I’m Going (WINE) Clubbing Next Weekend…

No wine today, although it’s a holiday and I’m “off work,” but doing many hours of work here at home to prep for the four-day work week.

Next weekend is a BIG weekend, with two wine club package pickups coming my way. The first is going to be a quick stop at Stone Tower, where I joined back in April. I went there with my dad and enjoyed the tasting and really wanted the discounts, because I wanted to buy a bunch of their blanc de blancs and a few of their reds.

It’s been a good club. I wrote about the Sanglier Noble previously. I find I have a love/hate with their wines – I either really love them or they simply don’t match my preferences at all. Good example – they did two Sauvignon Blancs at the beginning of the summer – one was all estate grown (their ESTATE label), one was sourced from the west coast (their WILD BOAR label). Although I’m loving Virginia grapes, the estate one had an unexpected creamy flavor that I didn’t care for, but the wild boar one was amazing, and a bunch came home with me. Like many of their wines, this one quickly sold out and made me very sad.

Stone Tower is a massive facility, and they really are aiming for letting you have a great time with friends. There is an “open to everyone” tasting room where you can bring your kids and there are games, etc, and then there is a 21+ building with a member-only lounge. There is also a massive outside area where you can play cornhole, sit on the patio by firepits, etc. They really gear it up for weddings and events too. Being so close to Leesburg and Ashburn, they draw in massive crowds from there. It’s a little bit overwhelming for me to visit there, and we’ll probably go early in order to beat the heavy crowds. At least in the club member room, it’s quieter. They do often have food available such as oysters on the half shell, pizza and other types of fare, so you really can make a day of your visit.

Since I’m limited in the number of club memberships I am permitted, I am debating letting this one go when I fulfill the year term so that I can join elsewhere. I just think the wines, while good, are expensive, and the ones I tend to like more tend to be made from grapes sourced elsewhere, so it doesn’t really fit the mission statement of this blog/ wine adventure. I have two more shipments to pick up before I have to decide, so stay tuned.

Stop number two will be Winery at La Grange. This is one of the wineries I have visited a lot on and off over the past 12 years. They also source grapes from all over, but I pretty much love almost everything they make. This is another package release, with six wines coming my way. What I love about their package release, is that you come to the winery and sample all six wines in the package as you pick it up. Previously, you could trade out any wine you wanted for another wine currently available. Now, however, they identify a wine you may choose to trade out, and give you options for your trade. Unfortunately for me, they typically don’t allow me to trade out the wine I don’t prefer, and I end up with a bottle of SNORT (the Norton-based port-style wine) or something else I don’t necessarily want. Generally I love at least four of the six, and membership gives you two free tastings at each visit (or a glass instead of a tasting), and the discounts on bottles are insane, with increasing percentages off as you increase the number of bottles you buy. Because the source heavily from elsewhere, you get Temperanillo, Carmenere, all kinds of interesting stuff. They do also grow their own cab sauv, petit verdot, and petit manseng. Probably my favorite wine they have there is the “GSM” (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) – I’m certain they aren’t Virginia grown, alas, but it is one heck of an amazing wine. They also make the best Albarino I’ve ever had (the 2016 not the ’17 I accidentally opened!), although I don’t know whether they grow those grapes or source them.

While this club also doesn’t fit the mission of the blog, the value here is off the charts. The discounts and the consistent high quality wine (they made one of the three roses I loved all summer) keep me coming back. Plus they sometimes have “Talk of the Mountain” food truck with the most amazing crabcake sandwiches and hush puppies – that for lunch with a nice bottle of white outside on a summer day…….. the smile in my twitter profile pic is from exactly that. Or maybe it was rose. Not sure.

So watch here next weekend as I visit these two and sample the club offerings and current tasting menu. You’ll get to read the wine and experience review and share any thoughts you have too.

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