Review: Palladio

19 February 2016

I woke up in pain as my foot was killing me. Damn, this was from jumping over the fence yesterday after the electrocution…ugh! Damn it, this trip cannot end soon enough! Today is the last full day, so…at least there’s that. I headed out of Durham still thinking last night’s meal wasn’t as great as I had hoped… Rx was by far still the best of this trek, one of the best of 2016.

I headed north-east and eventually got over the border back to Virginia and I took a short stop in Petersburg. I was supposed to be somewhere late morning, but the person I was supposed to meet didn’t show up…this trip…ugh… I kept going and headed to Orange, and headed up to visit James Madison’s grave at his Montpelier estate. Last time I was here my camera was awful so wanted to take better photos.

Then I headed to nearby Barboursville Vineyards to do some wine tasting…just to relax. And I headed out with a case of good stuff. This is a beautiful winery with some excellent Italian-centric wines, all at the estate of former governor James Barbour. I was coming back for dinner at its reputable restaurant Palladio, so I headed out for the long trek to my hotel to relax.

I chilled out for a bit and got dressed (place has a dress code) and headed to Palladio on the estates. Damn, people drive like idiots on dark, winding country roads with high beams on… Got there at the 6.30pm opening time and was seated after a wee wait. Seems lots of people here are staying at the Inn on the Vineyards property. Oddly, it’s the larger group of older people being loud and annoying and younger folks were respectful. This is the sad part of the 21st century, booming boomers…utterly annoying…

As this was gonna be a wine-centric dinner I didn’t ask for anything, and they had poured some bubbly already, so… I made my choices and did a pairing and the night began. I chilled with some of the first wine, a fine rose that I had earlier bought a few bottles of. Crispy, nice. Then the first dish arrived, the beef tongue on a toasted baguette.


I like the presentation but sadly the dish was not that good. The tongue was utterly under-seasoned, and the texture of the baguette just ruined the tongue. It’s a prep for those people who don’t like tongue… Not a great start…

Then a different wine was poured, a generous portion to be honest, a nice viognier. I bought a pair of this earlier too, and then the dish arrived — one of their best-known dishes…

2-lobster risotto

This is a lobster saffron risotto. Fabulous, rich and flavourful. It was full and uncompromising, an excellent dish! I’m happy now! As I finished the wine the new one was poured — this time the cabernet frank. I am usually not a gamebird fan, but I went with it, the pheasant.


Now this didn’t work at all. It was way, way overcooked, so it was dry and lacked flavour. The skin looked so good but it had no flavour whatsoever. Everything rested on the mustard cream, but it fought the skin. Didn’t work at all. Sigh… 1 of 3 good dishes, not an equation for a good night of food…

They poured some of the excellent “paxxito” sweet wine, of which I also took a bottle earlier, and then presented the cheese course…


I went with some of the more interesting ones, but they proved somewhat boring. Again, I’m sorry I forgot to take down the details as I didn’t get a chance to photo the cheese list. But I remember the middle one being rich and truffle-laden. Not bad, but not enough crackers/crispbread…

After a nice petit selection and espresso I headed out, rather disappointed. The wine was excellent, as expected, as this is one of the best wineries in Virginia. But only the risotto worked tonight. Everything else didn’t. This wasn’t worth it really. Perhaps next time I come by will only be to pick up some wine, and save the overnight and dinner…

Not fun driving back to the hotel, with a car tailgating me with high beams on running over 65mph on a dark, winding, narrow country road. Utterly annoying… Thank goodness tomorrow is home and this trip is done…

Barboursville Vineyards
17655 Winery Road
Barboursville, Virginia


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