Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Winery Spotlight: Fox Meadow Winery (7/27/10)

The fox seems to be Virginia's unofficial mascot--three wineries in the state are named after the curious forest critter, and a new winery in Loudoun County (Twin Oaks Tavern) features Mr. Fox on their labels. Perched on a mountainside ("looking down on the mountains" is their motto at Fox Meadow) is a great, family-run spot that provides ample opportunties for "daycations," especially for those "lucky" residents living inside the Beltway.

Take I-66 westbound (or, better yet, state highway 55, which runs parallel with 66 and is what we call "the Virginia Wine Highway") to exit 18, and follow Freezeland Road up (and we mean up...prepare for an incline) to Fox Meadow's modern yet comfortable tasting room. The owners, Dan and Cheryl, may be there to guide you through a very informative but lowkey tasting, or one of the friendly staff members (Tamara is our favorite) may be on hand.

Their wines are impressive. The standouts are the Syrah and one of the best reds in the state, a blend called Le Renard Rouge. Their whites are crisp and extremely good too. They are the only Virginia winery we've been to that offers both a Pinot Gris and a Pinot Grigio. The former is a bit sweeter; the latter drier, but both tasty. They do not offer a Viognier, and they explained that the altitude of the vineyards may not produce an above-average, or even average, Viognier. They have intense quality controls and notify their devoted customers and Wine Club members if something "went wrong" during a particular bottling. I find the admission of a "learning curve" by a winemaker to be refreshing. Both Sunset Hills Winery and Barrel Oak Winery have been upfront about their "experiments." Some experiments produce great wine (as in the case of Le Renard Rouge). Others are, well, learning curves.

The tastings at Fox Meadow are paired with foods - mainly cheeses (locally made cheeses---an A+ for that touch). But in one case, they pair the wine with a Rice Krispy treat (something the owners discovered when visiting a California winery).
White wine and a marshmallow treat--who would've thought? But it worked.

They have ample seats inside and outside. Fox Meadow has a large deck, a new gazebo, and several picnic tables under trees, near the vineyards. They also have indoor tables, and Wine Club members have use of an additional room with a cozy gas stove for colder days.

A trip to Front Royal is not complete without a jaunt up Freezeland Road to Fox Meadow. Their wines are served at Houlihan's in Front Royal as well. We bumped into the owners at Houlihan's once - they were drinking beer. Proof that even those surrounded by excellent wine every day of the week need to branch out every now and then too!


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