Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fauquier County Winery Spotlight: Mountains to Valley

In our ongoing coverage of vineyards and wineries in that "winery unfriendly" county of Fauquier, we turn the spotlight to Cobbler Mountain Cellars and Miracle Valley Vineyards--two wineries about 15 minutes from each other, located off state highway 55 near Delaplane. Cobbler Mountain Cellars, the younger of the two vineyards, gets its name from Cobbler Mountain (actually, mountains--the vineyards are located in the shadows of Big Cobbler Mountain and Little Cobbler Mountain, two foothills of the Blue Ridge). The blogmasters expect big things for this spot - they do nearly everything right. The owners are generous and hospitable. The wines are good to great. The tasting room is located in the cellar of their home. You truly feel that you're part of their family when you visit Cobbler Mountain Cellars. It may sound like a cliché, but there is something magical about this location. The owners are aware of this too, and the theme here is Irish folklore. On one visit, a group of teenagers performed haunting Irish folk songs with ukuleles and mandolins, adding to the "magic in the air" vibe. The home/tasting room lies on a hillside, and benches, chairs and tables adorn the sloping lawn. Or, you can grab a table under one of the apple trees. Which leads us to their offerings. This is a wine blog, but we have to call it like it is. The winner at Cobbler Mountain Cellars is their hard apple cider. This is not to be confused with apple wine. Apple wine is typically made incorporating grapes in the process. Hard apple cider is 100% apple. There is nothing better for a cool fall afternoon in October than hard apple cider. Cobbler Mountain's is incredible - like biting into a juicy golden delicious apple. Try it with brats or burgers. As for the wine, not a sub-par one on the list, and their varietals are impressive, considering how young the winery is: Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot, Meritage. They have more reds than whites (their sole white grape wine is a very good chardonnay, with notes of buttercream). Of the reds, our favorite was the merlot--peppery but smooth. Cobbler Mountain Cellars is an oasis from civilization - only about 45 minutes from Washington DC, but another world. From the mountains/foothills to the valley....Miracle Valley Vineyard, similar to Cobbler Mountain Cellars in size (that is, not a slick commercial operation). The tasting room is housed in charming old farm house overlooking a pond. The tasting is slow and leisurely paced. Several of their wines are award winners: Their Cab Franc and Cab Sauv are Virginia Gold Medal winners. Their Meritage is a Silver Medal winner at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. They've been making wine here longer than Cobbler Cellars, and have more options on the white side of the scale. Of the whites, the viognier and reserve Chardonnay stood out. The viognier is steel-aged and introduced to Hungarian oak for 30 days, resulting in a dry, spritzer-like wine with notes of grapefruit and pineapple. The reserve chardonnay begins in stainless steel and then is introduced to Hungarian oak for a year. The result is an incredibly complex chardonnay that works perfectly with poultry dishes. As for the reds, our favorite was the award-winning Cab Sauv, with soft tannins and the right amount of spice notes. From the mountains to the valley - visit these fine spots this weekend. Support Fauquier County wineries! Winery URLs: Cobbler Mountain Cellars; Miracle Valley Vineyard

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