Checking in at Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn

This was another spot to check out on the Fauquier Holiday Wine Trail.  We finished our time at Linden and headed east on SR-55.  It is an easy spot to miss, unassuming, low-key and not much signage.

We entered and it has a really nice atmosphere – clearly a fun place to hang out with friends and sip wine.  It was warm and friendly and, well, looked like a barn!


The tasting included 6 wines and a cider that wasn’t listed on the menu.  They also gave us a small plate to pair each wine with fruit, sausage, cheese, or chocolate.  I think that’s a really cool touch that I’m seeing more of as I visit more places.


The first wine was their rose – it was a blended rose with vidal blanc, a little bit of chambourcin, and a port-style wine (I never did find out what that was….).  It had 2% residual sugar so it wasn’t too sweet, and as the writeup says, would go well with spicy food.  they paired it with the plain yellow cheddar, which was also nice.  It was, like most blended roses I’ve tried, weak and sweet, and not to my taste.

The second wine was Sarah’s Chapeau.  This was another sweet wine with 1.5% residual sugar.  I couldn’t taste the sauv blanc at all in this wine, and it felt sweeter than the rose.  It was good with the dried apricot pairing.  Again, a sweet wine not in my style – Vidal Blanc can be a very nice dry and crisp white wine that’s incredible in the summer.

Third wine, the Shiplap Chardonnay.  This was mostly stainless steel with one month in oak.  It was a good chardonnay, but it’s hard to sample other wines after Linden, and this one didn’t hold up to that standard.  It was paired with a sage-infused white cheddar (the green in the photo above), and it did well together.

Next was the Hard Apple Cider, which was one of the more drinkable ciders I’ve had – it wasn’t carbonated and it wasn’t heavy or meady – it really tasted like cider and was pleasant.

We moved into reds – first up – the Bridgetown Red.  It was paired with the dried cherry on the plate.  The cherry really added to the wine, and the petit verdot flavors came through in it.  It’s a nice Bordeaux blend.

Next wine, the Smokehouse red – 100% Petit Verdot.  This was also a good wine, and it was paired with pheasant summer sausage.  It was a nice petit verdot – typical of what I expect in Virginia.  The sausage added a nice layer to the taste.

Last wine, the Rockawalkin.  This was a young blend – but big.  It was paired with jalapeno pheasant sausage at first, and then another taste was poured and we were told to take our chocolate and goat cheese together and sip.  Both were interesting and different.  I’d say this was a strong, albeit young wine, from this winery.

She finished our tasting with the Maria Sangria – which was the rose blended with fruit juices.  It tasted exactly like that.

These were decent wines, but not really standouts, and it’s hard to be sure of anything when you start at Linden and then make your way to another winery.  We didn’t end up having a glass or bringing any bottles home, as none of them spoke to me.  I didn’t get a good sense for what this winery was really going after – I couldn’t grasp what their overall vision was.  While the website talks about the importance of farming to winemaking, I didn’t hear about terroir or the growing experience.  When the pourer and I spoke about the 2018 crop, she did mention that they will only use those grapes for blending, not for any single varietals or to produce any vintages, that was the only time I got a sense for the winemaking craft in this place.

It wasn’t bad, I didn’t pour anything out.  It just didn’t move me the way other places have.  Have you been? What did you think?

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