Chrysalis vineyards

Chrysalis Vineyards Tasting Room
39025 John Mosby Highway
Middleburg, VA 20117

I met my friend in Middleburg, Virginia for a wine tasting at Chrysalis Vineyards. I had never been to Chrysalis Vineyards before this visit.  

I’d heard a lot about it, though.  And Chrysalis is a bit polarizing.  You either love it or you hate it. 

chrysalis vineyards

Where Are The Grape Grown?

All the grapes are estate grown at one of two Chrysalis vineyards:  Locksley and Hollin.

Chrysalis Vineyards has done an excellent job listening to their terroir and planting grapes that grow and thrive here in Virginia.  Kudos for not trying to force a Pinot Noir!

Chrysalis Vinyards Wine Tasting

Chrysalis Vineyards is no longer offering a wine tasting. Instead they offer a wine flight.

I suppose the difference is the expectation of a tasting. Generally, they are guided. At Chrysalis the flight is self-guided. You’ll receive four wines each with a 1.5 ounces pour.

A word about Norton:  Chrysalis considers itself an (the?) ambassador for the Norton grape.

First introduced sometime around 1830 by Dr. Daniel Norton of Richmond, Virginia, Norton is often considered Virginia’s native grape.  

And, Norton is a very polarizing grape.  You’re either on Team Norton or you’re not.  Chrysalis Vineyards has the largest single planting of Norton in the world at 40 acres.  Chrysalis is so committed to Norton, they have a registered trademark — Norton: the Real American Grape!®

Chrysalis Albariño /87 points

Albariño is a variety that’s popping up in Virginia more and more.  

As far as I know, only Chrysalis and a handful of others (Ingleside, Willowcroft, and Paradise Springs) are doing one.  

Dry and crisp, with flavors of apricots and green apple.  Loads of pear on the finish. Refreshing, yet complex.  My favorite of all the wines we tasted.  

Chrysalis also makes an Albariño Verde. 

Chrysalis Chardonnay /85 points

Aged entirely in stainless steel.  Lean and light, reminds me of a Chablis.  

Green apples and mineral notes.  Heavy on purity, light on complexity.  

Chrysalis Private Reserve White  /84 points

57% Viognier, 23% Petit Manseng, and 20% Albariño.  Aged in stainless steel and oak (part aged, part neutral).  

High acid, flavors of peach and apple.  Long finish, but slightly bitter on the back end. 

Chrysalis Traminette /86 points

Traminette is a cross between Gewürztraminer and the hybrid grape, Joannes Seyve 23.416.  

It’s a cold-resistant grape, and I’m seeing it pop up at Virginia wineries more and more. 

The Gewürztraminer nose is always present in a Traminette — lychee and roses. Decently balanced at .2% residual sugar.  Would be great with Asian or Indian food

Chrysalis Viognier /86 points

Fermented sur lee and aged in French oak.

Lean and less tropical than some other Virginia Viognier I’ve tasted, definitely not as plush.  

Lemon and almond flavors.  Spice on the back end. Good balance and acidity.  

Chrysalis Mariposa /84 points

Modeled after a Spanish Rosato wine.  I’m starting to pick-up on a Spanish theme here at Chrysalis, too.  

An estate grown grape blend of Tinta Cão, Tannat, Fer Servadou, Viognier and Norton (for color).  

The wine is very dark for a Rosé.  The nose is light and reserved, but it’s a little odd — almost tannic.  

Chrysalis Sarah’s Patio White /84 points

This is a blend of Vidal Blanc and Traminette, and Chrysalis’ best selling wine.  4% residual sugar.  

Why is it always the sweet wines that sell the best?  

We were told Sarah’s Patio White used to be sold in a brown bottle, and when they switched to a blue bottle — sales tripled!!

This is Chrysalis Vineyards’ best seller. Think sweet Gewürztraminer. 

Chrysalis Sarah’s Patio Red /84 points

100% Norton.  Whole-cluster pressed and tank fermented.  A semi-sweet wine, with 4% residual sugar.  It’s crushed and then the skins are removed for fermentation.

We were told it’s the “white wine that’s red”.  Lots of cherry flavors slight effervescence. It would be great in Sangria

So who is this Sarah, anyway?
Sarah Girtrude Lynn, the “patron saint” of both Patio Wines, is buried just outside the tasting room.  

Sarah’s parents were once owners of the property where Chrysalis stands today.

Sarah died of tuberculosis at the age of 16. I love the nod to genealogy.  Hats off to Chrysalis Vineyards for taking such good care of history.

chrysalis winery

Chrysalis Estate Bottled Norton /84 points

I really struggle with Norton.  Usually, Norton tastes like grape jelly in an ashtray to me.  But I will say this Norton is definitely less aggressive and grapey than my usual Norton experience.  

100% Norton. Flavors are cherry, chocolate, vanilla & plum.  

It’s BEGGING for food. Lamb or game would be ideal.  

Chrysalis Rubiana /84 points

A blend of Tinta Cão, Tannat, Fer Servadou, Petit Verdot and Norton.  

Kind of similar to a Tempranillo — there’s that Spanish influence again.  

Heavy on the black pepper. 

Chrysalis Petit Verdot /86 points

Our tasting room host called this Chrysalis’s Cowboy Wine.  The nose is über-funky, but the taste is much softer and lighter.  

Flavors of mineral, cedar, tobacco, and earth.  Would love to see how this one ages.  

My favorite of the reds we tasted.  

Chrysalis Papillon /84 points

A blend of Fer Servou, Tannat, and (wanna take a guess?) Norton.  I made a tongue-in-cheek comment about Norton being in everything at Chrysalis, and our tasting room host responded with, “We like to sneak it in wherever we can.”  Well played.  

This one is hugely tannic, some distinctly rough edges, flavors of earth and black pepper.  13.5% ABV.  

Chrysalis Locksley Reserve Norton /85 points

All grapes are from Chrysalis’ Locksley Estate.  A blend of 70% Norton, 15% Petit Verdot, 5% Tannat, and 5% Nebbiolo.

Definitely the most complex Norton I’ve ever had.  Slightly aggressive, but nothing a big plate of meat couldn’t solve.  Nice pipe tobacco finish.  13.1% ABV. 

Chrysalis sells a port-style wine called Borboleta, but it’s not available for tasting.  

It’s 80% Norton (what else?) blended with Catoctin Creek whiskey from a local distillery and aged in 20-year old Cognac barrels. 

I bought a bottle of this on my way out . . . curiosity is killing me.

After our tasting, we bought a bottle of the Albariño and (since we were sans kids), went outside on the patio to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Chrysalis Vineyard no longer allows food on the property inside or outside.

So where do I fall on the Chrysalis Polarization Scale?  

Honestly, I’m Chrysalis Vineyards neutral.

Chrysalis has a full complement of very decent wines and a beautiful setting.  But so do a whole host of other Virginia Wineries.  

So what sets Chrysalis apart?  I’d visit for their Albariño, and to experience the novelty of Norton.  

Chrysalis Vineyards FAQ

What are the wine tastings like?

Chrysalis Vineyards is no longer offering a wine tasting. Instead they offer a wine flight. At Chrysalis the flight is self-guided. You’ll receive four wines each with a 1.5 ounces pour.

Does Chrysalis allow children?

Children and young adults are welcome in our outdoor space and the main floor of our building. The upper floor and deck are reserved for adults 21 years of age or older. 

Does Chrysalis allow pets?

Yes, but only outside the building. The Ag District Center is home to our commercial kitchen and the Locksley Farmstead Cheese creamery, so per Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulations only service animals are allowed.

Does Chrysalis allow outside food?

Outside food or beverages are not allowed to be brought to the property. There are a a variety of artisan cheeses produced on the farm as well as fresh breads, crackers, dips and spreads. The Little River Bakehouse is open to serve pizza, paninis, salads and other delicious foods.


Sometimes a winery will invite me to come out and do a tasting, which is a very different experience than visiting a winery as an anonymous taster.  If I’m invited, I’m often afforded a few minutes with the winemaker, and given an opportunity to taste wines that aren’t usually available as part of a public tasting.  And often, the tasting is complimentary. And as much as I enjoy that experience, I won’t solicit that experience.  

If a winery invites me, I will gladly come.  But I also enjoy visiting wineries anonymously.  I don’t call ahead, and I don’t mention I write a wine blog. I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that just because I write a wine blog, wineries should give me free stuff.  

The fact that I write a blog should be irrelevant to customer service.

I visited Chrysalis Vineyards anonymously.

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