Taking a Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain Wine Road Trip with Chef Tarver King

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Taking a Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain Wine Road Trip with Chef Tarver King
By  •
Go Blue Ridge Travel
Courtesy of RvD Winery – Delaplane, Virginia
Wine Adventure Series #2

Many people when they decide to take a Virginia wine tour, pick a geographic area they will explore. It is questionable how many people actually pick the vineyards based on the tasting experience they will have.

Go Blue Ridge Travel recognizing the excellent culinary talent in the Shenandoah Valley  has begun a “Straight from the Chef Wine Series” with the goal of providing culinary expertise from chefs on their favorite wines and vineyards in the area.

 Our first article was from Tammie and Paul Limoges of Sante Wine,Beer, and Gifts.  With the opening of the new store in Winchester, there was no time for a great anniversary trip. Instead they made their anniversary a celebration of good wines here in Virginia. 

GoBRT is happy to welcome Tarver King, Former Executive Chef of The Ashby Inn and Restaurant.

Tarver – “When my wife and I can take a break and visit a vineyard, the big question is how much time do we have.  Probably our favorite vineyard is Linden Vineyards in Linden, Virginia.  The Ashby Inn actually specializes in their wines with our Linden wine dinners selling out like crazy. 

One of my favorite Linden wines is a Late Harvest Petit Manseng 2008:
    Aromas: Pungent fragrances of candied orange, mint, fennel, and nutmeg.
    Palate: A quiet restrained entry with an explosion at the end, mid palate of dried apricots, juniper berry, Mexican chili poser and a bracing acidity

 It is wonderful this time of year with peaches.  If you take peaches and rub the skins with butter and sugar until they blister. Then skin the peach and make a vanilla porridge, add ice cream and toasted oats, then sit back and enjoy this dessert with the Manseng.  You have almost reached heaven 

What is also wonderful about living in the valley are the local fruit farms.  I am totally over the top with the Golden Donut peaches from MacKintosh Fruit Farm here in Berryville, Virginia. Last year I bought two cases and not one peach reached our menu. It is my opinion they are the best fruit on the planet. 

I am also fond of their robust red wine – 2009 Hardscrabble
    Aromas: Blueberry jam, patisserie, vanilla lift and smoky underbrush
    Palate: Dried cherries, savory, very linear, energetic and fresh with assertive, long tannins.
    Food Pairings: Lamb and other red meat preferably served rare.

Even though it is great with lamb and other red meat, my wife and I enjoy a good Vegetable Pizza on the grill in our small garden patio.  The wine makes all the difference in a simple dinner to a great dinner fare.

Here at the Ashby Inn, I can cook on a fire pit.  With this menu, the Ashby serves a lot of the Linden Chardonnays with people sitting out until late in the evening enjoying the wine.

Many of our guests who want a close vineyard experience, I send to Delaplane Cellars. It is just four miles from the inn. The vineyard has a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and very good wine maker.  I particularly like the Syrah and the Cabernet Franc. 

Another close vineyard, is RdV Winery is also in the Delaplane, Virginia.  It is definitely in my opinion the most beautiful facility with cool architecture including an underground tasting room.  One of my favorite there is the Rendezvous.  Kevin does a wonderful job letting the visitor taste his wines to other top wines from California and France.  You will definitely bring wine home with you!”

Go Blue Ridge Travel – thanks Chef King for his comments.  Here is his bio –

Peering into Chef Tarver King’s background, one would not be surprised to find the title Chef attached to his name. In fact, one might believe it to be a foregone conclusion. Looking back two generations, Tarver’s grandmother was the food editor for Vogue Magazine in the 1960’s. She published multiple cookbooks and contributed to Gourmet Magazine’s cookbook. With a calling to the culinary craft, Chef King began his career at an early age apprenticing for the three-stared chef of La villa Lorraine, Alain Jackmin at his restaurant in Virginia Beach, Le Chambord. Gaining an education in the fundamentals of cuisine under Jackmin, Tarver worked with an outstanding list of acclaimed and accomplished chefs in this country and Europe. His career has included time in the kitchens of Le Bec Fin, The Inn at Little Washington, The French Laundry, The Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn.

Renown of his own came first as the head chef of The Dining Room at The Woodlands Inn & Resort in Sommerville, South Carolina where he and his team achieved the highest recognition from both Mobile and AAA, receiving respectively five stars and five diamonds. He was also named “Grand Chef” by the Relais & Château organization, of which The Woodlands was a recognized member. Esquire Magazine named King as one of its top five chefs to watch. Chef King has been featured and published in numerous periodicals including Wine Spectator, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine Magazine.

As the former Chef of The Ashby Inn & Restaurant and now at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Tarver returns to the roots of cooking. He draws from what the region has to offer, crafting a daily changing menu based on what the local farmers, fisherman, and foragers provide. The elemental base of fresh ingredients serves as inspiration for his contemporary cuisine.