If you travel westbound on I-66, there are several great wineries to choose from during your trip towards I-81 or Front Royal. For one, I like traveling on the winding country roads in search of a good Virginia winery. Two weekends ago, my boyfriend wanted to test out his truck in order for it to pass the dreaded vehicle emissions test. We drove west to visit North Mountain Vineyards, and along the way, we passed the signs for Naked Mountain Winery. I mentioned this winery to my boyfriend about stopping by, since I have never been there, and he said we stop by this one on the way back.
After the visit to North Mountain, I was excited to try out Naked Mountain. First, I had heard some great things about their white wines. In fact, one of my friends raved about their Chardonnay, and this intrigued me more since I was on a white wine kick. Normally, I love the full bodied taste of red wines, but ever since visiting some great wineries in upstate New York, I have been reverting back to white wines. Upon traveling down the winding driveway, we arrived to find a packed tasting room. I always like to say that the sign of a great winery is often determined by the crowded nature of the tasting room.
As soon as we found a tasting area, we got to sample two amazing chardonnays. The 2006 Chardonnay had a wonderful taste of oak and citrusy hints. It did not taste like it was fermented in oak, rather steel, since the finish was crisp. On the other hand, the 2007 Chardonnay was perfect. I think I might have found a Chardonnay from Virginia that I love, since it had a creamy taste with hints of vanilla and apple. The 2007 will pair well with any chicken, seafood, or pork dish that I prepare. The server even recommended pairing this wine with apple pie. While we sampled their Chardonnay-Riesling, I eventually settled on purchasing the 2007 Chardonnay.
The server moved on to the reds, which was particularly exciting for both me and my boyfriend. We love red wines. If you served us a glass of Cabernet Franc, we would be happy with this decision. We started off with the Cabernet Franc. Virginia is the capital of Cabernet Franc, and I don’t think another state could compare with this title. I had Cab Francs in Ohio and upstate New York, but none of those could compare to those in Virginia. The Cab Franc from Naked Mountain was smooth and had a great balance in tannins. This could seriously pair well with a charteucerie plate.
The second offering was the Scarlet Oak Red, and this wine was our favorite. This wine would complement my kitchen sink pizza and a good steak. It had a smooth, yet spicy taste. The flavor was complex, as the wine consisted of 45% Syrah, 45% Mouteverde, and 10% Tannat, but it finished with hints of berry.
The Merlot was also a good smooth tasting wine, and there was no doubt that I was torn on deciding which wine to buy. This Merlot was blended with Cabernet Franc, Tannat, and Petit Verdot. This wine had hints of oak, cherry, and vanilla, and this would pair well with Elk and Venison.
There were two pre-release wines that we sampled: Raptor Red and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Raptor Red was very good, as it was a blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Tannat, and Cab Franc. The wine was medium bodied, and the taste was smoky. While this wine would pair well with a cheese platter, I found myself leaning more towards the Scarlet Oak Red due to its smoother taste. The Cabernet Sauvignon was also good, as it tasted more of plum and earthy hints. This wine would pair well with cheeses too.
By the time it came to purchase the wines, my boyfriend and I had a hard decision to make concerning the reds. We were sold on the 2007 Chardonnay, but we were torn between the Cabernet Sauvignon and Scarlet Oak Red. Eventually, we decided on the Scarlet Oak Red due to the complex flavors.
This winery is a hidden gem, and there is no doubt that there will be return visits in the future.