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wine room in Chateau Morrisette in floyd Virginia

I think Julia Child would have loved this winery and its restaurant. You might expect a winery to serve excellent wines but when a winery is the place to go for fine dining as well, now that's something special.


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Chateau Morrisette is located in the midst of one of the most scenic spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Floyd, Virginia. What! You've never heard of Floyd? Well lots of people haven't but that is changing due to places like Chateau Morrisette.

Chateau Morrisette
Chateau Morrisette. Doesn't it remind you of a French Chateau?

We toured the winery and found lots of impressive equipment being used in a way that produced flavorful wines of all vintages. Black Dog, Sweet Mountain Apple, Blackberry, Sweet Muscadine all are good picks and have won medals to prove it. They do about  40,000 tastings  per year.

Black Dog, Hans at Chateau Morrisettewine barrels at Chateau Morrisette
Portrait of Hans                                            Note the pawprint on each barrel

Keith Toler, director of marketing in Chateau Morrisette, told us a bit about the winery's beginnings. and how the Black Dog Wine got its name. David Morrisette was the first winemaker at Chateau Morrisett. He started out in the chateau basement in 1982 accompanied by his friend, a black lab named Hans. When some red wine ended up on the floor Hans lapped it up. However when white wined spilled Hans wouldn't touch it. After all, don't we all have our favorite wines? Keith told of when the winery began becoming profitable. "David wanted to honor Hans in a way he would always be remembered. He changed his Trilogy Wine to The Black Dog. Sales went up 200%. He had a riesling that wasn't doing well so he decided to change that name to Our Dog Blue to honor his father's dog, Blue. Sales went up 600%. He decided every wine he produced would have a dog on the label."

Even on the aging barrels, each one is marked with a dog's paw print. And it's not just a marketing gimmick. Dogs are welcome at the winery. They also promote dog adoptions on certain menus and contribute to dog rescue operations.

Wine tasting at Chateau Morrisette
Enjoying a tasting at Chateau Morrisette

Tours are complementary and offered Monday - Thursday, 11 am, 1 pm & 3 pm, Friday & Saturday 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5pm and Sunday 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm. Tastings are available as a small charge or you can opt for an Elite Tasting for a bit more. The Elite Tasting offers 10 wines, a more indept look into the making of the wine and a lot more information about winemaking and parings. Well worth the money. Make a reservation if you want the Elite Tasting.

After sampling several great vintages, we moved over to the El Merlot Room for lunch. This room  was originally the tasting room and still has that warm friendly feeling with exposed beams a fireplace and great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Dining room at Chateau Morrisette
The cozy dining room

My choice was Crabcakes with Fried Green Tomatoes. served with their house special collards. Many of their vegatables are grown on site so you are getting a lot of Farm to Table food here. It was delish! Other options ranged from light cracker and cheese boards or salads to Filet Minion. Most of the food has a distinct Southern flair. Chef Sterling Steffens is particularly proud of his Shrimp and Grits and Pork Tenderloin but it's hard to go wrong here. For dessert I was torn between Mocha Pudding Crème Brûlée and Grasshopper Pie. You will be happy with either choice.

crabcakes wiht fried green tomatoes and collards Cheese platter at Chateau Morrisette
The Crabcakes with Fried Green Tomatoes  The Chateau Charcuterie

There are three dining rooms and some outdoor seating for when the weather is good. Sunday Brunch is very popular. It is held  Easter Sunday through November. Another offering from June through October, Sunday Sounds, is a free concert out on the grounds. People can bring a picnic basket and enjoy the scenery and music.

Chateau Morrisette is known for its special events. The Black Dog Music Festivals that draw thousands of visitors to hear big name bands Other events to watch for are Winemaker Dinners, Open Air Shakespeare, Murder Mystery Dinner Theater and Outdoor Adventure Activities. It's also popular for weddings, corporate events and private parties.p>

Wend your way through the Blue Ridge to visit Chateau Morrisette. You won't regret it.

For more info:

http://www.thedogs.com/ 

For another great winery article check out Tibs Trails and Tastes

Chef Sterling is happy to share his Fried Green Tomatoes recipe. If you have never tried this old Southern special, now is the time.

Slice green tomatoes ¼ to ½ inch thick:p>

Prepare breading:

2 cups of cornmeal; 2 cups of flour; ½ cup cornstarch; 1 tablespoon each of granulated onion, granulated garlic, course ground pepper; 3 tablespoons ground pepper; 2 tablespoons iodized salt

Combine dry breading ingredients and whisk together with ½ cup butter milk and 1 egg. Dredge tomato slices in breading and dip in buttermilk. Dredge again in the breading. Fry in oil until golden brown. Stack with pimento blue cheese dressing between each tomato.

The dressing.

Mix the following ingredients in a blender:

28 ounces cream cheese; 1 ½ cup of chopped pimento; 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese; 2 cups crumbled blue cheese; 1 tablespoon each of ground black pepper, granulated onion, and granulated garlic; 2 tablespoons kosher salt.

Enjoy!

 

 


 

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