The Long and Winding Road to Magnolia Winery

This winery came to my attention while making my list of wineries to visit in 2018. Their website is great, they are dog friendly, and it’s in a different area than I usually frequent. It’s pretty far off the path in fact, but its a gorgeous drive through main street Warrenton on the way to the winery. The view of the mountains in the distance as you drive up is worth it all, however.

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It’s a great setting – with the current tasting room in the basement of the residence on the property. You park and follow the sign and walk through a nice outdoor seating area with a great firepit. One of the owners was lighting it as we arrived, and it was perfect on this cool fall day.

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The feeling is nice as you enter – intimate, with lots of crafts and local fare to purchase. I felt totally welcome as we entered – we were the first visitors of the day, and they wasted no time in welcoming us.

The tasting menu was paired with cheese and chocolate, with specific cheese paired for each wine. This was a really nice touch, and some of the cheeses actually changed the wine experience – they brought out different flavors in unexpected ways, which made this a particularly fun adventure.

The tasting started with “Black Walnut White” – a blend of Vidal Blanc, Traminette, and a splash of Viognier. It had a little sweetness to it, and paired beautifully with the Havarti Dill. In fact, this probably had the biggest change in the sip after the cheese. Very fruity, slightly sweet, and definitely a summer wine.

The second white was my favorite of the white wines, a vidal blanc. It was 90% vidal blanc plus 10% traminette. I find anything with traminette in it feels a little sweet, and it really complemented the vidal blanc. However, this was dry and crisp. Lots of fruit to it, and their tasting notes mention a mineral quality. I really picked that up, and found it pleasant. Had it been summer, this would have been my bottle and would have come home with me too. Definitely a great taste on this one.

Their Viognier was also blended with 15% Vidal Blanc and 10% Traminette. This was the only wine of theirs I didn’t enjoy. The toffee flavor and butteriness in it left me less than satisfied – it combined with the honey flavor in the tasting notes and it wasn’t what I usually get from Viognier – I always expect something much crisper than this. I think it’s simply a matter of style.

They had a chocolate pairing with their “Battle Mountain Blush.” This was raspberry wine and Traminette. That sounds like it should be syrup, but it really wasn’t – it wasn’t like most rose I enjoyed this summer, but it was pleasant as a desert type of wine. Again, more for summer, and definitely for desert. I’m always looking for a sit back and drink to enjoy it wine. They paired it with Sea Salt Caramel Milk Chocolate, which went beautifully.

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Then it’s off to the reds. We started with the 16 Cab Franc Reserve. This was a nice cab franc, with all the cherry and black pepper feeling you expect from a cab franc. Light and drinkable, a good example of this grape.

Then the 16 Hawkins Run Red – their Bordeaux blend. This was my “Best in show” winner. This was a lovely dry red and super-drinkable. It’s light and has some fruit to it, but also has the depth I like from a Bordeaux blend. This wine competes well with va red blends, and a full bottle went home with me.

The 15 Petit Verdot was the last regular red on the list. I’m loving Petit Verdot these days. Nice fruit, darker, and the heaviest of their wines. I feel like this one is one they will continue to develop and refine, and could become a strong contender for them. Very nicely paired with Irish Cheddar, this wine was a good solid red.

The tasting finished with “Pozzo,” which translates as “crazy.” When I read that it was a blackberry merlot I was again afraid we would be drinking pancake syrup, but it was much lighter and easier to drink. Sweet, and paired well with Raspberry Dark Chocolate. Good for dessert.

The day I was there we enjoyed a bottle of Hawkins Run Red along with bbq sandwiches from a food truck that came in. There was some live music (and I gather it was a club member pickup weekend). We sat outside by the fire pit and really enjoyed the atmosphere. This winery lacks any pretense, but the focus is on a welcoming guests for a nice time with good wine.

They’re definitely on the list to visit again – they are building a new tasting room facility, and I’m curious to see how their wine develops.  I gather they’ve been in business about 4-5 years, and I think it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

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