I’ve visited a ton of Virginia wineries over the years. But I’ve only been writing this blog for a few short months, so I’m gradually revisiting favorites, not so favorites, and new wineries so I can blog the experience. According to Virginiawine.org, there are 248 wineries in Virginia. Visiting all of them is starting to sound like Mission Impossible. But I’ll do my best . . .
It’s time for another edition of Tuesday morning winery field trips. This week, I’m at Miracle Valley Vineyards in Delaplane, Virginia. Disclaimer: This visit actually occurred a few weeks before Christmas — I’m just tardy getting it written.
Miracle Valley Vineyards sits on land that had a first row seat to the Civil War. This is Virginia — you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Civil War ghost of one flavor or another. In the early winter of 1864, Union soldiers launched a relentless attack (history now calls it The Burning Raid) on Loudoun and Fauquier Counties in Virginia. Its aim was to root out and destroy pockets of Confederate resistance, specifically Mosby’s Rangers. The strategy was to burn every building and destroy every crop in sight. Livestock and people were to be confiscated.
Ulysses S. Grant’s orders said, “If you can possibly spare a division of cavalry, send them through Fauquier County to destroy and carry off crops, animals, and all men under fifty years of age bearing arms. In this way you will get many of Mosby’s men.”
After the raids, the only thing left standing on the Miracle Valley property was the foundation of an old grain barn.
The owners of Miracle Valley have done a fantastic job as caretakers of history, preserving many of the old buildings and repurposing them for use in the winery. The old farm house was rebuilt shortly after 1864, and now serves as the winery tasting room. And the old stables now function as the wine processing facility.
Before I get to the wines we tasted, I have to tell you about the angel . . .
Photos are from the Miracle Valley Vineyards website. (The photos I took were blurry).
The angel is one in a series of sculptures designed by artist and sculptor, Lei Hennessy-Owen. Hennessy-Owen donates and places her angel sculptures at “sites where traumatic events have occurred, or sites that are used for quiet healing of spirit”. This angel was placed at Miracle Valley in memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 — and to the men and women of our armed forces who have lost their lives defending our freedoms since 9/11. (Miracle Valley Vineyards is a big supporter of Able Forces ,a non-profit with a unique mission to exclusively employ wounded warriors and disabled veterans on Federal Government contracts). Bravo to the artist and to Miracle Valley!
On to the wines . . .
Here is the quaint tasting room and a list of the wines we tasted. I have to compliment our tasting room hostess, Kathy . . . she was a hoot! Even if the wines had been terrible (which they weren’t), I would have enjoyed my visit because of Kathy’s energy and spunk.
What’s with the stars? Here’s my very complicated (kidding) wine rating process.
Viognier 2012 ⭐⭐⭐/85
Fermented in stainless steel and aged for just 30 days in Hungarian oak. A pretty straw color in the glass. Nose is hot buttered toast. Distinctive pear flavors — lovely. The quick-dip in oak gives the wine just enough depth. Very enjoyable. $24.
Merlot 2011 ⭐/79
Fermented and then aged 6 months in American oak. A pale, pale rust color. Nose is strawberry Fruit-Rollup (there’s a plastic edge to the nose that pulls my focus). Very light-weight, lacking in structure. The softness I look for in a Merlot is absent. $23.
Meritage 2010 ⭐⭐/81
Kathy calls this her “emergency wine”. She says she likes to pair it with a glass. 😉 This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Nose is herbal — rosemary and black pepper. Flavors of boysenberry and green pepper. Smoother than the Merlot, but lacking in depth and focus. Needs time. $35.
Cabernet Franc 2011 ⭐⭐/84
Easily my favorite red of the flight. Pretty ruby color. Smells like a campfire. Flavors are blackberry and asphalt (which I don’t dislike in a wine). Slightly more dense and structured than the earlier reds. Lovely vanilla finish. $27.
Cobbler Mountain White NV ⭐⭐/83
A blend of Viognier, Vidal Blanc and Chardonnay. 2% residual sugar. It’s not as sweet as I expected. A dry finish, which was a nice surprise. Decent acidity. I’m not a big fan of sweet wines, but I can see this becoming a very popular wine for Miracle Valley. $25.
Symphony Dessert Wine NV ⭐/79
6% residual sugar. A blend of Concord, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cab Franc and Tinta Madeira Port. You can definitely pick up on the Concord. Nose is all Welch’s grape jelly. Very sweet, a little cloying for me. Needs more acidity for balance. Not my cup of tea, but I can see those who enjoy sweet wines liking it very much. $25.
Miracle Valley Hot Mulled Wine ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (can’t really score this, but I really, really liked it)
This wine is sold as a kit — 1 bottle of Merlot, 1 bottle of Cabernet Franc and a bag of mulling spices. To that, you add one, 64oz bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. I know. When Kathy told us about the Cranberry juice, I was like, Whaaa? But it’s fantastic! I will be drinking this all winter long. $48.
We very much enjoyed our afternoon at Miracle Valley Vineyards. For sure, we’ll be back this spring after their new releases. I’m anxious to taste the Chardonnay and Reserve Chardonnay. 👍 to Miracle Valley — if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and taste some wine, enjoy the peaceful solitude of the angel . . . and taste some wine with a Civil War ghost or two.