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.
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
|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
|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
|Enjoying a tasting at Chateau
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
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 Brûlee and Grasshopper Pie. You
will be happy with either choice.
|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
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:
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>
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.
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.