Love at First Taste: Virginia Wine Month

What do you know about Virginia wine? I didn’t know much myself until I took a trip up to “the Commonwealth” during Virginia Wine Month (October) to see what it was all about. Virginia may not be the first place that pops in your head when you think of wine, but their viticultural history predates the country itself. With seven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and 270 wineries, there is a lot of excitement around wine in Virginia. There’s no singular style and no “signature grape,” just a community of artisans obsessed with expressing the character of their land (and a beautiful land at that!)

My fabulously Virginian journey started once the plane touched down in Norfolk International Airport. The air was crisp, full of fall freshness, and after a two-and-a-half-hour flight, I needed a bite to eat. Luckily, Commune was a short drive away in NEON Art’s District—my first taste of Virginia.

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In French, the word Commune translates to the smallest territorial division. In English, it means people coming together. Both perfectly sum up with the restaurant is all about. They source food solely from their territory and love bringing people together through that food. The homegrown cuisine is paired with a curated Virginia wine and local beer list—a perfect introduction to my Virginian wine quest.

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With 36 hours of fun ahead of me, I thought it was appropriate to start my trip with some bubbles. Thibaut Janisson Virginia Fizz was the perfect pick! This sparkling wine is Crémant style made of 100% Chardonnay. It was a lovely shade of yellow with notes of peach and apple. It had a nice mouthfeel with tinny fizzy bubbles that would not stop (they were fizzing until the end of the meal). I paired it with a pimento cheese and pickle board featuring homemade pimento-style cheese, pickled vegetables, ham, and butter toasted sourdough bread, along with some hash tots, made of fried sweet potato and drizzled with local honey, served with honey mustard aioli (SO. MUCH. NOM.)

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Next, since I’m all about Rosé all day, I decided to taste the 2017 Dry Rosé from Williamsburg Winery. It’s a blend of Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc, and Viognier. With its medium copper color, this beautifully dry Rosé had notes of strawberry and raspberry with some nice minerality. It’s was nice and clean—perfect for lunch. I paired it with a Southern Rice Bowl, a combination of Carolina gold rice, sorghum berries, cheddar cheese, breakfast sausage, roasted seasonal veggies, pickled mustard seeds, and a sunny side up farm egg, as well as a delicious brown sugar spiced apple buckwheat crepe that tasted like Mother Nature’s autumnal love (NOM AF.)

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With my belly full and excitement for the day ahead, I left Commune, sad my carry-on couldn’t fit any the great goods from their market, but excited for the journey ahead in Cape Charles. Stay tuned!

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