We had an opportunity this past weekend to do some wine tasting with a few friends and decided upon the Middleburg AVA. We are making a habit to revisit some of our favorite wineries from the past in order to check out their current tasting menus and to make sure we are keeping our readers informed of the latest and greatest in Virginia Wine! We hopped in the car and made our way out west to our first, and favorite Middleburg destination, Greenhill Winery & Vineyards.
It was a beautiful winter day, sunny and bright with a chill in the air but just perfect for an afternoon in Virginia wine & horse country. The town of Middleburg is located out Route 50 past the growing communities of South Riding and Aldie, and makes for a great weekend getaway. Coming from the city you’ll reach Greenhill Winery & Vineyards before you get to the town, but we highly recommend stopping by for a stroll along the historic streets or a bite to eat following your tasting.
Prior to David Greenhill acquiring the property in 2013, the winery had been known as Swedenburg Winery. We visited Swedenburg a few years ago but have to say that the new ownership of Greenhill has brought some amazing changes to both the tasting room and the wine. Driving up the road toward the tasting room you’ll set your eyes on a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounded by vines and the charm of the Virginia countryside. It’s really hard to imagine a more picturesque setting than this 128 acre property. They currently have over 11 acres of vines on the property and are increasing their acreage to include additional plantings of Chardonnay, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Viognier. Amazingly enough and quite unique to the Northern Virginia wineries, Greenhill is currently only out-sourcing one of their grapes to make the Syrah. All other grapes are grown on Greenhill property, or on their other vineyard, Naked Valley in Amherst.
Walking in to the tasting room we admired the finely appointed decor, simple elegance, and classically understated ambience. The tasting room, although small, feels open and airy and is filled with natural light from the back wall of windows overlooking the patio and grounds. The bar is a welcoming “L” shaped structure with ample wine education staff to provide an informative and enjoyable tasting. We cozied up to the tasting bar and we’re immediately impressed by our wine educator’s knowledge and passion for wine. As we spoke to him more we realized not only does he know his Virginia wines, but as a sommelier we were enthralled by his experiences and eager to hear about his experiences throughout the world. He was detailed in his explanations, yet relatable, and he capped off the phenomenal wine education with his light-hearted sense of humor. It was one of our best tastings recently and we would highly recommend a visit.
Greenhill is making some fine wines to accompany the beautiful tasting room. The wine-maker Sebastien Marquet, of French origin, is producing some interesting blends and a sparkling Blanc de Blanc that’s delicious. The wines that are featured on Greenhill’s current tasting sheet are:
- Blanc de Blancs: Make of 100% Virginia Chardonnay and produced in the French-style method of traditional Champagnes, the Blanc de Blanc is our favorite. The light and crisp acidity, and grapefruit flavors make this enjoyable for any time of the year!
- Viognier: Not huge fans of most Viognier we found this one to be a tad too floral for our palates. Stainless steel fermented, the fruity and floral notes were too much for us.
- Chardonnay: Produced in the traditional Burgundy method, this Chardonnay was aged in 11 months of French oak. Lightly buttery and refreshing.
- Syrah: Their only grape being out-sourced, the Syrah is flavorful with complexity. Flavors of berries, currant and chocolate create a smokey and elegant finish.
- Superstition: Consisting of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Tannat, the Superstition has lots of tannins and a spicy tarty flavor of cherries and berries.
- Philosophy: A Bordeaux blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cab Franc, this was our favorite red blend. Aged for 2 years, there are strong tannins and lots of structure.
Next time you’re thinking of a winery adventure head out to Middleburg and stop by Greenhill Winery & Vineyards! You won’t be disappointed!