Sunday, March 25, 2012

Village Wine Stop #2: Delaplane

"Where, exactly, IS Delaplane?" Long-time northern Virginia residents will recognize the name Delaplane - one time home of Willard Scott and Robert Duvall; some "place" near Marshall and The Plains on the way to Skyline Drive; the name that appears on GPS systems along route 66. But where is the place? It's a crossroads, near the railroad tracks, right off Exit 23, and offers a general store, a post office, and an antiques shop. But Delaplane also offers a bonafide wine loop - some call this area the "mini Napa" of Northern Virginia. TEN wineries, all unique in their own ways, within seven miles of each other.

A list of these ten wineries can be found under this blog entry, but we will spotlight four of them, for a nice cross-section of this mini Napa.

Barrel Oak Winery, affectionately called "BOW," is a northern Virginia favorite, and despite only being open for about five years, is already an institution in the world of Virginia wine. Owner Brian Roeder is the always upbeat host, his wife Sharon is the head winemaker, and the place is always buzzing on the weekends (visit during the week for a more intimate experience). This winery has gone to the dogs. In a good way. A visit to this vineyard is like a Best in Show dog contest: You'll see dogs of every shape and size. The wines aren't too shabby: Our favorites remain their "pizza wines" (table white and table red--named Bowhaus White and Red). Their petit verdot is a bold award winner (for the other side of the wine spectrum). Their wines are a bit pricey compared to other wineries in the area, probably due to the constant improvements Brian makes to his property. And despite how busy the location is during the weekend, you can always be guaranteed a picnic table on the sloping hill.

A few minutes away from BOW is Three Fox Vineyards, up a steep grade near the railroad tracks and Goose Creek. Three Fox is home to some wonderfully dry white wines, as well as a smooth merlot (silver medal winner in the 2012 Governor's Cup). Three Fox has a great property for spreading out--name your pleasure. Relaxing on a hammock? Check. Picnic by the babbling creek? Check. "Unwined" near the tasting room on the patio? Check. Grab their famous "table in the sky" (a picnic table perched on a hilltop)? Check. Become their Facebook friend for special deals.

Further down the road, past the village of Delaplane, lies Vintage Ridge Vineyards. This location is unique in that they specialize in sit-down tastings where light food is paired with their vino offerings. On a warm day, take your seat on their patio overlooking the Blue Ridge foothills, and mellow out with a glass or bottle of the blogmasters favorites: "Summer Night" (vidal blanc) or delicious syrah.

Delaplane Cellars is the final spotlighted location in this "winery congested" section of Fauquier County. The tasting room is on a slope overlooking the mountains, and the whole location is environmentally friendly and airy. The stars here are the viogniers: A light one (LoCo Viognier) and a bolder one (Maggie's Vineyard Viognier). The Williams Gap red is a true meat lovers red, a blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.

No longer just a crossroads, Delaplane is the heart of the Fauquier County wine trail and rumor has it a white oval bumper sticker is on the way: DELA.

Barrel Oak Winery
Three Fox Vineyards
Vintage Ridge Vineyards
Delaplane Vineyards

Additional Delaplane-area wineries:

Miracle Valley Vineyard
Cobbler Mountain Cellars
Aspen Dale Winery
Naked Mountain Winery
Capitol Vineyards
Linden Vineyards

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