes, red fruit flavors, and toasty richness. The flamboyant, pink crocodile (latex) skin bottle also makes this one perfect for a Valentine’s girls night out! Wine.com also has a number of great deals on sparkling wine and chocolate packages (you know, if one-stop shopping is your thing).
  2. Mumm Napa Brut Reserve Rosé is 20% off for Valentine’s Day; pair it with some pink roses, as they suggest, and you’re on your way to one romantic evening. Mumm even has a creative, easy appetizer recipe to pair with this dry bubbly to set the tone for romance.
  3. At just $14 a bottle, Michelle Brut Rosé doesn’t need a special promotion. A dry sparkler with plenty of character, Michelle offers some cocktail recipes to dress things up even further. While the French Kiss may seem like the logical place to start, my pick would be Everybody’s Sweetheart.

However you decide to celebrate, here’s wishing you a romantic evening worthy of one of these great deals. Cheers!