Home > wine, wine ratings, Winery > Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia – Definitely Worth a Trip

Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia – Definitely Worth a Trip

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While traversing the wine blogosphere, I came across a post about the book called “The Wild Vine” by Todd Kliman. This sparked my interest because of two reasons – for one, it was talking about the grape called Norton, which was for a long time on my “to try” (of course partially due to the Wine Century Club and my Treble Journey). Another reason was that the book was talking about Virginia on the very first page, and Virginia was already set as my vacation destination for the coming week. To my full delight, Chrysalis Vineyards, located on Champe Ford Road in Middleburg, was the place where The Wild Vine book started, and it happened to be just around the corner of our intended destination in Virginia, which made visiting it very easy.

When visiting wineries in some “well developed” areas, like Napa Valley in California, you usually drive along a big road, simply making turns into short driveways. ChrisalisVineyards_reds Coming to Chrysalis Vineyards was pleasantly different – a mile and a half on the narrow unpaved road, surrounded by luscious greens. Somehow you get this real rustic feeling, which sets you in the right mood for tasting the wines ( and probably affects the way wines taste, but I guess this will be a subject for another post :)).

There was a great lineup of wines at the winery. There were simply no wines that I didn’t like (has something to do with the road and right mood, huh?), and all the wines were of a very good quality. The selection of grapes that are used at the winery also was very unusual – being accustomed to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from the West coast, and then Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir from the Northeast seeing Viognier, Petit Manseng, Albarino, Petit Verdot and Tannat (and of course Norton), was exciting.

The tasting included 12 wines, out of which 2009 Viognier (exceptionally perfumed and vibrant), 2005 Norton Estate Bottled (80% Norton with the addition of Petit Verdot and other grapes, very balanced with silky tannins and long finish), 2005 Petit Verdot (80% Petit Verdot and 20% Tannat, very soft and round) and 2005 Norton Locksley Reserve (again, very balanced and soft) were really shining, I would rate them all at 7+ and 8 (Viognier definitely deserves an 8).

All in all, if you have a chance to visit Chrysalis Vineyards – don’t miss it, go discover the Real American Grape for yourself – and let me know your opinion!

  1. Emil
    August 26, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Sounds like a great place to visit 🙂
    I have to admit I am surprised by the consistently high marks and knowing you I am sure it’s not all due to the nice drive up to the vineyard.
    But you conspicuously avoided mentioning their prices. Are they as bad as the North Fork?

    • talkavino
      August 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm

      I would say that prices are somewhat better than North Fork, but not whole lot. Estate Norton wine which I really liked was $19, Viognier was $29, and Petit Verdot and other Reserve wines are $35. I guess it is somewhat more reasonable but still well outside of my comfort zone for everyday wines.

  2. August 26, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Chrysalis is definitely a fun place and a serious winemaker. I have been there and here are my impressions. http://www.schiller-wine.blogspot.com/2010/07/norton-and-other-wines-of-chrysalis-in.html

    • talkavino
      August 26, 2010 at 11:26 pm

      Thanks for the comments. Very thorough analysis in your blog!

  3. August 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  4. TNWT
    January 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

    In your future Norton wine travels realize that there are now 236 Norton wineries in 23 states. We have found the best Norton wine examples by states are White Oaks (AL); Mount Bethel (AR), Three Sisters (GA); Century Farms (TN); Elk Creek (KY); Castle Gruen, Cooper, DuCard, Chrysalis (VA); Stone Mountain Cellars (PA); and Blumenhof, Heinrichshaus, Stone Hill’s Cross J, Montelle, Peaceful Bend, Westphalia (MO). Remember that all Norton wines need to breathe an extended amount of time before enjoying. Castle Gruen (VA) and Westphalia (MO) may be the exceptions as “drink now” Norton wines.

  5. talkavino
    January 16, 2011 at 11:35 am

    TNWT, thank you for the note – will make sure to stop by some of the wineries you mentioned.

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