Over the last few years we’ve visited over 100 wineries across the state of Virginia, enjoying the beauty of the countryside, educating ourselves on the industry, and fueling our passion for Virginia Wine with each visit. While nearly all of our experiences in Virginia Wine Country are something to write about, there are some that simply stand out above the rest. If you’ve ever experienced that moment when a glass of wine strikes all the senses– the sight, smell, taste, and sound enveloping you in a perfect moment in time– then you know exactly what we are talking about. This weekend, we had one of these very experiences sampling wines from Slater Run Vineyards at The Local Taste in Upperville, VA. Between the exceptionally crafted and carefully thought out wines, the quaint and cozy tasting room, and the friendliness, knowledge and passion of the ownership and management, The Local Taste is a new favorite destination for us!
Owners Kiernan Slater and her husband Christopher Patusky returned to Upperville to continue farming the land that the Slater family has owned for over 300 years. But in 2010, they had a vision for something new. Working with renowned east coast viticulturist Lucie Morton and inspired by high-quality local producers including Black Ankle Vineyards and Linden Vineyards, Slater Run Vineyard was designed and planted on the land. Winemaker Katell Griaud was brought in to craft the wines. Originally from France, Griaud studied at the University of Bordeaux before coming to the states. She served as a winemaker for Trump Vineyards in Charlottesville prior to working for Slater Run (and the nearby Casanel Vineyards).
While the production facility is located on the family property, The Local Taste serves as the tasting room (and wine shop) for Slater Run Vineyards. Located directly off of Route 50 in Upperville, the tasting room is easy to get to and hard to miss. Originally a tavern dating back to the 1800’s, The Local Taste has been renovated to form the perfect Virginia experience– combining the deep rooted history of horse and hound country with the elegance of the growing world of wine. The small tasting room offers the current vintage of Slater Run Vineyards, but also showcases wines from other Virginia producers and from around the world. Their wine cellar features hundreds of varietals from different wine regions and vintages, something for every palate. Indoor and outdoor seating is offered as well as light fare to enjoy alongside your wine (the family also owns the Country Store located immediately next door and you are welcome to purchase food from the store to enjoy at The Local Taste).
During our visit we were able to chat with one of the owners, Christopher, as well as Adale Henderson (Events and Marketing Coordinator for The Local Taste). It was a pleasure talking with them and having them facilitate our tasting, sharing their knowledge and excitement for wine along the way. We were able to try four Slater Run wines from the 2014 vintage, including the Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Rosé and the Cabernet Franc. Each wine is tasting wonderfully and was clearly created with attention to detail throughout the entire winemaking process ensuring that the complexities and flavor profiles are fully developed.
- 2014 Pinot Gris: 100% estate grown grapes (Slater Run Vineyard) and fermented entirely in stainless steel, the Pinot Gris is crisp and refreshing but with a nice touch of acid– a great summer patio wine!
- 2014 Chardonnay: If you follow us, you know that Chardonnay is one of our go to wines during the summer season. This one hit the spot. The 2014 Chardonnay was fermented in 80% French oak and 20% stainless, lending to a slightly buttery creaminess with a crisp green apple finish. It was the perfect combination for us, so naturally, we took a bottle home.
- 2014 Rosé: We are Rosé snobs and not ashamed to admit it. In fact, just a few weeks ago we highlighted a few of our favorite Virginia Rosés. Had we tasted the Slater Run Rosé prior to composing that post this one would have absolutely been on the list! This blend of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Merlot aged entirely in stainless steel is light, crisp and acidic- just the way we like it! Another bottle of Rosé purchased for the collection!
- 2014 Cabernet Franc: The last Slater Run wine on the tasting menu was the Cab Franc. Their Cab Franc is blended with 20% Merlot, helping to smooth out some of the classic peppery spices and earthy tones often found in this varietal.
All in all, this is a spot not to be missed. We certainly plan to visit again soon, especially because they are releasing two new Bordeaux blends in the coming months which we can’t wait to try! So head out to Upperville the next time you’ve got a craving for some #vawine to enjoy a tasting, a light bite, and a beautiful afternoon at The Local Taste!