In one word how would I describe Paradise Springs Winery: WOW!!!!
My trip to Paradise Springs Winery started at 5:15AM on Sunday. I woke up had a cup of coffee, checked my map how to get there and how long (2 hours). After stopping to grab a egg, cheese and scrapple breakfast sandwich at 9:30, I was off and headed down I-95. (Scrapple is a must if you live in Baltimore. Just like Natty Boh beer.)
Let me tell you, the small town of Clifton, Virginia is like a step back in time. Two main streets and a railroad track. I was expecting Barney Fife to pull me over for not "seeing" the stop sign I ran through.
Paradise Springs Winery is tucked away up the hill and back in the woods. It sits on 36 acres and is nestled just east of Manassas. This, too, feels like a trip back in time because the first building you see is the original log cabin that was built between 1800 and 1825. Truly colonial. It is when you turn down the driveway that you see the vines and the tasting room behind the cabin that let you know you came to the right place.
I was about an hour early for my 1PM tour, but I checked in and was given my souvenir glass and they gave me some of their 2011 Chardonnay while I waited.
OK, before I start talking about the wines, I must say that the tasting room was GORGEOUS! From the outside it looks like an old red barn, but when you walk inside.....WOW!
Now let's talk about the wine. I was told by a friend that Virginia has some great white wines and was told specifically to taste the Viognier. Richard, tasting room manager, was our tour guide. He took the group outside and gave us a history of winery. I can say that I was intrigued by it. You'll have to visit yourself to hear it. It truly is interesting. He first poured us their Apres Brut Sparkling wine. It is made from 100% Virginia Viognier grape. I mention that it is 100% Virginia grape as they source the grape from other growers. The only grape they grow on property is Cab Franc and I will say that I brought a bottle of the Cab Franc home with me. (More on Cab Franc later.)
The Apres was very pleasant and light. It had great aroma of tropical fruits and honeysuckle. It had a nice tickle of bubbles that for me would be great at any event where a bottle of bubbly is needed for celebration. It was explained how they age the wine for 13 months and they riddle it by hand. Riddling is where they turn the bottle ever so slightly so the sediment will settle in the neck of the bottle and they can then remove the sediment later. This wine is a great example of an Extra Dry Sparkling wine. Not too sweet, but not too dry either. I bought a bottle of this wine too.
They make at least a dozen different wines, you can check out their website to see all that they make (Paradise Spring Winery). If I start to describe them all to you, this would be a very long Wine Blog, you'll just have to visit them.
I do want to talk about their Cab Franc though. OH MY!
OK, first off Cab Franc is a traditional grape variety from France and is most grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to make Bordeaux wines. (My personal favorite wines.) So I was really excited to try a 100% Cab Franc wine. This did not disappoint!!!
Richard took us into the barrel room, which was a treat for me. You could just smell the French and American oak. At first pour, the Cab Franc poured an inky purple into my glass and that just reminded me that the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. GO RAVENS!!! (Sorry) But then the aroma just overtook my senses and I was in heaven. The black currants and rich cherries mixed perfectly with the American oak barrel it was aged in for seven months. I took my first sip and the explosion of the cherries, blueberries, currants, and the toasty oakiness was so silky and satiny that it was all I could do to keep me knees from buckling. THIS WAS SUCH A GREAT WINE!!!
Richard and the group started discussing what we would pair this wine with. Everyone came to the agreement a very hearty meal was definitely in order. If I could have ordered a Filet Mignon, I would have eaten it right then. When I sampled the wine a second time, I was sold. It just got better as I swirled it and let the wine open up. The wine was just so smooth. I kept experiencing other flavors as it lingered on my palate: vanilla, blackberry jam, hints of tobacco (from the oak) and a little bit of black pepper. It is definitely one of the best examples of a Bordeaux style wine I have had from the States.
There was one other wine we sampled that I want to talk about, but I don't want to spoil the surprise of Paradise Springs' Malbec. Do yourself a huge favor....visit them and/or join their wine club! I joined the wine club and am definitely, without a doubt going to be making another trip to Paradise Springs Winery.
Thanks Richard for a great afternoon.
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About the author
Alex is the owner of An Event To Remember Entertainers. He enjoys wine and good times. He also works as a manager of a fine wine shop in Baltimore, Maryland. If you'd like to talk wine with him, contact him through his website....www.AETRDJ.com