I visited Morais Vineyards today for a tasting with some friends. It’s rare for us to get a chance to get together without our husbands or kids so this was a nice afternoon for us to sit down and just enjoy our friendship! Morais Vineyards is a Portuguese winery setting its roots in Virginia. The winery itself opened in 2011 and since then has been slowly expanding the vineyard and space. The grounds are gorgeous and their event venue looks like a castle – provides amazing views as you drive by.
We started with a classic tasting of their whites, reds and rose. Battefield was the first white we tasted and our wine pourer actually had us try it 2 ways – from the tap with forced carbonation and from a chilled bottle. The tastes of the 2 versions were significantly different and I definitely liked the bubbly version better. The regular chilled one tasted too buttery for me (though my girlfriends preferred that version to the bubbly – everyone’s tastes are so unique!). I rated the bubbly a 3 and the chilled a 2. FYI I am not a white wine fan so 3 is typically the highest I go for those. Next up was the Verdelho, which is made completely from a Portuguese native grape so definitely unique to this winery. The tasting menu suggests pairing it with Asian food, and we all agreed that we could definitely taste how the wine would compliment that. It was rated a 2 on my scale, which basically means it was OK but please don’t pour me a glass of it. The final white we tried was their Sauvignon Blanc. Big no for me (again, remember I am not a white fan and everyone else enjoyed it). I can’t even describe the flavors I got from it because I immediately moved on! Rated a 1.
For the transition from white to red, we had their Rosé. My friend Charlene SWEARS by their rosé and we were told that they make the wine the exact same way every year, but obviously with the varying effects that each year produces (i.e. the weather) the wines can be significantly different from year to year. This one was very strawberry forward (most would say fruit forward but strawberry is the most prominent taste), it reminded me of strawberry shortcake. Not my favorite within the realm of rosés so it got rated a 2.
Now onto the reds! They offer 4 different styles – Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Select Red, & Touriga. The Merlot was good, nice full body to it, and I rated it a 4. The Select Red is a blend of the Merlot, Cab Franc and Touriga. It smells amazing and like most of Morais’ wines is very fruit forward. This one was my girlfriends’ top pick for the reds, rated a 4 by me. The Touriga is another wine made of a Portuguese native grape. The color on this one is unique and it has a mildly spicy taste. It’s actually one of my mom’s favorite wines. I rated it a 4. Now their Cabernet Franc is A-MAZING. It smells smoky and tastes peppery which is how I like my reds. I rated this one a 5, got a glass of it to drink there and bought a bottle to bring home 🙂 The tasting menu has recommended pairings for all the reds as well but my preference is they go with anything and everything! Though the top foods I would say are meat (specifically steak), cheese, and Italian food (aka pasta and pizza).
That concludes the classic tasting! We of course upgraded to the deluxe so we could try all the dessert wines too, because why not, right? The MV Tawny is a port style wine and made with 100% Touriga grapes. It’s comparable to a good brandy and our pourer had us try this both room temperature and chilled. I thought both versions were fantastic though the others preferred it chilled (well just one of them. Charlene hates sweet and pretty much poured all of her dessert wines into my glass). I’ve actually bought a bottle of this one the past 2 times I came here so it gets high marks from me! The Moscatel legitimately comes in a bottle that makes you think of maple syrup. It’s definitely sweet and would be good for a small glass sipped over time. The Jeropiga is a newer wine to Morais and made from Chambourcin and Vidal Blanc. The description calls this one jammy, which I’m a fan of, though I definitely couldn’t drink a lot of it. The Cherry (also known as Ginjinha) wine is their specialty dessert wine. It’s actually poured into a little cup of dark chocolate for the tasting which makes it even more flavorful. Think of a delicious alcoholic cherry cordial. Morais also is still serving their frozen wines, so we got to try all 3 flavors. Perfect little wine slushies, and definitely something I would slurp down on a hot day!
After our tastings and bottle buying were done, we each got a glass to enjoy. Erika had packed a little picnic spread of cheese, salami and dip so we sat around the table chowing down on cheese and getting our girl talk in. Also we found a cheese that was perfectly shaped like Virginia so we had to take a photo! I’m thinking we need to make this a monthly ritual since girlfriends and wine are always a winning combination in my book.