Slater Run Vineyards Profile
Written by Brian—Apr 13, 2016
If you are looking for Slater Run Vineyards, you will not find them on the Virginia Wine Map. They are too new. You will not find a tasting room strictly dedicated to the their wines with a view of the vineyards. To check out or purchase the Slater Run wines, you will need to swing by The Local Taste located on Route 50 in Upperville. This is not the same modus operendi used by other wineries, but it works.
Kiernan Slater and Christopher Patusky, decided to pour their wines at an offsite location, but it is much more than a tasting room. The couple purchased and restored a small stone building in the Upperville village center, that in 1805 started out as a tavern. It then cycled through a variety of other uses, before ending up as a tasting room and wine shop. When you look at it from the outside, it is hard to imagine that it can serve dual purposes simultaneously, but the interior space is expertly arranged and beautifully decorated to retain the historical sense of the structure and provide ample space for both tasting and retail transactions.
The vineyards and winery are located on Plum Run Farm, which is just a short distance from The Local Taste. There are currently five acres under vine with plans to plant another seven this year. The legendary viticulturalist Lucy Morton was retained to identify the best location for the vineyards and, based on the quality of the wine, this seems to have paid big dividends.
Current production at Slater Run stands at about 1000 cases annually and wines are made exclusively from estate fruit. Kieran and Christopher hired Katell Griaud as their winemaker. After graduating from the University of Bordeaux, she moved to Virginia where she initially worked for Trump Vineyards near Charlottesville. In addition to her current gig at Slater Run, she is the head winemaker at Casanel. So she has some serious street cred with Virginia wine. She is a world-class winemaker and we are lucky to have her here in the Commonwealth.
I was able to taste four of the Slater Run wines. Both the Pinot Gris and the Chardonnay were expertly crafted, balanced whites that demonstrated the typical varietal characteristics. I also tasted a Rosé made from Merlot and done in a dry Provencial style. Its crisp strawberry notes brought to mind a summer lunch on the patio and left me longing for an end to this winter and the start of a proper Rosé season. I must say, however, the star of the show was the Cabernet Franc. It lacked any hint of green pepper, which indicates proper vineyard management. The vines were only planted in 2010, which makes the quality of this wine all the more surprising.
The tasting and wine sales at The Local Taste have been entrusted to the capable hands of Adale Henderson, who also fills in as the events and marketing coordinator. Adale is also something of an oral historian for the building, winery and local area. She can provide details on nearly every aspect of the current and past operations, while at the same time providing a commendable level of customer service. I left with the sense that I really want to return and that had much to do with Adale.
This is one that simply demands exploration by anyone serious about Virginia wine. I should point out that there are a couple Bordeaux blends that will be released over the next few months, which only helps sweeten the pot. This should require no arm twisting. Get over there, check out this venue and, as always, let me know what you think.