Today’s first stop was Hillborough Vineyards. Their online story is fascinating – owned and operated by a Turkish family that dedicated themselves to this business. The setting is incredible, right off Rte 9 in Loudoun County as you approach the border with West Virginia. Gorgeous grape vine and mountain views and a short walk up to a historic building. Likewise the tasting rooms were beautiful with huge windows and expansive patios with great views of the hills. Plenty of space to taste. They had a nice menu that included sandwiches, cheese plates and more.
The business model is different and pretty cool. Rather than offering a standard tasting, or even two levels of tasting, you choose a flight of 2 oz pours based on preference from a list: whites, roses, medium reds, full bodied reds, sweet, or Vintner’s selection. Three of us were there, my husband, my wine friend, and me, and we all chose different flights. The spouse chose full-bodied reds, the friend went for the roses, and I went for the Vintner’s choice.
The white was called “Opal,” a petit manseng. I usually love petit manseng for the crisp and dry, almost but not exactly sweet, but very citrus-y quality. This one had plenty of citrus but it missed the mark for me – there was something almost harsh and sour in it. I was very surprised by the taste and that I didn’t like it. The second wine was called “Bloodstone.” This was 100% “Fer Servadou,” a French red grape. The flavors were nice and pleasant, it wasn’t overwhleming, and really a lighter red wine. The last was 100% Tannat named “Onyx.” This wine was dark and deep, and was pretty standard fare for a Virginia Tannat – rich and earthy, and probably pairing well with red meat.
Neither spouse nor friend were impressed with their flights – full-bodied reds also included Onyx, as well as Ruby (a Tannat/Fer Servadou and Petit Verdot blend) and straight petit verdot. He wasn’t impressed with any, although I think he actually preferred the Petit Verdot, which shocked me, since that tends to be a strong wine, but theirs was nicely subtle. The friend thought two of the roses were way too sweet, while the tannat/petit manseng rose was pleasant, but not for a whole bottle.
I’m glad we checked it out, even though we didn’t buy any bottles, it was a beautiful place to start our three winery day.
Have you been there? What were your thoughts?