Monday, September 07, 2009

Rosemont of Virginia and Brian's Steak House

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I trekked South to Mecklenburg County, Virginia to see family and visit Rosemont of Virginia Winery. The place is nestled among very gently rolling hills along a winding country road just beyond LaCrosse. A few miles further and you have crossed over into North Carolina. This area used to be solid tobacco growing country. It’s nice that this farm branched out into an alternative that turned out to be oh-so-delicious.

The tasting room was large and we were heartily greeted. A few local crafts were featured as well as artwork and wine paraphernalia.

The upstairs boasted a large open area – perfect for a wedding rehearsal dinner or reception. A few small rooms branched off of the open area which could serve as a great private party/sit-down dinner affair.

The winery also offered a downstairs dining room for lunchtime sandwiches/salads

and a patio overlooking the vines.

Two different tasting schemes were offered: 6 wines for $4 or 11 wines for $6. Guess which one we went for? (And I want to thank my aunt for taking us all in her van and for being the designated driver). Here was the line-up:

2007 Traminette – Dry with good floral tones. The best white we tasted

2008 Pinot Grigio – Refreshing, but a bit thin.

2007 Vidal Blanc – Off-dry with a hint of vanilla.

2007 Chambourcin – More like a very dark rose with bits of strawberry.

2006 Merlot – Not a typical Virginia style Merlot. Very quaffable.

2007 Syrah Vintner’s Reserve – Wow! A great tasting wine. We were surprised to find Syrah. These vines were planted in 2004.

2006 Cabernet Franc – Just a hint of green pepper. An excellent example of how good a Virgina Cab Franc can be.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon – Once again a solid red wine winner from Virginia. Both this and the Syrah were our favorites.

Lake Country Sunset – Sweet, white, popular for sipping on the nearby lake in your boat. While not a favorite, it was still drinkable.

2007 LaCrosse – A dessert wine made from LaCrosse grapes. This should be paired with strawberry shortcake.

2007 Blackridge Red – Sweet cherry-ness from Catawba grapes. Once again, not my preference, but drinkable. Probably a good wine for sangria.

I have to say that if I were served any of these wines, I would drink them. I was impressed with the consistent overall quality of the offerings. If you are heading in that direction, I recommend a little detour for a taste.

Upon leaving Rosemont of Virginia, we drove to Brodnax and stopped at Whitby’s Country Store, very quintessential, so my aunt could pick up some peaches.

And then we headed to South Hill and stopped at Brian’s Steak House for dinner.

Let’s see. I had not had a steak at Brian’s in about 25 years and then I could order a sirloin with house salad, baked potato, and Texas toast for $3.95. $3.95! The only real change to the place was the addition of a few more wood-paneled rooms to accommodate this still-popular local eating establishment. The place was packed and was hosting a 50th wedding anniversary dinner in one of the back rooms.

And, now they have at least decent red wine at $26.99 a bottle. We ordered the Kendall Jackson Merlot.

Steaks still featured prominently on the menu along with a host of seafood specials and prime rib. The fried shrimp looked very scrumptious. I stuck with my regular sirloin steak order, now $13.99. A typical pre-made house salad with a plastic cup of ranch dressing to start and then the real goods arrived - steak -

Still good. Cooked medium rare as ordered with an appropriate sized baked potato with both butter and chive-studded sour cream and don’t forget the irresistible Texas toast.

If you are on Interstate 85 and need to eat in South Hill, stop at the locally owned Brian’s. You’ll get a decent meal.

A good trip. Visited family. Tasted good Virginia wine. Experienced a bit of down home. Supported local establishments. Enjoyed good solid food at decent prices. And received a welcome taste of Southern hospitality.

Brian's Steak House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Weekly Farmers Market Photos

Butternut and Sweet Dumpling Squashes are making an appearance as well as some beautiful green and yellow broad beans. Red bell peppers looked gorgeous and irresistible. Corn was hard to come by and there were no black-eye peas to be had.