There was a threat of snow, so after taking dad on some errands, we decided on oysters in Middleburg (not exactly close, but really worth the drive) and possibly a winery run afterwards.
The drive out to Middleburg was easy, with a few spritzes of rain and some teeny tiny flurries. We had our oysters and lunch at King St Oyster Bar (my current favorite), and headed to Boxwood Winery, right around the corner. I knew very little about it, other than that Wine Friend 1 had been to their Tasting Room at Reston Town Center and didn’t care much for it. We were close, so we took our chances, and I’m glad we did!
The backstory is that the winery is owned by John Kent Cooke, son of Jack Kent Cooke of the Washington DC Football Team fame. You can see that as no expense was spared on the architecture, interior, equipment, or vines (all imported from France). I was happy to see that they label that they maintain a sustainable winery (I asked Mark, the manager on duty for more info on that) and believe in hand-picking and sorting the grapes. All good signs.
It’s quite a setup, that circular tasting bar. It seems to accommodate a decent number of people too. The snow was coming down and shifting to a rainy/sleety mess, but nonetheless a trio and couple also came in to taste or have a glass. We had a nice time going through the tasting menu and learning about the wines.
All the wine grapes are grown on the estate property, and they currently have 26 acres under cultivation. One of the tasting associates shared that they produce about 5000 cases per year, remaining just under the “boutique winery” production limit. Given that they have three satellite tasting room/wine bars, they probably need to maintain that level of production, and judging from the barrel and tank rooms, they can handle it.
We started with the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. This is my go-to white right now – even in winter. While Chenin Blanc stays my favorite white, the crisp acidity of this wine is just so pleasant. It had an herbal sense at the end of the citrus flavors that went across the tongue. Dad and I both loved this.
Their 2017 rose was made in the way I prefer my rose, short time on the skins, and rush it off to the tank. This one had all five Bordeaux varietals, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and a touch of petit verdot. It was a pleasant rose, but not right on a snow/sleet day. I could see it working in the summer.
We quickly moved into the red blends with the 2016 Trellis. Cab Franc dominated this blend by percentage, and by flavor, and this was a nice cab franc with a strong flavor. Unlike much of the less ripe Virginia cab franc, this tasted great and had been allowed to mellow and mature. This was a solid red blend, and a great value at $24.
The next blend was the Trellis 2015 blend. This vintage had more merlot in it, and that taste came through. Neither dad nor I liked it. I felt that tannin was much stronger in it, and felt that the domination of the merlot from this vintage was not a good thing.
The third blend was the 2016 Topiary. This was dominant with merlot, from the same vintage as the Trellis we favored, but it was smoother and subtler. It was like a higher evolved version of the Trellis with gorgeous dark fruit in it.
The final red blend was the 2015 Reserve. This wine was their gold medal winner in the Governor’s Cup this year. This was a beautifully soft and smooth red blend. It was so good, I decided to take a bottle home with me.
Dad I chose to sit and people watch and sip from a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc.
The manager and two tasting associates were super friendly and answered questions about the winery’s process, the 2018 harvest, and Virginia wine in general. It made for a really nice afternoon stop.
The alternating sleet/rain was getting heavier, so we decided to go – I grabbed a second sauvignon blanc and reserve to bring home, and gave dad the half bottle we were sharing to finish at home. I snapped a few fast pics of the beautiful property.
All in all, it’s a place I’ll visit again (and I’ll try to drag Wine Friend 1, because this is the style she usually likes…) – the wine is good and it’s convenient. When the weather is nice I’m fairly sure it will be great to sit outside and soak it in.
Have you been? What were your thoughts?