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Drinkmuse: Paradise Springs Winery, Clifton Virginia

January 11, 2012

Credit to Ashe

This past weekend, due to a LivingSocial deal, Ashe and I had the chance to head to Paradise Springs Winery and go through their tasting menu. The winery is located right outside Clifton Virginia, a cute very small town (village?), and right next to a park, which makes it convenient if you want to do some hiking/nature watching around your wine tasting. It is a relatively new winery – I’m not sure how long the team has been making wine, but they have just this past year moved into their current building and winemaking facilities. It’s very well put together – nice photos on the wall, big glass wall allowing you to look into the barrel room, and surrounded by woods, with a large area for sitting outside and picnic benches. Previous to their move, they were gypsy-winemaking at a couple wineries in the area, including La Grange. The winery uses all Virginia grapes, but buys the majority of their grapes. They only have one planted at the winery, either Cab Sauvignon or Cab Franc… I can’t remember which.

Credit to Ashe

Our tasting was handled by Richard, who led tastings for one half of their tasting bar, the other handled by a woman whose name I didn’t catch. Richard was very good, knowing both his wines, as well as being able to talk intelligently about other wines, wine aging, and wine growing. Each leader had about 10 people (5 couples generally) per session. While we were there they were constantly busy. We got in and immediately tasted, but by the time we left there were lines waiting for tastings to begin – most likely due to the LivingSocial deal, which was in evidence everywhere. The deal was great by the way – two tastings, a cheese plate, and the glassware for 51% off. We are keeping an eye out for more winery deals.

Sorry for the lighting - I'm working on Iphone photography

Onto the wines: the tasting started with the 2010 Chardonnay, which was “aged in light french oak for 9 months Sur Lie”. The 2009 vintage won a governer’s cup for best white wine in VA. I was pleasantly surprised – the oak was tastable, but not overwhelming. They describe this wine as having apple characteristics – I got more lemon, to be honest. It was very smooth, nothing disjointed, very nice. I can see it being a regular and easy seller for them.

2010 Viognier – 100% Viognier, which is a classic Virginia grape. This delivers on the provided tasting note – I get lots of honeysuckle on the end. Aged for 8 months in french oak, this felt more oaky to me than the Chard… which means I didn’t like it as much, as I’m not a big oak fan.

2010 Petit Manseng – Love the nose on this, but the taste was a bit sweet than what I normally like. Surprisingly, this actually hit the spot, and I am not sure, but I was getting distinct citrus, but mostly orange, on the palate. Not a taste I am used to at all.

2010 Somment Blanc – Trying to be a German style blend. Was def sweet, too sweet for me (Has 34% Traminette and it showed). Nose was great, but taste just didn’t excite me.

2010 Nana’s Rose – A sweet rose, but not cloying like many american roses. Tasted less sweet as I got through the sample. Ashe loved this.

2010 Petit Verdot – The first of the reds, this was my favorite wine of the tasting. Distinct black fruit impression immediately upon tasting, with spice on the back end. Really really enjoyed this – not complex at all, but very easy to drink, and at $27, would buy a bottle to have around.

2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – 13 months in 1-4 year old oak barrels, this was supposed to be their big wine. I wasn’t getting heavy tannins (although Ashe gave me her tasting because it was too tannic). Lots of cherry on the palate, but that was about it for me.

2009 Meritage – Their blend of five Bourdeaux varietals. 10 months in american oak, the nose seemed closed to me, but this had some great fruit, and some testy tannins. Could see this evolving over time.

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