My boyfriend was telling me about a little winery he passes by every day on his way home from work when he asked if I wanted to go one Sunday afternoon. We had just finished cooking lunch together after playing two football games earlier that morning, so I had to do a double take when he asked if I wanted to go check out a new winery, because this was normally that part of the afternoon when he took his third or fourth daily nap… ( 😉 jk!)
The closest winery to Washington DC, The Winery At Bull Run is one of Northern Virginia’s premiere vineyards that opened in Centreville late last year by a family from South Georgia. The Hickox family grows the Norton grape on their 21 acre farm adjacent to the historic Battlefield Park. You’ll find Civil War artifacts displayed inside the tasting room, and you’ll notice an old smokehouse a few yards away from the main building as you drive up towards the vineyard. What’s also special about TWABR is that they blend a bordeaux-style “American invention” called the “Meritage”–a provocative red wine from specific “noble” grape varieties with a name they pay the California Meritage Alliance every year to use. Currently, TWABR is one of 41 other wineries in Virginia to offer a Meritage wine, with other vineyards including Tarara, Fox Meadow and Rappahannock Cellars.
In addition to the main tasting rooms (one upstairs and one downstairs) is the heated patio, which is where my boyfriend and I spent most of our time. After doing the tasting ($12 pp for 9 wines) I finally met a glass of rose I didn’t want to put down (the 2011 Rose) and discovered a dessert wine I’d actually want to eat with sweets (2011 Fort). The 2011 Fort is a dangerously addicting dessert wine that enhances the taste of chocolate with a sweet tinge of smokiness that doesn’t pinch your cheeks like most other sweet dessert wines I’ve met. During the tasting, we were given a little disc of chocolate to pair with the Fort and were blown away by how the port-style Chambourcin wine (which is 17.5% alchohol, btw) could make chocolate taste even better. Unfortunately, due to the high alchohol content–they only sell it one glass per person!
Our other favorites were the smoky Meritage, the buttery Norton (which we ordered by the glass, pictured above) and the smooth Delaney (which we ordered a bottle of to go, pictured above).
Here’s to discovering more lovely local surprises. 🙂
The Winery At Bull Run; 15950 Lee Highway, Centreville VA, 20120; 703-815-2233; www.wineryatbullrun.com.