Hunter’s Run Wine Barn

Before heading to the Breaux Vineyards Merlot Vertical Tasting on Saturday afternoon (which we’ll post about early next week), we decided to stop at the Hunter’s Run Wine Barn. We heard about the barn from Lori and Jim Corcoran before. Currently the Wine Barn serves Corcoran Vineyards wines. Knowing this we were quite familiar with the wines.

The owner of the barn, Geri Nolan, conducted our tasting. Of course we started with the whites. We tasted the 2008 Viognier, the 2008 Chardonnay, and the 2007 Seyval Blanc. All of the whites were lovely wines but our gold star went to the 2008 Viognier. We noted honeysuckle on the nose with melon and peaches on the palate. This is one of our favorites.

With our gold stars still in hand we tasted the reds. We sipped on the 2007 Chambourcin, the 2007 Cabernet Franc, the 2008 Malbec, and the 2007 Meritage. Our gold stars went in different directions at this point. Warren stuck his on the 2007 Meritage. He noted concentrated berries on his tasting sheet. I put my gold star on the 2008 Malbec. This was my favorite during out last tasting at Corcoran Vineyards. I wrote down dark cherry flavors with a touch of pepper and a nice finish.

After our tasting we decided to enjoy a glass of the 2008 Malbec with some warm bread. The Wine Barn has a great atmosphere and everyone was having a great time. The place was hopping! While enjoying our glass and the delicious warm bread and the live music, Jim Corcoran came over and recognized us. We chatted with him for a bit and then he suggested we taste the new 2008 Riesling. Before we left Geri gave us a tasting of the riesling. Descriptors we wrote down were minerality, peachy, stone fruit, white pepper, clean with a light straw color. It’s off dry with 1.5% residual sugar. We considered this one a great summer sipper. Nicely done!

With our tastings done and our notes complete we said goodbye to the Wine Barn and headed off to our Merlot Vertical Tasting at Breaux Vineyards. We have a feeling the Wine Barn will continue to be a popular destination. It’s right on RT 9 and close to other wineries. We think Geri, Lori, and Jim have a great thing going at the Wine Barn. Consider stopping by and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Dry Mill Winery

After our trip to Casanel on Saturday we decided to stop at Dry Mill Winery. They are very close to each other so you won’t have to go far. We last visited Dry Mill the week before they officially opened last June.

We were lucky to have Michelle, the owners’ daughter, conduct our tasting. She knows all about the winery and the wines and willing to share all her knowledge with you. Of course we started with the whites. Added to the tasting menu this year is the 2008 Traminette along side the 2008 Steel Chardonnay, the 2008 Barrel Chardonnay and the 2008 Viognier. We had our gold stars ready and but our awards were almost the exact opposite from what the usually are. Warren put his gold star on the 2008 Steel Chardonnay when normally he prefers the oakier barrel type chardonnay. I put my gold star on the 2008 Barrel Chardonnay when I normally prefer the steel type chardonnay.

Moving on to the reds we noticed the addition of the 2007 Syrah and the 2007 Norton. We didn’t remember seeing these last year with the 2007 Cabernet Franc and the 2007 Rose. Warren and I both agreed on the gold star for the reds. We awarded it to the 2007 Cabernet Franc. It presents layers of berries with black pepper and a nice caramel finish. We were also given a taste of the 2008 Chambourcin. We believe this one will be released soon. We were so pleased we received a preview taste. We also noted the 2007 Rose`. We got to Wolf Trap for concerts in the summer and often take Rose`s with us. This Rose` would make the perfect Wolf Trap wine.

Since we had already eaten our lunch, we decided to enjoy a glass of the 2007 Cabernet Franc while enjoying the view from the patio. We also had a baguette with our wine. Before leaving we purchased a few bottles and said our goodbyes and thank yous. One thing that must be noted is Dry Mill does not charge a tasting fee! How many Virginia wineries don’t charge a tasting fee! That is always much appreciated! We encourage our readers to plan a trip to Dry Mill soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Casanel Vineyards

Last weekend we went to Loudoun County to visit a few wineries. We started at Casanel Vineyards. We hadn’t been there since June. It was about time we checked out the new wines.

You might remember the name of the winery is a combination of the two owners names…Casey and Nelson…Casanel. They also named each vintage of wines with special words. The 2007 vintages began with the word Chegada which means arrival. The 2008 vintages begin with the word Batucada which means samba. Casanel is a family run winery as well. We were lucky enough to have one of the daughters conduct our tasting.

Our tasting began with the whites. Casanel has two whites to taste; the 2008 Batucada Chardonnay and the 2007 Chegada Viognier. Some words that were jotted down next the chardonnay were “crisp” and “tropical”. The viognier received the words “peachy”, “floral”, and “honey textured”. We enjoyed them both and thought about each one for our lunch. We agreed on our gold star here. It went to the 2007 Chegada Viognier.

We tasted three reds from Casanel. The 2008 Batucada Norton was tart with cherry jam flavors. The 2007 Chegada Merlot presented notes of smoke, cherry, dried herbs, and pepper. Our final red was the 2007 Chegada Cabernet Sauvignon. Warren noted cherry, plum, and leather for this one. We were split on the reds for our gold stars. I gave my gold star to the 2007 Chegada Cabernet Sauvignon and Warren presented his gold star to the 2008 Batucada Norton.

With our tasting finished, we decided on the 2007 Chegada Viognier to go with our herbed grilled chicken. We thought this one went well with our chicken. We decided the acidity gives the impression of crispness when we really didn’t detect its presence. We noted lots of peach on the nose and on the palate as well as the honeysuckle texture. Overall a very nice wine.

We had a nice time visiting Casanel once more. We encourage our readers to plan a visit to Casanel soon and when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Paradise Springs

Recently we took a trip to visit one of the newest wineries in Virginia, Paradise Springs Winery. After some legal troubles, Paradise Springs opened in January of this year with hopes of becoming a destination for Fairfax County residents and visitors from around the world. Paradise Springs is Fairfax County’s only winery. It’s also very close. We only had a 35 minute drive to get there.

In the quaint, historic tasting room we were able to taste the full array of Paradise Springs wines. They currently have one acre of grapes planted on the property but have plans to expand in the future. They hope to plant albarino and petit verdot. The grapes to produce the current wines were purchased all over the state of Virginia. The wines were created by several winemakers (listed on their website) with Chris Pearmund and Rob Cox being the most familiar to Virginia Wine Time. They currently produce about 5000 cases of wine but we’re sure that will increase in the future.

Our tasting associate was very knowledgeable and guided us through our tasting. Of course we marked our gold stars along the way. We placed our gold star for the whites next to the 2008 Viognier. It’s aged for six months in French oak and presented peach and honeysuckle on the nose with peach and mango flavors on the palate. Our gold star for the reds went to the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. We noted blackberries, dark cherry, and smoke on the nose with dark fruit flavors, nice tannins, and a long finish on the palate. This one would sit nicely on your rack for a few years as well.

With our tasting complete we decided on the 2008 Cabernet Franc to compliment our chicken and pasta lunch. And of course it paired perfectly. We enjoyed our lunch in the lower level. It’s got a cave like atmosphere…and watch your head! We asked the tasting associate at the lower level bar about the tree on the label and she informed us it was modeled after a tree right on the property. You can see it out the window in the lower level as well.

After our lunch was finished and our purchases made, we bid farewell to Paradise Springs. We promised to visit again in the future. If you find yourself visiting the only Fairfax County winery, please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Events of Note

It’s Spring and the wineries are open for business. There are a couple of events coming up that we’d like to share with you.

Warrenton Wine and Arts Festival-For the second year in a row the Warrenton Wine and Arts Festival will take place on Saturday April 24 and Sunday April 25 at St. John the Evangelist school in Warrenton Virginia. At the festival you’ll be able to taste wines from about 20 Virginia wineries, hear music from local musicians, see and purchase art from several local artists, and browse the merchandise from several local and regional vendors. Be sure to check out the website and get your tickets now. We attended the festival last year and really had a great time. We tasted some wines we couldn’t taste unless we visited the wineries. We look forward to attending the festival again this year! If you see us, say hi!

Virginia Wine Week-Love By The Glass-March 22-28 is Virginia Wine Week. During this week more than 100 participating restaurants and wine shops across the state will be serving Virginia wines by the glass. Look for the Virginia Wine Week decal at the locations participating in this event and stop in and enjoy a glass of Virginia wine! Check out the website to find a list of the places where you’ll be able to enjoy a glass of Virginia wine.

Grand Opening-Saturday March 27th from 11 to 4 is the Official Grand Opening of Delaplane Cellars. It promises to be a wonderful event. Guests will enjoy live music, food pairings and the release of their 2007 Emerald Lake Reserve Viognier, their 2007 Springlot Reserve red Bordeaux blend and their 2007 Shirland Syrah. We’ve been to Delaplane Cellars before and absolutely loved the wines. If you are free on Saturday, plane to attend the grand opening!

Oh, and one more thing. Frank Morgan from Drink What You Like participated last week in the Colorado/Virginia Wine Smackdown with Jacob Harkins of Check out the articles on both the blogs and find out just how well Virginia did in the competition. Thanks Frank and Jacob!

Roundup Time

Over the past couple of weekend, we’ve visited a few other wineries, and we wanted to post our reviews of these visits.

Chrysalis Vineyards—It’s always a treat to do a tasting here. Our gold star faves in the white category was the 2008 Viognier, the flagship white wine at Chrysalis Vineyards. We were allowed a “sneak” of the 2008 Albarino—Wow! This would be my double star favorite. Soft peach, a hint of lemon zest, and a noticeable minerality sums up the flavor profile. Of the red wines, my own gold star was presented to the 2005 Locksley Reserve; of course, I was not swayed by the fact that it won gold at the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition. Paul preferred the smoky 2005 Petit Verdot. We can also report that owner Jenni McCloud is making progress with her plans to build an on-site dairy and restaurant. We’ll follow these developments and keep track of latest releases as the spring and summer progresses.

Loudoun Valley Vineyards—The renaissance continues here! Our favorite white continues to be the crisp and refreshing 2008 Pinot Grigio, but the 2008 Vinifera White should prove to be a summertime crowd pleaser. The red wines produced another split decision. Paul favored the 2005 Cabernet Franc with its blackberry and spicy notes. My own preference was the 2005 Dynasty Reserve, and I noted dark berry, plum, and spice characteristics with some vanilla to boot. A more complex and “layered” pour, I opted to enjoy a glass of this one after our tasting.

Piedmont Vineyards—New releases planned in late May, and these include a Hunt Country Chardonnay and a Native Yeast Chardonnay. We were given “sneaks” of the Native Yeast, and for lovers of an oak-aged Chardonnay, this one should be popular. The current Hunt Country is still available and was Paul’s gold star winner. He favors the stainless steel Chardonnays, and this one is still crisp and refreshing. We both concurred on the Cabernet Franc with its raspberry and spice flavors. This one is limited in quantities, so buy now for future enjoyment.

Plan springtime visits to these wineries soon, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

New Website

There’s a new website specifically for Fauguier County wineries. When you visit you can find out all about the wineries in Fauquier County. They are divided by exits on route 66. You can also find out about the upcoming events at each winery. In addition to that information, you can also print out tasting sheets for each winery you plan to visit, and map out a trip to several wineries using tour tool. And on top of all that, you can join and be able to input your comments about each wine you tasted at each winery. You really need to check it out.

Gerhard von Fincke has this to say about the creation of this site:

“This site is an attempt to increase awareness and show visitors, mainly from the DC area east of Fauquier, how easy it is to reach “Virginia’s Wine Country” in Fauquier County in less than one hour by using I66 and their respective exits. The site is a combined effort by all wineries to show their locations and upcoming events with a user friendly format, so that visitors can plan winery tours through one single web site without going to each individual winery site to plan their route.”

If you are looking for information about Fauquier County wineries, check out the new website and sign up to save your comments!