When I first heard that Donald Trump was going to buy the Kluge estate and winery in Virginia’s Albemarle County, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had to admit I rolled my eyes and thought: Oh no, what does this mean for Virginia wine country and this first-rate winery? Kluge estate was known for their signature sparkling wine as it was rated one of the best in the state and often served at White House events. Trump acquired the struggling 1,300 acre estate in 2011 where his son Eric is the President. Fast forward a few years and I am finally going to check out this estate and see for myself if this winery has maintained its stellar reputation.
The short answer is, YES. From the first step onto the front porch leading into the tasting room, I felt at home. I was visiting during the week so it gave me time to really relish the atmosphere and wines without much distraction.
Emily was my tasting guide for the day and I was in good hands. She started me off with the well-known sparkling 2008 Blanc de Blanc which means the wine contains 100% chardonnay. Trump uses the traditional French Methode Champenoise or Champagne Method to make this sparkler, which involves fermenting the wine in the bottle and not in large vats or vessels. This is a labor intensive and laborious process hence the elevated cost of most good sparkling wines or Champagne. I moved onto the sparkling rosé made up of 92% chardonnay and 8% pinot noir. These wines are magnificent and I highly recommend getting your hands on some to surprise and delight your guests at your next gathering. They were both a hit at a recent going away reception I hosted at my house. Too bad we ran out. 🙂
Trump offers an array of interesting wines including: Virginia’s signature, viongier, a sauvignon blanc, rosé, pinot noir, and a bordeaux-style blend. My last tasting adventure for this line up was a wine called Cru. Cru is a fortified brandy made from blending chardonnay juice and chardonnay brandy. It is aged in American bourbon barrels which impart a smokey and complex character to the wine. While tasting this unique wine, I thought I was eating a piece of pineapple upside down cake. What a treat! This wine would be a great gift for the wine aficionado or dessert lover in your life. That about covers everyone, right? The smart folks at Trump provide a post card with cocktail recipes using the Cru wine as the main event. I can’t wait to try the one with Cru and Trump Blanc de Blanc sparkling served with a slice of fresh orange. I think there is a brunch event in my future.
The counties in the Charlottesville area don’t have restrictions on wineries serving food made on premise as do some counties in Northern Virginia. A real plus for the avid wine tourist like myself. After my tasting was complete, I knew I wanted to sip on a glass of the Blanc de Blanc so I chose the crab cakes from the limited yet well-planned menu to pair with my wine selection. I ventured off to the terrace situated right off the tasting room to relax and enjoy the scenic view of rolling hills and blankets of grapes covering the distant landscape. The crab cakes were stellar and the wine; elegant, crisp with slight brioche and citrus on the palate.
My mind, body and spirit are all thanking me right now!
To learn more about the Trump estate visit their website at: www.trumpwinery.com.