On the Radar

Virginia's vantage

Tucked into the Albemarle County hills around Charlottesville, Virginia, is Kluge Estate, where Patricia Kluge, ex-wife of Metromedia owner John Kluge and a businesswoman in her own right, has taken up winemaking in earnest. So far she is succeeding admirably. The Kluge Estate New World Red 2000 is a superb blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot (the vineyard grows seven varietals on 35,000 vines). A Bordeaux-style wine, the New World Red is soft and oaky. It also has deeply fruity notes—currant and black cherry—and it finishes with a pleasant bite of coffee. With good reason, Kluge has high hopes, not just for her own wines but for the whole Albemarle region. The estate has already helped introduce three bills—now passed into legislation—to help Virginia vineyards produce and market their wines more easily. It also has taken steps to bolster the region's tourism by opening Farm Shop, a tasting room, café, and food shop designed by architect David Easton, just at the edge of Kluge's 1,200 acres. Dan Shannon (formerly of Aureole in New York) is behind the excellent cooking, which includes savoy cabbage roulade with pheasant mousse ($9), caramelized fennel ($14), and Hudson Valley foie gras ($10). Pâtissier Serge Torres (cousin of chocolatier Jacques Torres) is responsible for the shop's farm-grown chutneys and jams, not to mention sweets like a raspberry charlotte ($4.50) and a dark-chocolate-and-almond sponge cake ($5). This fall, Kluge and her team will open Fuel, a restaurant in a converted gas station in downtown Charlottesville. Farm Shop, 100 Grand Cru Dr.; 434-984-4855. Fuel, 901 E. Market St.; 434-220-3700; www.klugeestate.com.