I’ve been up in Virginia for the last month or so while my parents are both recovering from separate falls. While I’ve been working remotely during the week, and visiting the parents twice-daily, by the time the weekend came, Steve (DOS), my brother Andy, and his partner Art decided we needed a quick getaway from all the stresses we’ve been through.
Andy and Art have been to Chateau Morrisette several times over the years, and wanted us to enjoy it with them this trip. We made a day trip of the visit, with Art being the designated driver, taking us on the one hour trip to the winery via the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. The leaves are fully in color now, although the day we went was a bit misty at times, so didn’t get as good of pictures as we would have liked.
Once at Chateau Morrisette, we checked in for lunch and had only a slight wait for our 1:30pm luncheon reservation.
We also had a group photo of us taken by the lobby fireplace before being seated in the dining room.
Once seated in the dining room, we looked over both the menu and the wine list. Chateau Morrisette offers quite a few different ‘dog’ wines, so named after the dog-lover owner’s that have put them on the labels.
We ordered a total of four different bottles: Dog White, Dog Red, Chardonnay Reserve and Cabernet Sauvignon. While we obviously didn’t plan on finishing the four bottles of wine (we asked if we could take the remainder home before ordering), the prices were so reasonable, that it made no sense to order individual glasses. Chateau Morrisette offers all of their wines in the restaurant at the same price as in the wine tasting room or bar, with no added markup, making it easy (and affordable) to try multiple wines without breaking the wallet.
Our window table for four offered outstanding views, while the nearby fireplace provided ambiance and warmth.
I didn’t eat the duck eggs, or try the quail, but did have some of the poached pear-roasted flatbread pizza.
Steve DOS had the house specialty, the shrimp and grits.
The setting was spectacular, even if the food and service weren’t outstanding. Our waitress was young and coincidentally blonde, (no offense to blondes!) but she obviously didn’t get very good training from the winery, especially as far as how to serve wine. We ordered the two whites first, saying we wanted to do a mini wine tasting between the four of us, wanting two glasses each. She brought one small wine glass each, saying the regular larger ones (which we saw being served at nearby tables) were all being used! The water glasses by contrast were much larger.Hello, this is a winery we thought – why not open up another box, although we settled for the small glasses. We also wanted a second glass each to try the difference in the Riesling-like wine with the more elegant Chardonnay wine. We finally got a second small glass each, but when she went to serve us, she just filled everyone’s glass up right away, ignoring the traditional tasting (and approval) by the host!
She later did the same with the two Red wines; just pouring the wine in the glasses without offering to taste it first, although for the reds we did get one bigger glass; still having to reuse our smaller white wine glass for the second red.
We’ve been to lots of wineries as well as wine pairings, and this was rather mediocre service; normally wineries want their wines showcased in large glasses so you can swirl the wine, observe the character, smell the aroma, etc, and we’ve never had someone open a new bottle of wine without having the host do a quick ‘approval’ tasting.
We even saved room for a couple desserts we shared.
Anyway, we had a nice leisurely afternoon at Chateau Morissette, and went to the adjacent wine tasting building and gift shop after lunch. I wasn’t driving, so I had the $10 tasting of their wines; ideally would have done that before lunch to see what I liked. The tasting hostess was very friendly and appeared much more knowledgeable about the wines served. She offered several samples, and we even got to keep the small wine serving glass.
Meanwhile DOS, Andy, and Art browsed thru the gift shop, before heading back home.