Thursday, August 19, 2021

Central Loudoun County - Middleburg AVA


Tarting Room Casanel Vineyards
Leesburg, VA
August 13, 2021
Chris and I headed off to the Leesburg, VA, area this past weekend to sample wines from wineries and vineyards that we had not yet had the opportunity to visit.

Let me begin by writing that there are more wineries and vineyards in this region of Virginia than can possibly be sampled in a single weekend or for that matter likely in a month. Trying to keep the weekend sane and to truly experience the wines and ambiance of the vineyards we limited ourselves to three tastings per day. So for the weekend we visited six wineries or vineyards. We had alternates selected to account for unforeseen circumstances and, in fact, the first stop was at a winery we had previously visited, but forgotten, and so we went to our second planned stop instead and added the alternate to become the third stop of the day.

The six wineries or vineyards were chosen based upon a review of their websites and the types of wine offered. Two were chosen because they offered varietals not normally experienced in Virginia. One offered both a Tempranillo and an AlbariƱo, while another offered a Vermentino. We were not disappointed at either vineyard, although truth be told, the Tempranillo was made with grapes sourced from Washington State. My understanding is that Tempranillo does not grow well in Virginia.

So the scorecard for the weekend was six stops at wineries or vineyards. Of there six, four were definite keepers, one is on the must revisit after COVID list, and one was truly disappointing despite having a magnificent facility and a seemingly diverse and exciting wine list. That said, we purchased wines from all six wineries and vineyards and joined the wine club at one of them. Yes, I came home with bottles of all three of the wines that most interested me and many more. 

So the top four, in no particular order:

Casanel Vineyards

Stone Tower Estate Winery

8 Chains North

Walsh Family Wine

Important safety tip: Check the websites at any winery/vineyard you intend to visit to determine how or if they are conducting tastings during COVID and whether reservations are required.

Important Safety Tip #2: Drink and drive responsibly. It is OK and desired for you to spit after tasting to avoid alcohol loading.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD