This Sunday I found myself very close to Clifton Virginia and free of afternoon chores and took the opportunity to check out the new goods at Paradise Springs Winery. I had heard that the winery had released a Petit Verdot, Petit Mensing, and a sparkling Viognier which I hadn't sampled before, but the best surprise was discovering their weekend Harvest Tours. The tour costs $15 and are available twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. While sampling practically their entire portfolio, participants explore the historical log cabin, estate vineyard, crush pad, and barrel room. We started on the front porch of the tasting room with a glass of Sparkling Viognier. Considering this sparkler isn't available for tasting - tasting it was well worth the price of admission. Paradise Springs and Horton Vineyards have started a trend by fermenting Viognier via "Méthode Champenoise".
The tour then moved to the former tasting room located in the historic log cabin. While sampling the 2010 Chardonnay and Viognier, we learned how the cabin was renovated by Howard Richter, a protégé of the great Frank Lloyd Wright. Both wines seemed "oakier" than the 2009 versions - but were well received. In the basement tasting bar our host Richard poured the 2010 Petit Manseng, which was the driest of this varietal I have tasted in a while. Nice citrus aromas and flavors - this is a wine well worth trying. The tasting continued with a vertical of Sommet Blanc. The 2009 was produced from five grape varieties whereas the 2010 from three. As a consensus, we preferred the 2010 because it had a more floral aroma with less sugar.
Eventually we ventured out of the cabin into the estate to view the dormant grapes and start with the reds - the 2010 Petit Verdot and 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. I definitely preferred the Reserve CS, the wine had flavor, structure, and a finish; whereas the PV seemed a little one dimensional. Onto the crush pad - we sampled their super red - the 2009 Meritage composed of the five Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Like the Reserve CS, this wine had a balanced profile from head to tail.
We finished the tour in the barrel room - adjacent to the main tasting area. Over a glass of light Norton, we explored the barrels to identify the aging Chambourcin Port (in used Bowman whiskey barrels), Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and various other wines. Needless to say, the Harvest Tour was a lot of fun. We look forward to returning on a Friday night to sample more wine and listen to some live music. Cheers.