Break From the Beltway: Barboursville Vineyards

You know you deserve a break from the Beltway. Here’s how to do it right.

Do you ever find yourself in your dreary gray office staring at your sad lunchtime Lean Cuisine thinking; “wow, I could really use several glasses of wine and some verdant Virginian vistas.”

Look no further than Barboursville Vineyards. After an easy two-hour drive south with a car full of your thirstiest friends, you’ll end up at an expansive vineyard.

Barboursville Vineyards offers two tasting rooms, an insanely good Italian restaurant, explorable ruins, and lodging for the off chance you drink too much (you will).

Lets start with what we all came here for; wine. It’s no secret that one of our more agriculturally inclined forefathers, Tommy Jefferson loved wine. He probably thought “hey, why do Europeans get to have all the fun? I want to make Virginia into a world-renowned wine region.” Respect, TJ, respect.

But, there was one problem. Virginia’s climate sucks for growing traditionally good wine grapes. Cue the failure of Jefferson’s various vino attempts at Monticello and fast forward to 1976 when an Italian fella named Gianni Zonin founded Barboursville Estate. Zonin realized the significant historic opportunity of carrying out TJ’s vision on a property that TJ himself designed for his buddy, Virginia Governor James Barbour (hence Barboursville ya dumb dumb). The folks at Barboursville decided to pay homage to homie Jefferson in the classiest way possible; by planting 120 acres of vines.

Pour it up pour it up – Rihanna.

Barboursville’s most famous wine is their Bordeaux-style blend named “The Octagon.” Similar to Chuck Norris in the boxing movie,”The Octagon” you’ll probably punch your friends in the face when you realize what you’ve been missing.

Here’s how to do it right:

Step 1: Drink

First, we started in a relaxing cabin-like tasting room built around a roaring fireplace. The tasting was a manageable $7 for five stations. You will get 21 tastings and a free glass.

Note: the wine experts will not judge you if you cheers your friends every. single. time.

No monkeys in the barrel. I checked.

Step 2: Eat

Next, you’ll need to eat in the vineyard’s Palladio Restaurant. The Italian restaurant offers lunch, dinner, and optional wine pairings. The dining room was quaint and the staff was attentive. They didn’t seem to mind our millennial outbursts of “how classy is this joint?!”

Since it was lunch, we opted for the two courses plus wine pairings option. Wine not, am I right? The saffron risotto with charred baby octopus was a stand-out. One of those dishes that gives you a great big Italian grandmothery hug of flavor and happiness. The beef tenderloin was dreamy and, you guessed it, tender. The simplicity yet harmony of the noodles, parm, and speck in their daily special will occupy your hunger pain day dreams for weeks to follow.

Gigli con Rapini e Pecorino. Spicy perfection.
Filetto de Manzo Alla Griglia. Translation: melt-in-your-mouth black angus beef tenderloin
The special. I would sell my soul for another bite of this.
House made gelato. Pistachio, Coconut, and Lemon and Cardamom

Step 3: Explore

Next, walk off the glorious gastronomic experience with a stroll in the Barboursville Ruins. Be sure to grab a bottle of wine to drink among the crumbling brick. Finally, watch the sunset and give a shout out to TJ as you reflect upon your great, I mean grape, adventure.

I know the fire part is depressing, but you have wine. It’ll be okay.

I’ll leave you with a few famous words from Thomas Jefferson. “Lets drink some wine.” Cheers, you classy folks.

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