Saturday, July 21, 2012

Civil War & Wine at The Winery at Bull Run











Last week I visited northern Virginia's newest winery, The Winery at Bull Run, located adjacent to the Manassas National Battlefield Park. And this proximity to the park is what would draw history buffs as well as wine lovers to Centreville. The winery is located on the former Hillwood estate with ruins of the former mansion used as a patio. Parts of the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) were near the Hillwood estate - most notably at the Stone Bridge - also adjacent to the winery and the southern part of the Park. With that in mind, proprietor Jon Hickox exhibits Civil War relics within the winery - some collected from the property and others donated by collectors. He also placed markers throughout the property describing the mansion and what the battlefield looked like from that location. The museum and markers are reason enough to visit this infant winery.

As for the wines, their portfolio is produced using the Pearmund empire where the wines are made at either Pearmund Cellars, the Winery at La Grange, or Vint Hill Craft Winery. They are growing small amounts of Norton on the estate and source fruit from vineyards across Virginia. To their credit, the tasting sheets include the  vineyard information. (I wish more wineries would follow this example.) For reds they offer a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Meritage, and Norton; for whites, a Chardonnay, Viognier, a merlot based Rosé, and the "Delaney" - a blend of 40% Traminette, 30% Vidal Blanc, 20% Viognier, & 10% Riesling. Plus the "Fort", a Chambourcin port-styled dessert wine. For my tastes, the wines were okay. The chardonnay was typical Pearmund - more on the oaky side; the Viognier, oddly off-dry. The Delaney blend was spot on for those grapes as was the Norton, not over-acidic and jammy.  These wines are pricey - you pay for the Pearmund winemakers and location: high 20s to $32 for the reds; $24-$27 for the whites; and $38 for the Fort. For me too expensive for everyday consumption but worth a bottle when soaking up the Civil War history.
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