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Winery Wednesdays: A Peek at Virginia's Piedmont Region

It's my favorite day of the week...Winery Wednesdays!!!

Recently, Quentin, my friend Allison, and I took a day trip to three vineyards in Virginia's Piedmont Region. The Northern Piedmont Region ("piedmont" meaning "foot of the mountain") loosely forms a triangle between Washington D.C., Richmond, and Charlottesville.

We began our day at the breathtaking Linden Vineyards.

Guys, you won't find Linden Vineyards on your handy-dandy Virginia Wine Map. You won't see it listed on the road signs with other area wineries. Linden Vineyards sits tucked away, hidden in the foothills of the Virginia Blue Ridge- and that's just how they like it.

View from the balcony at Linden

I've heard a lot about Linden's winemaker Jim Law and really respect his dedication to creating great Virginia wine that reflects our state's unique terroir.

We tasted 5 wines: 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Riesling Vidal, 2015 Rose', 2014 Claret, and 2011 Petit Verdot. (Additionally, the lovely woman behind the bar gave us a complimentary taste of the nice of her!)

The Petit Verdot and Hardscrabble exhibited luscious red fruit and smooth on the nose with silky tannins rounding out the finish. Law is committed to crafting red wines that are on par with the best in the world, and I am excited to return on a weekend for the Reserve Cellar Tasting.

I ordered a glass of the Riesling Vidal (the standout white, in my opinion) while Allison veered from the tasting line-up to try the Late Harvest Vidal. In spite of temperatures pushing 100 degrees, we sat outside on the expansive deck. The panoramic views are incredible and the peace and solitude were only interrupted by the calls of birds and rustling of trees.

But seriously.

If you are looking for an idyllic, peaceful retreat, where the wines are thoughtfully crafted, you have come to the right place.

Linden Vineyards:

Open for Tastings: Friday- Monday, 11am-5pm (On Saturday and Sundays on Club Members are allowed use of the deck and grounds to sit and have a glass/bottle of wine. On Fridays and Mondays, anyone can do so.)

Tasting Fee: $7 for 5 wines, white and red

Reserve Cellar Tasting: Offered Saturday and Sunday, every hour on the hour from noon-4pm,

$25 fee

Address: 3708 Harrels Corner Rd Linden, VA 22642 (about 65 miles from D.C.)

Phone: 540.364.1997

The terrace at Linden

A little over 4 miles South is the relatively new Desert Rose Ranch and Winery, our second stop. Bob and Linda Claymier, originally from Oregon, relocated to the D.C. area when Bob took a position in the Federal Government. His job took them around the world and, when they returned to the area for good, they decided to move out to Hume, start a successful horse operation, and open a winery!

Desert Rose offers a few different tasting options- we decided to try all 10 wines for a very reasonable $10. I especially enjoyed the "Unhitched" Chardonnay (odd, because un-oaked Chardonnay's are almost never my thing!), "Covert Cab," and "Crimson Red."

The "Crimson Red" is made from the Crimson Cabernet grape. Never heard of it? There's a good reason! This grape is a brand new hybrid of Norton (a native Virginia grape) and Cabernet Sauvignon and is perfectly suited to Virginia's growing conditions. The result is a deep purple, brambly, slightly spicy blend with the best qualities Norton and Cabernet Sauvignon have to offer. Cool fact: Desert Rose was the first winery in Virginia to grow the Crimson Cabernet!

Desert Rose is family-friendly, dog-friendly, and Linda and Bob will make you feel like you're family!

Desert Rose Ranch and Winery

Open for Tastings: 7 days a week, noon-6pm

Tasting Fee: Varies. $10 for 10 wines (white, red, and dessert), $8 for 8 wines (white and red), or $5 for either 4 whites or 4 reds.

Address: 13726 Hume Road Hume, Virginia 22639

Phone: 540.635.3200

Quentin meeting Scout...sadly we did't get a picture of a most adorable 8-week old chocolate lab, Bella

We rounded out our day at Rappahannock Cellars- a mere 2 miles to the West.

in 1998, The Delmare Family sold a successful vineyard and winery in California to move to the burgeoning Piedmont Region of Virginia. The family, along with their 12 children, manage almost all of the inner-workings of the estate- from tending the vines to run the tasting room.

The tasting was $10 and, perhaps because of Quentin's adorable baby blues or perhaps because it was near the end of the day or perhaps because the gentleman behind the bar was beyond awesome, we tasted well over 8 delicious wines!

Rappahannock's reserve wines are sold to members only under a "Black Label." We tasted the Meritage and the Meritage Black Label side by! Both were great, but that Black Label Meritage was my pick of the day. I also really enjoyed the Vx2 (a perfect white porch wine!), The Chardonnay Black Label, and the very unique Solera.

View from Rappahannock's Porch

Rappahannock's vibe is somewhere between Desert Rose and Linden- Linden is a peaceful oasis. Desert Rose is like being down on the ranch with the family. Rappahannock feels like you're in a stately, mountain manor.

Rappahannock Cellars

Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 11:30am-5pm and until 6pm on Saturdays

Tasting Fee: $10

Address: 14437 Hume Road, Huntly, Virginia 22640

Phone: 540-635-9398

Hanging clusters at Linden Vineyards

This weekend get up a little earlier, pack your car or pick up the zip car, and head out to a winery. We could all use a beautiful, bucolic break from the city...and wine...don't forget the wine!

Tune in next week for another exciting edition of Winery Wednesday!

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