Monday, June 23, 2008

Five Virginia Wineries in Late June

Hi everyone -
Kate and I went to five wineries around Leesburg yesterday; Breaux Vineyards, Hillsborough Vineyards, Doukenie Winery, Loudon Valley Vineyards, and after getting a little turned around in the town of Waterford (we were coming up on our fifth winery of the day, after all), Village Winery.

Village Winery was actually a nice treat at the end - it was a small, out of the way place. The tasting room was unfinished wood frame with a cement floor, and the walls were lined with cases of wine. No decorations, nothing fancy. The tasting room had been open for only three years, and the vines have been growing only a few years longer than that - but they had some delicious products. One bottle we bought from Village Winery was a bottle of Elderberry Wine. This was nice, because unlike strawberry or blackberry wines (which are also good, granted), the elderberries tasted very much like grapes. So it only had hints of being a berry wine. If you weren't informed that it wasn't made from grapes, you probably wouldn't notice. We also bought a Merlot from Village, as well as a small block of locally produced cheese.

Now I'll go from the end back to the beginning. Our first stop was Breaux Winery, which was probably my favorite for the day, only beating out Village by a little. Breaux had been in operation for ten years and they had some fantastic wines available. Great Cab Franc, and great blends of Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot - some of our favorite stand-by's. But they also had new winers for us to try. One was a "Nebbiolo" - which is apparently a grape that is very popular in Italy but not grown much in the U.S.. It was delicious, but very pricey (probably the most expensive I've seen sold in the tasting room of a Virginia winery) - so we just enjoyed our taste of it, and left it at that! I was also impressed with the whites from Breaux - there was one with some Petit Manseng blended in, which has a nice soft (not very acidic) tropical fruit taste to it. I first tasted Petit Manseng at Whitehall Vineyards, in Charlottesville, and have been very impressed with it ever since. Anyway, my point is that Breaux did a great job blending the sometimes overpowering Petit Manseng with other varietals, and I think I liked the blend better than the Petit Manseng on its own. The other thing that impressed us about Breaux was the person giving the tasting. She was from Peru, where apparently there isn't a whole lot of wine production, but she was very knowledgable about wine-making in Chile and Argentina (where it is huge), as well as France, Napa, and upstate New York. She told us all kinds of great stories about traveling to these places and gave us great backgroudns on the wines. We're convinced that next year's vacation needs to be a drive to the Finger Lakes in New York, and a trip through NY wine country. Eventually we'll save up for a Napa trip, but we're happy patronizing Virginia wineries for now!

Surprisingly few Norton's on this whole trip (they were used in a lot of the wineries around Middleburg that we went to a couple weeks back). But there was enough Cab Franc and Petit Verdot to keep our appetite for nice strong reds satisfied.

OK - I need to get to some work now. There are three other wineries I'll review, and as we slowly open these bottles I'll review those as well. In the next couple weeks look out for a review of some Charlottesville wineries - we'll probably be making a trip down there. We'll definitely hit First Colony winery, one of our favorites, and Horton - one that we've been dying to try. The woman that gave the tasting at Breaux also suggested King Vineyard and Jefferson Vineyard in the Charlottesville area, so look out for these soon!


Evan said...

I'm so jealous! We have one winery in the area that we frequent, but they don't grow their own grapes, and their reds aren't all that impressive.

I'm awaiting a post on your next brewing venture...

dkuehn said...

Brewing will commence as soon as I get a chance... I know I said maybe this weekend.

I think I'm going to do a cowboy lager for summer next, which is not one of the ones you and Tricia gave me. Its just a basic golden lager. Then next I'm going to do the bombshell blond that you gave me - a nicey honey/wheat with some hops for that recipe I believe for a late summer beer. then I'm going to do the other one you gave me - the English brown ale I believe - for some good september "welcome the fall" drinking.