Sunday’s Stone Tower Package Pickup

Every time it is time for a wine club package pickup, I think to myself, “Well, maybe this will be the last one for Stone Tower and I’ll quit my membership.”  And then I go and do the pickup and tasting and fall in love with the wines and decide to stick it out.  Until the next one gets close.

I picked up dad and we had a fast lunch at Nando’s at One Loudoun.  I always go early to Stone Tower – they pack the crowds, and even at 12:20, the parking lot was 1/3 full.  We went to the basement where they had the packages, and the bar there was open, with no one at it, so we went right there and started our tasting.  Betsy, who helped us, was fantastic, and there was another associate whose name I did not get who jumped into the discussion too.  We had great conversation about the winery and estate wines they were producing, the 2018 harvest, and the current wine lineup.

The tasting started with their lovely Cremant de Bourgogne – this is made in champagne style at their property in France from grapes they grow there – this one is chardonnay, pinot meunier and gamay.  It’s a fantastic sparkling rose.  I almost brought a bottle home (and if they allowed me to swap on my package I totally would!).  This is crisp and charming and such a nice celebration to start!

From there we went onto the tasting menu.

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The rose is pleasant, made from Virginia grapes sourced in Madison, and made by their new winemaker.  50% Malbec, 29% cab sauv, and 21% merlot, it was refreshing, and not sweet or tart, as many roses can be.  This is a nice one, and was part of the package.  I think I’ll really like this one this summer!

Next up, the 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc.  Either they had several different styles they’ve released sequentially, or my taste has changed.  All Loudoun county fruit, it spent some time in the “Concrete Egg” to age and add minerality.  Previously I did not like this, but today it was quite nice. It was acidic, with slight floral nature to it and a touch of cream at the end.  I enjoyed it this time, and dad wound up with a glass of it at the end, and thought about buying a bottle but balked at the price.

Third taste was the Wild Boar Riesling, also in our package. These were grapes from the Finger Lakes.  It was a mellow, subdued Riesling, and despite their tasting notes, I got honeydew as the main flavor in it.  There wasn’t any sweetness left in it, which was good, so it was a decent riesling.  I’m hoping I’ll love it this summer.

Now reds.  The 2015 vintage of The Pursuit was in the package – a Bordeaux blend that was all Virginia fruit too.  51% Cab Sauv, 35% merlot, 8% Cab Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec.  The grapes were from Middleburg and Monticello according to Betsy.  It spent a good bit of time in French Oak – not new, but not neutral yet either, and that left it with those “velvety tannins.”  This was a nice, dark fruit wine that will be pleasing, and probably last for some time.

Fifth on the menu was the 2016 Petit Verdot – with traces of Cab Sauv, Malbec and Merlot mixed in.  This fruit was all sourced from Paso Robles, which made me a little sad (it’s one of my peeves that makes me considering leaving their club – I want to focus on Virginia and they source).  This was a good powerful example of PV, and both dad and I liked it.  It rounds out the package for this trimester, so it’s here at home with me now.

Finally, their awesome right bank Bordeaux blend, the 16 Estate Windswept Hill.  You definitely get the influence of the oak in this one, but it doesn’t overpower it, and the cab franc is mellowed nicely by the merlot.  This is a smooth one with a lingering finish that makes you want more.

The club benefits are good, with 10% off everything there.  The wines are a little pricey though.  While some are very strong, I’m not sure others live up to the price tag.  The service and experience (as long as you are there early enough before the crowds) are excellent.

I’ll probably think about canceling the club as the next package distribution gets closer too.

Stone Tower, why can’t I quit you?

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