A Brief Visit to Three Fox Vineyards

I’ve driven past Three Fox a million times on my way to other wineries, and had been trying to stop there for a little bit.  So on Friday, after some oysters in Middleburg, I went ahead and took dad there.

We were the first in to the tasting room at noon that day – the day after thanksgiving.  We didn’t engage in what looked like a ton of fun with their “Turkey Trot” – going through the vines to collect coupons for free tastings and glasses – that’s a great activity, but dad didn’t feel up to it, and it was super-cold, so we just started our tasting right away.

The menu had nine wines, their mulled wine, plus a guest wine for an additional fee.  It started with their “Leggero Chardonnay,” which was a nice crisp example.  She did share that they grew everything themselves except the Chardonnay grapes.   It drank very nicely, and was my favorite of their white wines.

Second taste was their Calabrese Pinot Grigio.  I’ve been itching for more Virginia grown Pinot Grigio, and finally, here was one.  There was some lemon citrus, like the tasting notes said, and it was a dry pinot grigio.  It felt and tasted young to me, and almost a little more like a Viognier than a pinot grigio.  It had crispness and acidity, but was a little on the green side for me.

The Viognier was the third up, the La Boheme.  Clear pear flavor came through, but again this one felt a little green to me.  Dad enjoyed it and thought it was the best of the tasting bar.  The white wines definitely had a strong Italian style to them, and I don’t think that’s they style I prefer.

Final white – the Gatto Blanco – this was a sweet wine – a Viognier/ Chardonnay blend that had 2% residual sugar.  It wasn’t too sweet, as you know I don’t care much for sweet wine, and the blend worked well.  This could be good for dessert, but with wines like this, I tend to think a partial glass is plenty.

On to the reds!  The first was their Volpe Sangiovese, which I think she said was grown in their Charlottesville vineyard.  It was mixed with 25% Cab Franc, and I think that is the max you can blend in and still label it as a single varietal wine.  It was a good example of sangiovese, but a little bit acidic for my taste.  I didn’t find it as smooth as the tasting notes shared, and again, I think it’s stylistic – this is strongly influenced by Italian winemaking styles.

The Nebbiolo was next.  The black cherry flavors came through very strong on this one.  I remember hearing another tasting bar share that the Nebbiolo should sit in the bottle longer because it is so tannic and strong, and it needs longer to mellow out.  This may need more time – it was a 2015, if I remember correctly, and over time should soften more and be smoother.

Next wine was the La Trovatella Merlot.  This merlot was blended with 20% Cab Franc.  This was my favorite of their reds, and I ended up with a glass in their tasting room to enjoy.  The tasting notes mention that they did this in more of a French style (so right to my preferences!).  Black cherry and dark fruits came through nicely, somewhat fruit forward and medium bodied – a nice drink.

The 2016 Alouette Cab Franc was next – 100$ cab franc.  It had a green peppery taste to it, and felt a little green too.  It had the good dark fruit that cab franc usually has, but needed to soften a little bit too.

The final Three Fox wine on the list was the Rosso Dolce Chambourcin – a port alternative, late harvest wine.  It was a good bit sweeter than the gatto blanco, and had strong fruit in it too.  It fits in well with the late harvest, port-alternative type of wines.

The mulled wine was their sangiovese with mulling spices.  It was nice and warm on this freezing cold day.

Finally we tasted the guest wine, the Sparkling Thibaut-Janisson Sparkling Chardonnay.  This one was a nice bubbly in champagne style, a little more acidic than I tend to like, but still a good bubbly wine.  I love this idea of a guest wine that is also tasted – from the perspective of a community of winemakers that support each other and promote what they love.

We had our glasses in the side tasting room – it was a very cold day, and they had tent seating outside with heat lamps – which was really nice, but we wanted to stay warm.  The tasting room has a wonderful gift shop area with wine, dog, cat, and fox-related knick-knacks – I almost bought a dog bone ornament that said “Fetch me my wine!” – I can just see husband loving that one.  They are kid-friendly, so in better weather you can taste your wine while the kids run around outside.

While this wasn’t my style of wine, I thought the grounds were beautiful – they were preparing for live music coming up that afternoon, and they had tables, chairs, and firepits all around the property, including some tables down by Crooked Run, which would be great on a warmer day to sip your wine by the creek.  If you like Italian style wines, you will love Three Fox.  I think they make your visit pleasant, and they have a good selection.  If you take me there, I’ll enjoy my Merlot or Chardonnay :).

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