Your Guide To Potomac Point Winery
My latest Adventure in Virginia Wineries brought me to Potomac Point Winery in Stafford, Virginia.
I first visited Potomac Point Winery years ago, right after it opened.
A lot can change in 7 years, so when Chelsea Sparaco, Potomac Point’s Sales & Marketing Manager, invited me to come out for a tasting, I was excited to revisit.
I’ve visited a ton of Virginia wineries over the years.
I’m gradually revisiting favorites, not so favorites, and new wineries so I can share the experience. According to Virginiawine.org, there are over 300 wineries in Virginia.
Visiting all of them is starting to sound like Mission Impossible. But I’ll do my best.
I’m getting pretty savvy at Virginia Wine tasting.
Virginia wineries are changing and evolving, so we have to change and evolve with them. Gone are the days of bringing a picnic to a winery. You can still picnic outside (most of the time).
A lot of Virginia wineries now have an on-site restaurant or they sell their own gnosh, which means no outside food allowed. To avoid surprises, call ahead.
Tasting wine on an empty stomach is a bad idea, so I always try to eat something beforehand.
Le Grand Cru Bistro
Potomac Point Winery has its own restaurant — Le Grand Cru Bistro — which is handy because there aren’t many food options close to Potomac Point Winery (save cash for a guy selling crabs out of the back of his truck on the corner).
Le Bistro gets a lot of lunch traffic, especially from the nearby Quantico Marine Corps Base, and it really started to fill up while we were there.
I’m glad we came when they opened at 11:30. Our waiter, Jonathan, was a real charmer — we got to watch him gracefully and adeptly handle a large group of not so graceful “ladies who lunch”.
My girlfriend and I both opted for tasty salads, but we took a pass on the suggested wine parings since we were getting ready to do a separate wine tasting.
The Land And Vines Of Potomac Winery
Potomac Point is owned by Skip & Cindi Causey, who started the winery as a semi-retirement venture.
They planted vines in 2005, and opened in 2007. They have a total of 13 acres, 7 of which are under vine.
Potomac Point Winery sits on the Widewater Peninsula, a coastal floodplain in eastern Virginia.
In prehistoric times, the area was completely submerged by seawater. The soil today is mostly sandy loam (sort of a crumbly mix of sand, clay and silt).
Loam alone isn’t that great for vines, but when mixed with sand, it becomes “bad enough” to stress the vines.
And stressed vines make happy wines.
During the early 17th century, the Widewater Peninsula was home to the Patawomeck (Potomac) Indians, lead by Chief Powhatan.
Sometime around 1607, Chief Powhatan captured and imprisoned the English explorer, John Smith.
According to an account written by Smith, Chief Powhatan was all set to execute Smith when Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, intervened.
Pocahontas saved Smith’s life by throwing herself between Smith and her dad. A gusty move, considering Smith and Pocahontas were just friends. Seriously. Just friends. (Disney makes fairy tales, not documentaries).
Today, historians disagree about the validity of Smith’s account. Some historians say Smith was about to be executed; others say the whole thing was an elaborate, ritualized adoption ceremony (a really scary one, with spiked clubs).
And, since the only account of the story is Smith’s, we may never know the truth.
Potomac Winery Tour
We went on a guided tour of the winery.
Here’s something you don’t see very often — a dedicated kids zone inside the tasting room, called the ‘Lil Buds Room.
The Coyote Wine Cave is named after one of the very first visitors to the winery — a mother coyote and her cub who took an unguided tour of the winery’s production floor, leaving their footprints behind in the wet cement.
The winery has a stuffed coyote that gets moved around (sometimes to surprising places) all over the winery.
Potomac Point Winery Tasting
Wine tastings can be reserved and walk-ins are welcome based on availability.
There are two different tastings offered, Grand Cru or Premier Cru.
Each tasting will include a one-ounce pour of eight different Potomac Point Wines.
Your Wine attendants will guide you through an educational tasting with background, as well as the winemaking processes.
Tastings begin at $15. You will be charged the tasting fee prior to your tasting.
After we finished our lunch at the Bistro, we were escorted to the tasting bar and met our tasting room hostess. She was wonderful.
Approachable, knowledgeable, and down to earth. From the moment she introduced herself, I felt like we were friends.
If there was an award for Best Tasting Notes, Potomac Point Winery might just win.
I cannot express how much I appreciate detailed, technical tasting notes. I’d rather have too much information than not enough.
I can really think about a wine when I don’t have to spend my time furiously scribbling down technical notes.
We tasted a total of fourteen (!!) wines.
I made good use of the dump bucket — not because I didn’t enjoy the wines, but because we tasted fourteen of them.
And we needed to drive home and do mom stuff later that afternoon.
Pocahontas Reserve Norton
The first time I visited Potomac Point Winery, they made a wine called Pocahontas Reserve Norton, bottled in a great stoneware bottle.
It was made to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.
I bought a couple of bottles specifically for the bottles — and I still have them. They no longer make the wine, which kinda bums me out.
I love it when history and wine get all tangled up together, so I’d love to see Potomac Point Winery resurrect the stoneware bottle — as a nod to their connection to the land and history of the Patawomeck Indians.
Potomac Point Chardonnay /85 points
100% Chardonnay. Aged in stainless steel. Flint nose. Super tart and acidic, with flavors of green apple and pear.
The tasting sheet says “toasty notes”, but I don’t get that at all, especially since this is aged in stainless. Still, crisp and clean. 13.5% ABV.
Potomac Point Viognier /86 points
80% Viognier, 20% Rkatsiteli. Aged in stainless steel. A Viognier blended with Rkatsiteli?? That’s interesting. And atypical for a Virginia Viognier.
Very tropical. Viognier definitely dominates, but you can’t ignore the Rkatsiteli presence.
It’s Viognier sandwiched between two wafers of Rkat. 13.5% ABV.
Potomac Point La Belle Vie White /85 points
65% Vidal Blanc, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Rkatsiteli, 10% Viognier, and 5% Petit Manseng.
Aged in stainless steel. This is Potomac Point’s most popular white wine. I don’t usually like a winery’s most popular white — because it’s usually sweet patio plonk.
But I liked this one — 1.5% residual sugar, so it’s not a full-blown Capri Sun wobble-pop. I was expecting cloying, but the balance surprised me. 13% ABV.
Potomac Point Custom Label White /84
55% Chardonnay, 30% Viognier, 15% Vidal Blanc. Aged in stainless steel. Tropical apple flavors.
The Viognier is assertive, I kept searching for the Chardonnay, but it didn’t want to come out and play.
Decent finish. This bottle, and the Custom Label Red are printed without a front label, so you can design your own. 13% ABV.
Potomac Point Abbinato /84 points
45% Sangiovese, 45% Chambourcin, 10% Merlot. Aged in neutral and French oak. The nose on this wine was almost sweet — kind of reminded me of WD-40.
This is a Chianti style wine, and it doesn’t taste at all like it smells. Light-bodied.
Black pepper dominates. Hello, Chambourcin. 13.7% ABV.
Potomac Point Coyote Cave Red /86 points
54% Sangiovese, 26% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Syrah. Aged in French oak.
Our hostess called this the “red wine with training wheels”. Makes sense to me.
Lots of structure without tannin overload. Smells like pepper and campfire.
Smooth and very drinkable. Flavors lean toward the green — herbs and green pepper notes. A bottle of this came home with me, too. 12.7% ABV.
Potomac Point Merlot /83 points
85% Merlot, 15% Tannat. I like the addition of the Tannat here — it makes it more Virginia. Aged in French oak.
Balanced, but a slight nod to tannins. Maybe a little aggressive for a Merlot. 13.7% ABV.
Potomac Point Custom Label Red /83 points
54% Sangiovese, 26% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Syrah. Aged in French oak. Medium bodied.
Slightly medicinal nose — smells like a box of Band-Aids, which I don’t find unpleasant.
Still, the balance seems slightly off. This bottle, and the Custom Label White are printed without a front label, so you can design your own. 13% ABV.
Potomac Point Cabernet Franc /86
100% Cabernet Franc. Aged in French oak. White pepper nose, with flavors of herbs, green pepper and tobacco.
Tannins seem a little unruly right now, but I’ll bet they calm down with age. 14.7% ABV.
Potomac Point Richland Reserve Heritage /88 points
32% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Tannat, 5% Petit Verdot. Aged in French oak. Bordeaux style. Smoke, tobacco, leather.
Coffee, toffee chocolate finish. Finesse and power. Well done! 14.6% ABV.
Potomac Point Norton /82 points
I get prunes on the nose — a bit of a departure from the grape jelly I usually get.
This wine kind of clobbers you over the head. I said the wine was a little bratty, and our hostess countered with “bossy”.
Bossy is my new favorite wine descriptor. 13.5% ABV.
Potomac Point Dolce Rubus /82 points
100% Merlot + a “natural raspberry additive”. Aged in French oak. Holy Raspberry!
Smells like IHOP pancake syrup. Surprising balance. Reminds me of a liquor filled chocolate.
Not my cup of tea, but I can see how it does have a fanbase. 13.7% ABV.
Potomac Point Vin de Paille /82 points
65% late harvest Vidal Blanc, 30% late harvest Petit Manseng, 5% Muscat Raisin.
The nose is like tearing open a Clementine orange. Very sweet, and a little cloying for me.
Some use it to make her own cranberry sauce — set another place at the Thanksgiving table for me then. Yum 16.8% ABV.
Potomac Point Moscato Dolce /87 points
From Asti in Piedmont, Italy. 100% Moscato. Aged in stainless steel. Not usually available for tasting.
But they had a bottle open, so we got to sample it.
I really enjoyed this. I think I must have been lamenting the end of summer — bought a bottle to take home.
I’ll break it out in February when I need some sunshine. 5.5% ABV.
On our way out of the winery, we were given a bottle of their new fusion wine, Camino, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Monastrell.
It’s called wine fusion because it blends different cultures and regions of the world — Cabernet Franc from Virginia, and Monastrell from Bodegas Castaño, the Castaño family winery in Spain.
Camino means path in Spanish . . . and Potomac Point Winery is definitely on the right camino!
Potomac Point Winery FAQ
Who owns Potomac Point winery?
The owner of Potomac Point Winery is Skip Causey, currently residing as President of the Vineyard Association; leading the joint effort to promote the viticultural interest of Virginia.
Are dogs permitted?
Leashed dogs are allowed in the winery tasting room, grounds, in the courtyard, and on the patio.
Are reservations required?
Reservations are not required but are encouraged. Upon check-in you will choose your wine tasting and pay. If you are joining us for a bistro reservation, they will swipe a credit card to start a tab for your table. Your final bill can be paid by the same card, a different card, split evenly with multiple cards, or paid by cash. By starting a tab you’ll get the full experience of our winery including the gift shop and have one credit card already on file.