Jan 31, 2015

Virginia Wineries in the D.C suburbs

Paradise Springs Winery was the first winery in Fairfax County and claims to be the closest winery to Washington DC, being 25 miles from the DC line.  The Winery at Bull Run also claims to be the closest winery to DC because they are less than a 1/2 hour from the Washington DC line.  So, who's correct?  Actually, both are.

I used Google maps to see the the time and distance for a trip from the Kennedy Center to each winery. The results, Paradise Springs Winery is indeed closer by a mile, but takes about 10 minutes later to arrive there from the Kennedy Center.  Those gentle, hilly roads around Clifton take a little more time, but have a nicer view.  The Winery at Bull Run is a bit farther out, but a traveler from DC would arrive earlier because more of route is on I-66 and RT 29.

Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, Va is open daily from 11:00 am-7:00 pm (until 9:00 pm on Friday). Their tasting fee is $10.00 per person.  The tasting room is new, large, and has a nice outdoor seating area along with nice grounds, and is located on a historic venue. A vineyard planted to Cabernet Franc is on the property.
Paradise Springs Winery
13219 Yates Ford Road
Clifton, Virginia 20124
Phone: 703-830-9463

The Winery at Bull Run is open 11:00 am-7:00 pm daily with extended hours on Thursday until 8:00 pm and Friday until 9:00 pm Closed Holidays. Tasting fee is $12.00 and includes a souvenir glass. Their tasting room is new, large, and has a nice outdoor seating area along with nice grounds, and is located on a historic venue too. A vineyard planted to Norton is on the property.

The Winery at Bull Run
15950 Lee Highway
Centreville, 20120
Phone: (703) 815-2233

The similarities between these two Fairfax County wineries go beyond their physical locations, properties, and facilities.  These wineries share some common origins as well.

When Paradise Springs was starting up, Chris Pearmund of Pearmund Cellars assisted Paradise Springs Winery as both a consultant and as executive winemaker.  Paradise Springs' first vintage was actually made at what was the then Chris Pearmund-owned Winery at La Grange. Today's winemaker is Ron Cox, formerly at Phillip Carter Winery.  Paradise Springs sources most grapes from other Virginia vineyards.

Chris Pearmund is the executive winemaker at the The Winery at Bull Run.  Grapes are sourced from other Virginia vineyards and the winery recently established a vineyard out by Little Washington, Va for additional plantings of grapes.

So, which one should you visit and which is the "better" Fairfax County winery?  Both wineries are seeking to capture a growing market of younger wine drinkers from around Washington DC and the nearby suburbs.  Both are open daily and late on Friday. Both are a bit more expensive than their fellow Virginia wineries further out in Fauquier and Loudoun counties.  Both offer entertainment.

Personally, between the two, I think Paradise Springs has a slight edge; but both offer much to new wine drinking customers and neither is all that far from the other.  Visit both and let me know what you think. When you visit, tell them you read about their wineries at Wine About Virginia.

Jan 22, 2015

Three Fox Vineyards

After our visit to Delaplane Cellars we travelled down RT 17 and visited Three Fox Vineyards so Fred could pick up a bottle of Thibaut-Janisson Sparkling Chardonnay, which is a "guest wine" at Three Fox Vineyards.
Three Fox Vineyards' tasting room is open from 11 AM to 5 PM. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday and  from 12 Noon – 5 PM on Sundays.  This was only our second visit to Three Fox Vineyards.  Our last visit was a few years ago.
Three Fox Vineyards had 11 wines on the tasting menu when we visited.  We tried three whites. The 2013 Leggero Chardonnay ($22), 2013 Calabrese Pinot Grigio ($27), and the Gatto Bianco ($24), an off-dry, non-vintage white wine, made mostly from Chardonnay. We also tasted a Thibaut-Janisson Sparkling Chardonnay ($37) guest wine and a 2013 Cano Pazzo Rosé ($23) made from estate grown Sangiovese.

We also tasted six red wines. The 2012 Signor Sangiovese Reserve ($29) had a great balance between the fruit and the oak.  This was my favorite red wine here. This one came home with us.  The 2012 Volpe Sangiovese ($26)  is 75 percent Sangiovese, 20 percent Cabernet Franc, and 5 percent Chambourcin.  We enjoyed this fruity wine very much.  We also tasted the 2012 Piemontese Nebbiolo ($29), which  is estate grown at Three Fox Vineyards; the 2012 Alouette Cabernet Franc ($29); and the 2012 La Trovatella Merlot ($28).  We finished with the Non-Vintage  Rosso Dolce Chambourcin ($29/375 ml) - Rosso Dolce means "sweet red" and is Three Fox Vineyards “port alternative”.

We enjoyed this visit more than our previous one.  The tasting room wasn't crowded and we enjoyed the wines we tasted.  When you visit Three Fox Vineyards, please mention you read about their winery at Wine About Virginia.

Three Fox Vineyards 
10100 Three Fox Lane
Delaplane, Virginia 20144
Phone: 540-364-6073

Jan 19, 2015

Delaplane Cellars meet-up

We agreed upon a meet-up at Delaplane Cellars with Fred from the somewhat neglected of late This is Wine blog .
Delaplane Cellars boasts a clean and modern tasting room with incredible views of the Virginia countryside.
Delaplane Cellars also produces some great Virginia wines.  Tastings are $8 per person.  We tried five wines that spanned from white to rosé to red and finally to an off-dry white.

The 2013 Chardonnay ($27) is light, but creamy, with nice apple flavor, some crispness, and some vanilla from the oak.  We later purchased a bottle to go with our baguette and olive oil.  We next had a dry 2011 Rosé ($20) made from a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Next came two red blends, the 2013 Mélange Rouge ($37) and the extraordinary 2012 Williams Gap ($49).
The Mélange Rouge is made in a left bank Bordeaux style with Cabernet Sauvignon the dominant grape.  The 2012 Williams Gap is more of a right bank style blend with Cabernet Franc as the main grape, with Cabernet Sauvignon playing a significant, but more restrained, role. This was by far my favorite wine of this visit.  Our final wine of this tasting was the 2013 Vidal Blanc ($22), a semi-sweet wine with good acidity.

To cap off this trip, we enjoyed a bottle of Delaplane's wonderful Chardonnay with a warm baguette and olive oil. I highly recommend people visit Delaplane Cellars, just be aware they don't allow groups of more than 6, limos, tour buses, or children. When you visit Delaplane Cellars to sample their quality wines, please mention you read about them at Wine About Virginia.

Delaplane Cellars 
2187 Winchester Road
Delaplane, Virginia 20144-1734
Phone: 540-592-7210

Jan 18, 2015


Off in the beautiful Virginia countryside, near Little Washington, is a lovely vineyard and winery that is full of surprises for a first time visitor, though familiar to us. On our way home on Rt 211, we stopped there. Their name is Narmada Winery.

Narmada's symbol is the peacock, which you see as you near the main entrance and on the wine glasses.

Narmada has three tasting flights from which to choose. We chose Flight 1, Tasting Room All-Stars
($8 per person), and Flight 3: Proprietors’ Reserves and Classics ($10 per person). Each flight includes a keepsake glass.

The "star" of the six wines in flight one was the Mom ($20), Narmada's flagship blend of Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc. The flight three "star" of five wines (plus a bonus of a tasting of Mom) was the Cabernet Franc Reserve ($31), a very good Cabernet Franc with a long finish.

After our tastings, we ordered a bottle of chilled Mom and some Samosas from Narmada's menu of Indian food.  The semi-sweet Mom paired quite well with the spicy chutney served with the samosas.
Narmada's motto is Taste Virginia...Experience India!  When you visit to discover this for yourself, tell the folks at Narmada you read about their winery at Wine About Virginia.

Narmada Winery
43 Narmada Lane
Amissville,Virginia 20106
Phone: 540-937-8215