Owner(s): Chuck Cardamon
Winemaker: Chuck Cardamon
Open to Public
Apr-Nov, Sat-Sun 11 to 5
12226 Harpers Ferry Road; Purcellville, Virginia 20132
Cardamon Family Vineyards Profile
Written by Brian—May 19, 2015
Many Virginia wineries conduct some type of food and wine pairing. Most consist of traditional combinations of wine and some sort of charcuterie. Cardamon Family Vineyards has added its own unique (for Virginia anyway) spin. Chuck Cardamon trained as a chef prior to opening his winery and he happens to specialize in salsa. I’m not saying that is all he does, but salsa is his superpower and he is pairing them with his wines.
Cardamon Family is fairly new. They have been producing wine only since 2012. With just 500 vines on the property, most of the fruit is sourced, but they are all Virginia wines. Total annual production is between 500 and 600 cases, so it is a pretty small boutique operation. Nevertheless, a visit to the tasting room will reveal well-crafted wine and steady stream of visitors. It is a pretty lively scene.
Chuck recently published a Salsavino book that contains 86 salsa recipes. Some of these salsas are available for purchase in the tasting room and there are typically four that are paired with the wines. So every wine will not have a corresponding salsa, but you will find them interspersed throughout the tasting. Now you might be thinking salsa equals hot, but many of them are mild and the concept really works. Ultimately you will have to check it out and form your own opinion.
So I sampled four salsas and nine wines. A couple of the pairings included a dry-style Vidal Blanc and a corn salsa. Another (and my personal favorite) was the Reserve Chardonnay and a pineapple, pear, corn and habanero salsa. Again, these did not pack a lot of heat. I will also point out that they were all pretty inspired.
I should say a few words about the wines. I thought they were all well made, but as always, I had a couple favorites. The Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay blend was my favorite white. It was done in stainless steel and had two percent residual sugar, but it was a perfectly balanced, food-friendly wine. My top pick of the tasting was the Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc blend, which was paired with a red, white and blue salsa. It was a medium-bodied red that spent eighteen months in oak, but still showed nice fruit and beautifully structured tannins. It is a potential award winner.
I really enjoyed my visit. I found the entire experience to be both educational and entertaining. Many of the visitors appeared to be regulars, which I think speaks volumes about the wine and the venue. I intend to be one of those repeat visitors. So if you have not checked out Cardamon Family Vineyards, it is high time that you venture out there. When you do, please let me know what you think.