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The Black Dog Blog

Chateau Morrisette is among the oldest and largest wineries in Virginia. We also operate an award-winning restaurant with a 95% recommendation rate on OpenTable. With fresh vintages, flavors, and events at the winery, restaurant, vineyard, and festival field throughout the year, we will keep you abreast of all the great happenings and the people who make up Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant in this blog and through our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest sites.


Keith Toler
July 7, 2016 | Keith Toler

The Black Dog Jazz Festival is featured on WSLS Good Day Blue Ridge

Natalie Soucie, host of Day Time Blue Ridge on WSLS 10 in Roanoke, Virginia visited Chateau Morrisette and spoke with our Events Director, Sally Truslow to learn all about The Black Dog Jazz Festival on July 9, 2016.  Sally told her about the musical artists performing for the day, including saxophonist Grace Kelly, swing music by Wally West's Little Big Band, and the Mike Floyd Jazz Trio.  Click here to view the 4 minute segment that ran on Wednesday, July 6th.  VIEW VIDEO

Time Posted: Jul 7, 2016 at 12:29 PM
Brian Smyth
July 7, 2016 | Brian Smyth

Wine Advocate Offers Favorable Review of 2015 Petit Manseng

Mark Squires reviews Chateau Morrisette's 2015 Petit Manseng for Wine Advocate.

The 2015 Petit Manseng actually has 10% Chardonel and 3% Viognier added. It comes in with 32 grams per liter of residual sugar and 13% alcohol. This was not here in time for our large focus article on Petit Manseng (April 2016), but as always, coverage is ongoing. The debut release for this brand, this is a nice first effort in a drier style. Only modestly concentrated, mingling a touch of grapefruit with peach, this is a tight and focused wine on first pour, but it does open and become more expressive with air. It also tails off a bit on the finish at that point. It always tastes great, though. This is a great style to use as a food wine with some cheeses, but it is tasty enough, light enough and fresh enough so that it will work better on its own in summer heat.

Rating: 87 points

Price: $29

Drink Date: 2015 - 2022

Reviewed by: Mark Squires

Date tasted: 13th Apr 2016

Source: 225, The Wine Advocate

Time Posted: Jul 7, 2016 at 12:21 PM
Shannon Atkins
June 30, 2016 | Shannon Atkins

The Black Dog Jazz Festival Returns July 9


Grace Kelly

Come out and enjoy high energy performances by nationally known vocalist and saxophonist Grace Kelly along with swing, big band, and dance jazz from the Wally West Little Big Band, and one of Floyd's favorites, The Mike Mitchell Jazz Band (video).

Headliner Grace Kelly just received her 7th nomination to DownBeat magazine's critic's poll for alto sax rising stars, this year taking the top spot. Here's what jazz lovers have to say about Ms Kelly:

“Kelly champions accessibility without sacrificing style.” – Village Voice
“charismatic and immensely talented…all the chops in the world” – Downbeat Magazine
“As everybody knows, she is a remarkably mature player” – David Sanborn
“Jazz innovator … Making jazz young” – Billboard

Admission includes all day wine tastings, on site parking and entertainment. Beer, wine, food, and crafts are offered for sale. $20 advance tickets until July 8; $30 at the gate. See more details at the Jazz Festival ticketing page.

Time Posted: Jun 30, 2016 at 9:04 AM
Shannon Atkins
June 21, 2016 | Shannon Atkins

Sunday Sounds Lineup

We're pleased to announce this year's performers for Sunday Sounds, free music for your listening pleasure while you sip on the winery courtyard. Enjoy our eclectic array of Americana artists, with jazz every first Sunday! Performers may change; stay current with our calendar.

6/26 Tim Pfeiffer: folk / blues

7/3 Front Porch Swing: jazz

7/10 Nostalgic but Cool: rock, country, 60s

7/17 RagTop: folk rock / blues

7/24 The Sigmon Stringers: bluegrass

7/31 American Roots: Americana

8/7 Lew Woodall: jazz

8/14 Zuzu Welsh Band: rock, blues, country

8/21 Shades of Blue: Americana

8/28 Larry Wishon: southern rock

9/4 Bob Peckman Jazz Trio: jazz

9/11 Cory Campbell: Americana

9/18 Jim Lord: Americana

9/25 Melissa McSherry: Americana

10/2 Virginia Blue Band: jazz

10/9 Pat Anderson: Americana

10/16 Mac Traynham duo: Blue Ridge old time

10/23 Rusty Seesaws: folk-punk, bluegrass

10/30 Indian Run Stringband: Americana

Time Posted: Jun 21, 2016 at 1:47 PM
Brian Smyth
June 2, 2016 | Brian Smyth

2015 Virginia Viognier Released

Chateau Morrisette
2015 Viognier

Bottled: February 2015
Winemaker’s notes: May 2016

Our 2015 Viognier offers melon and apricot on the nose which is complimented by a rich palate reminiscent of honeysuckle and peaches. The Viognier fruit used to make this wine was grown in Tyro, VA. The fruit was whole cluster pressed to minimize skin contact in order to reduce the astringent character Viognier can suffer from. After cold settling, the wine was inoculated in tank and subsequently transferred to barrel for fermentation. After fermentation, the wine was racked and continued to age in barrel until December 2015.

Pair with grilled seafood topped with peach salsa and you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy now or lay down for 3-5 years.
Serving recommendations: 50-55°F

Laboratory specifications:



Titratable acidity:
6.2 g/L

Residual sugars:


Time Posted: Jun 2, 2016 at 9:15 AM
Keith Toler
June 2, 2016 | Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette Announces 2016 Summer Music Events



Chateau Morrisette Winery Announces Summer 2016 Music Events

Floyd, V.A., June 2, 2016 – Located along Virginia’s scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, Chateau Morrisette Winery announces its signature summer music festivals, the Black Dog Jazz Festival and Black Dog Beach Music Festival, and free Sunday Sounds in the courtyard, which includes a variety of music through October.

Summer Events

Black Dog Jazz Festival, July 9, noon – 5 p.m.

Featuring vibrant saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly, the Black Dog Jazz Festival includes swing music from Wally West Little Band, and jazz from Mike Mitchell Jazz Band. The event takes place at Nancy Morrisette Festival Field, and tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the gate. Admission includes all day wine tastings, on-site parking and entertainment.

Black Dog Beach Music Festival, August 13, noon – 5 p.m.

Chateau Morrisette’s annual Black Dog Beach Music Festival headliners are music legends The Embers featuring Craig Woolard and the Fantastic Shakers, who are celebrating their 35th anniversary. The event takes place at Nancy Morrisette Festival Field, and tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the gate.

Nancy Morrisette Festival Field is located at 3641 Black Ridge Road in Floyd, V.A., which is less than a mile from the winery and restaurant. Both events will be held rain or shine. Dogs on a leash are welcome. No coolers or outside food or drinks are permitted. Canopies, umbrellas and chairs are recommended. Outside alcohol is prohibited on premises per Alcohol Beverage Control.

The Crooked Road presents Mountains of Music Homecoming at Chateau Morrisette, June 12, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

An afternoon of American Roots music with the Whitetop Mountain Band, the concert takes place on the winery courtyard and is free to the public. Bring your own seating. The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is an annual nine-day, region-wide celebration of the communities and the music heritage of southwestern V.A. 

Sunday Sounds Music Series, June 5 – October 16, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Free Sunday music in the courtyard returns this summer and fall. Relax and enjoy award-winning wines while listening to a wide variety of music every week, including Wyatt Law (June 19), Tim Pfeiffer (June 26), Front Porch Swing (July 3) and more.

Throughout the summer, the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette is the perfect location for Sunday Brunch or celebrating any special occasion over an intimate dinner or lunch. Under Chef Cooper Brunk, the restaurant’s innovative menu reflects Appalachian-French Fusion, traditional French fare with regional influences and fresh, local produce, meats and cheeses.

About Chateau Morrisette

Chateau Morrisette is a picturesque day trip from Roanoke, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Christiansburg or the Piedmont Triad or a great weekend away from Washington, D.C., Richmond, Hampton Roads, Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Knoxville or Charleston, W.V. Wine tastings start at $8 per person. For more information, visit, call (540) 593-2865 or follow us on Facebook.


Time Posted: Jun 2, 2016 at 8:46 AM
Keith Toler
June 1, 2016 | Keith Toler

Daytime Blue Ridge (WSLS TV 10) Covers Mountain Adventure Weekend

Lindee Katdare, host of Daytime Blue Ridge on WSLS TV 10 came out to Chateau Morrisette to get a preview of all the activities.  She had an opportunity to shoot skeet in our vineyard and get information about all the activities, including horseback riding, the Vine Wined 10K, skeet shooting, Kayaking on the Little River with On the Water Floyd, the wild game restaurant specials, and the live music on Saturday and Sunday.

It's a 4 minute segment.  Click here to view it on DAYTIME BLUE RIDGE

Details for the event can be found on the calendar at THEDOGS.COM

Time Posted: Jun 1, 2016 at 11:47 AM
Keith Toler
May 31, 2016 | Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette Featured in Travel the Parkway

Chateau Morrisette recently hosted Bruce and Valerie Cadle here at the winery as part of their journey the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The couple wrote a wonderful article about their experience and took some lovely photos uring their visit.

Here's the first thing they had to say!

"Have you ever had one of those afternoons where everything is so wonderful that it is almost surreal?

That’s what we enjoyed yesterday at Chateau Morrisette Restaurant!  Ah, Spring had sprung—even the parking lot was a’bloom!  Flowering bushes and trees greeted you everywhere!  And the view—that never gets old."

Click here to read the article and view the photos of a visit to Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant.

Time Posted: May 31, 2016 at 12:06 PM
Brian Smyth
May 31, 2016 | Brian Smyth

A Visit to Our Growers

The Vineyard Manager Steve VanSutphin and I just visited with some of our nearby growers to check on how the vines are progressing this year. We are lucky to work with such experienced and quality growers. Here are a few of them!

John Ayers is located in Patrick County and has been growing for us for many years. This year we will be getting some Vidal Blanc from his vineyard. If you like our varietal 2015 Vidal Blanc, much of the fruit was from Ayers’ Orchard and Vineyard.

Nelson Stanley and his wife Elsie of Stanburn Winery are wonderful growers and some of the kindest people you’ll ever have the opportunity to meet. They are located in Stuart, VA and are growing Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc, and Traminette for us this year.

Mary Simmons is an extremely talented and passionate grower out of Ararat, VA. We will be getting a portion of our Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnel, and Petit Manseng from her at Spring Branch Vineyard.

Time Posted: May 31, 2016 at 9:31 AM
Shannon Atkins
May 27, 2016 | Shannon Atkins

Chef Cooper Brunk Brings Appalachian-French Fusion to Chateau Morrisette

Chef Cooper Brunk and Head Gardener Matt Sanders

Savoring the Experience of Slow Food

The Blue Ridge unfolds vibrantly in the spring, and Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant renews with the same vibrancy. With fresh vintages from the cellar and fresh dishes from the kitchen, the winery and restaurant that have grown and flourished in Floyd County’s southern corner for over thirty years greet 2016 in full bloom. The winery’s Vin Gris rosé was the first vintage off the bottling line in 2016, and bottling is now in full swing, with twenty-two wines currently on offer at their mountaintop tasting room.

Having started as a local single estate winery, it’s only natural that Chateau Morrisette has embraced the budding farm to table movement in its restaurant offerings.

Farm-to-Table Begins in the Ground

Matt Sanders, Head Gardener for Chateau Morrisette, in close collaboration with Executive Chef Cooper Brunk, says that plans for this year’s kitchen and estate gardens represent an evolutionary step from previous years.

“The estate garden is a half acre under active cultivation within the full acre plot,” says Sanders. “There are no synthetic applications to the garden aside from fertilizer. We use both organic mulches and plastic sheeting to prevent erosion and suppress weeds, which we complement with timed cultivation techniques to limit soil loss.” The gardener, marking his second year in the lead role with estate crop production, says that a year round approach brings benefits to the main growing season. “Cover crops rotated into fallow space – including buckwheat, millet, and winter rye – condition the soil and support fertility, and daikon radishes help pull nutrients back up that have leached downward in the soil, to be used by following years’ crops.”

The estate garden is effectively protected by a ten foot tall deer fence that would be the envy of most local gardeners, but neither the estate garden nor the kitchen garden are immune to a pest well known to Appalachian growers: “Flea beetles typically don’t kill our greens, but they can affect the leaf presentation, which is important on the plate,” says Sanders. “We can usually limit their effects to tolerable limits with extensive use of row covers. Even though the botanical controls we use like neem or pyrethrins break down quickly without residue, we still like to use them only when necessary.” Sander’s holistic approach in planning the garden embraces not only what goes into the soil, but the destination of the produce that comes out: Chateau Morrisette Restaurant’s tables.

Head Gardener Matt Sanders with fallow estate garden

Let the Dish Lead the Planting

Sanders is supporting Chef Cooper’s intent to “let the dish lead the planting” by planting a greater variety of crops, with more successional plantings. This will keep ingredients and menus fresh throughout the season and provide manageable amounts for the kitchen to staff to work with, though Sanders notes that previous years’ surpluses haven’t been wasted: “We sold corn and tomatoes locally and still managed to have some left over for local food banks.”

While there will be some bulk staples grown that the restaurant will make frequent use of – onions, potatoes, winter squash, and leeks – the broader variety is evident in the gardener’s notebook: early spring carrots, radishes, turnips, broccoli, cabbage, leading into later plantings including beets, kale, purple mizuna, and micro greens.

Chef Cooper is excited to introduce to the estate garden a crop that has only recently begun to be cultivated anywhere: kalette, a traditionally bred (non-GMO) cross of kale and Brussels sprouts. The plant grows tall and produces florets like Brussels sprouts, but instead of having tiny heads, the florets yield loose tufts of leaves. Brunk notes the flavor is less piquant than Brussels sprouts but still richer than kale. Such a cross of flavors reflects the hybrid approach that the chef is bringing to the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette.

greens in the kitchen garden

Appalachian-French Fusion

Chef Cooper joined Chateau Morrisette in October last year, bringing training in classical French cuisine from his graduation with highest honors from the Culinary School of the Rockies and experience in fine restaurants in France, Colorado and Tennessee. A past "Best Menu" winner for the Flavors of Nashville competition, he is the author of a specialty cookbook as well. Previously, he served as chef instructor, private chef, and executive chef and was restaurant owner of Cooper's on Porter in Nashville.

Brunk says his first menus at Chateau Morrisette “were both training menus for the kitchen staff and transition menus for the restaurant's loyal patrons.” Such a transition was necessary, he says, so that his classical French influences could be sampled and appreciated without leaping too far from the more purely American Southern style the restaurant had been known for. Using estate grown, local, and regional ingredients in his custom French dishes, Chef Cooper creates a style he says might best be described as “Appalachian-French fusion.”

Brunk is eager to point out that while American Southern cuisine traces lineage from the French Provençal style, with both deeply shaped by fresh, seasonal ingredients, his new menu, introduced in April, “really takes the menu up a notch” in creating a full range of French cuisine, from Provençal to haute. Such an array embodies the Chateau Morrisette identity of rustic elegance, with dishes like the crawfish ragout showing off the more rustic influences, while “the beurre blanc sauce, served with tenderloin, and the foie gras fondue, are definitely dishes in the more refined French haute (high) style.”

Inspiring Positive Vibes and Passion for Flavor

High style leaves plenty of room for a human touch in Brunk’s kitchen. He’s pleased to note that in his time here, he’s seen a refreshed kitchen crew building into a cohesive team. “There’s a positive feel in the kitchen, and those good moods translate to the food that comes to the table.” The connections among staff, guests, the foods prepared and shared, and the land that nurtures the ingredients are essential to this Appalachian-French fusion. Chef Cooper sees such connections throughout Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant, and offers as an example seeing kitchen staff like sous chef Rick Caviness committed to honing their craft in the kitchen as well as lending a hand in the estate and kitchen gardens. Brunk observes, “It inspires passion to take care of your ingredients when you pull them out of the ground yourself.”


Time Posted: May 27, 2016 at 12:35 PM
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