Finally! After at least a year of waiting, Effingham Manor & Vineyards has opened! If you live in Virginia, you may have heard of Pearmund Cellars. Effingham is the sister winery to Pearmund, both of which are owned by Chris Pearmund. Chris is legendary in Virginia wine, and when Laura Beth and I found out that he was opening Effingham, we knew we had to visit! Of course, we found out that the winery was opening over a year ago, so the anticipation was palpable!
Effingham’s tasting room may have just opened, but they are not new to winemaking. In fact, their wines have already won numerous awards and recognition throughout the country. Awards such as “#1 Rosé in the Country” (Indy International Wine Competition), Gold Medals at the Virginia State Fair, and numerous medals at the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup are shown off in their modern farmhouse tasting room. The Indy International Wine Competition is, “the largest scientifically organized and independent wine competition in the United States.” It is one of the more well known wine competitions that bring well known and amateur wine makers together. Winning an award at this event is huge, bringing exposure to the winery and winemaker.
The Tasting Room and Manor:
Unfortunately, there was an event going on inside the Manor home when Laura Beth and I visited. This meant that we were not allowed inside of the old, historic home. The house was built in 1767, and we sadly wasn’t able to learn more about the estate. I guess that’s an excuse to have to visit again 😉
The tasting room was like a modern farmhouse. Effingham’s “mascot” is a pig, and pig decor was seen throughout the grounds (Get it? Effing-HAM. It took me a minute to learn why there were pigs everywhere, but I finally got it!). Inside the farmhouse, there were wine quotes painted on the walls, two tasting counters, couches, bar seats, and a mini farmer’s market that filled the room. A center table displayed the many awards that Effingham has won.
I’ll admit, I was somewhat confused with how tastings worked. The counters were full, but not completely, and no one was really directing where to go, so Laura Beth and I just inserted ourself into a free space. If we cut anyone in a “line”, our apologies! We were greeted by Natasha, a fellow Special Education teacher. While the counter was busy, Natasha did a great job of getting to each party, but not rushing through them. She gave every group her attention when she was with them, and engaged in friendly conversation. Good luck with the rest of your school year, Natasha!
Effingham offers two tasting experiences. There is the “Noble” tasting, which consists of 7 wines and is $10. The “Majestic” tasting gives you 9 wines for only $12. For only two more dollars, the “Majestic” is worth it! As you taste, oyster crackers are provided to cleanse your palate. These are good to munch on as you get to the heavier reds.
- 2014 Chardonnay: Effingham used mostly stainless steel tanks to ferment their Chardonnay, but to give it a bit more body, used barrels for a minimal aging process. This wine reminded me of my favorite childhood snack: Granny Smith apples and honey, sandwiched between two graham crackers. I liked how light, yet toasty the Chardonnay tasted.
- 2015 Viognier: A great fall white wine, as there was body and crispness to it. This Viognier, similar to others in the area, had lots of honeysuckle and floral notes to it. This would go well with a broccoli and cheddar soup or a baked butternut squash dish.
- 2015 Traminette: One of Effingham’s gold medal winners, this Traminette is a sweeter white that is made from a hybrid of Gewürtztraminer. Dr. GP would have loved this wine as he tends to go for dry yet sweet whites. The wine tasted of honey and carnations. It would make an excellent oyster pairing!
- 2016 Rosé: The previous year’s Rosé is the one that is called “#1 Rosé in the Country”. No…that’s not a typo. I didn’t mean “county”; I really meant country! This year’s version, Natasha said, is just about as good as the year before. While it’s not my #1 Rosé, this one is close. It is very unique. It’s slightly sweet, and tastes like a strawberry laffy-taffy mixed with a little clementines and herbs. I ended up getting a glass AND buying a bottle!
- 2015 Norton: A lighter Norton, this one has lost of plum and fall spices. Because of the lighter body and fall flavors in the taste, it can go with most tailgating food. Think Nachos, Buffalo Wings, Ranch Dips, and Mozzarella Sticks. It can also enjoyed without food while you are cheering on your favorite team (Go Pats!).
- 2015 Merlot: Another award winner, I was a huge fan of this Merlot! It was smooth with a slight bite at the end of the taste. On the nose, black cherry was apparent. When tasting, leather, cola, and spice came out, balancing the fruit. A pork tenderloin would make a great pairing with this!
- 2014 Meritage: With the Merlot used in this blend, a similar taste profile came from this wine. Along with the cherry, there were blackberry and plum notes. Some baking spices opened up at the end of the sip. I can see a balsamic portobello cap going very nicely with this!
- 2014 King’s Ransom: King’s Ransom is made up of the finest of Pearmund Cellar’s vintages. It is a mix of Cab Franc Reserve, Ameritage Reserve, Black Ops (which I wrote about here), and Ameritage. I’m a girl who loves spice and bite in her red wines, and this one checked all of the boxes. If you like spicier wines, you can drink it on it’s own, but if you need something to mellow it out, a lamb chop would go well.
- 2014 Tannat: I believe my exact words were, “Holy $h*+!” Very professional of me, but this tannat deserves such a description.. This wine was out-of-this-world good! The tannin structure was so velvety, the blackberry and black currant flavors filled the palate, and the slight kick at the end…woah momma! I bought a bottle of this guy, too! Not surprising, the Tannat won an award as well!
After our tasting, Laura Beth and I enjoyed a glass of Rosé as we strolled around the grounds. I’m not sure if we were supposed to, but we walked through the vineyards as we enjoyed our wine. The Manor and estate are beautiful, even though we didn’t get to venture in.
There is a reason why Effingham won their numerous awards, and that is because they truly make delicious wine. I don’t think that there was one that I didn’t enjoy! The staff are friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxing. There is seating throughout the tasting room and grounds if you’d prefer to sit and enjoy your wine. Personal food cannot be eaten in the tasting room but may be enjoyed outside. Charcuterie plates can also be purchased. It is important to know that children and dogs are not allowed on the premise during tastings. Effingham would like to keep this vineyard an “Adult Only” winery. To learn more about Effingham Manor Winery, visit their website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Let me know if you go and what you thought!