AmRhein Wine Cellars: Quality Wine From Southwest Virginia

In September 2007, I posted about some of the tasty wines I tried at last year’s Virginia Wine Festival.  Among the best were the wines from AmRhein Wine Cellars.  While I loved AmRhein’s wines overall, I did express some reservations regarding a couple of their whites.  Taste is subjective, of course, but the folks down at AmRhein felt that I had to give the winery’s new vintages a try, so they invited me down to Roanoke for a tasting.  They were convinced that I would be happy I made the trip; they were right.

AmRhein is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia.  The drive to the vineyard took us up to 2,500 feet.  Upon our arrival, Winemaker Steve Bolleter greeted us and took us through 18 of AmRhein’s wines.  Steve’s winemaking experience is evident in his knowledge about the process and in the overall quality of his product.  This is not a winery with just one or two solid wines; AmRhein ‘s offerings display consistent quality across the spectrum.  This quality that is reflected in AmRhein’s numerous Commonwealth, regional, and international awards.

Plenty of Beautiful Country To Be See While Climbing To AmRhein

AmRhein’s portfolio contains wines to suit every taste.  While all were very enjoyable, particularly the whites, there were 6 that stood out.  The first was AmRhein’s 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, , $14.95 per bottle.  The Sauvignon Blanc has not been released yet, but Steve and Debbie were kind enough to give us a little taste.  This wine displays lovely aromas of lychee and citrus.  It has good acidity and a bit of crispness in the finish.  Be on the lookout for this new vintage when it becomes available.

The second stand out was the Innocence from AmRhein’s new Allure collection.  Innocence, 1/4, $10.00, is a semi-sweet blend of Vidal Blanc, Viognier, and Petite Manseng.  It has citrus notes and hints of apple complimented by good acidity which makes it a wonderfully refreshing sipping wine.  It is exactly the kind of wine that you think it is, and it does a great job in its role.

Oooooh, Pretty . . .

AmRhein’s third standout is from its collection of reds, its 2005 Petite Verdot, 1/4, $19.95 per bottle.  This bold wine has a nose of red fruit and plums.  The palate displays well-structured tannins and tart red fruits, including cranberry and raspberry.  The Petite Verdot is aged in 80/20 French/American Oak Barrels, which give it a bit of a toasty finish.

The 2005 Veranda, 1/2, $34.95 per bottle, is next.  The Veranda smells like strawberry jam and starts with a fruit-forward palate.  Let it decant for a bit, however, and you will be treated with chocolate and coffee notes that add a bit of complexity.

The last two of the six most impressive AmRhein wines are their dessert offerings.  AmRhein’s 2006 Vidal Ice Wine — and yes, I mean actual frozen-on-the-vine ice wine — is the only one of its kind that I am aware of in Virginia.  The wine, 1/4, is lovely, well-balanced, with good acidity, and is sweet without being too cloying.  The 2003 Late Harvest Vidal, 1/2, is another tasty treat.  While it may not be as unique as the Ice Wine, it will definitely put a big smile on your face.  It reminds me a lot of one of my favorite dessert wines from Standing Stone minus a bit of the syrupy texture.  I don’t have prices for these releases at the moment, but updates should be available soon on AmRhein Cellar’s retooled website.

Getting Away With a Great Haul

So how can you get these fine wines?  Well, Giant Foods distributes three of AmRhein’s quality whites: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Traminette.  Any of AmRhein’s wines can be ordered directly from its Tasting Room by calling (540) 929-4632, or e-mailing to  You can get more general information at  Oh, and if you are a wine shop interested in carrying AmRhein Wines, contact Republic National Distributing Company.


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Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 8:51 pm  Comments (5)