After living in Virginia Wine Country for a few years, it was time to document and share my visits to these wonderful wineries! For my first Touring & Tasting post, the selection was easy: Blue Valley Winery, located in Delaplane, Virginia, perched at the apex of a gravel-trailed hill in the northern section of Fauquier County.
With Virginia having over 250 wineries and counting, the array of tastings and tours can meet any personal preference, from small country vineyards to renovated colonial mansions to grand estate-like halls. Each trip through the countryside brings a multitude of possibilities. And Blue Valley is one of the most magnificent.
As you can see, the winery is a gorgeous stone, light-filled structure that is as welcoming as it is impressive. The facility can be seen from wineries on neighboring hills, and when it was under construction most people assumed it was a manse being built for some retired senator or CEO. Once the Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery sign went up at the fringe of the driveway, it did not take much coaxing to get folks to journey up.
If you are thinking this would be a great place for a wedding, you’re way off — it would be the perfect place. Who wouldn’t want to see what is on the other side of those doors? Well, allow me to show you.
The building is carved into large gathering rooms that could accommodate the largest of parties, but remain semi-private and cozy, with fireplaces aplenty and seating that invites you to buy a bottle and stay awhile.
The interior design is stunning, featuring repeated highlights of blue and gray, and clean design lines with concrete and stone abundantly used. And with all of the attention to detail of the building itself, you might wonder if this is simply a Ferrari with the engine of a Dodge Neon? Is the wine equally as impressive?
Answer? The wines are exceptional, with a few mandating an immediate purchase for the take-home! The $12 tasting included these eleven delicious wines:
Whites: 2013 Pinot Gris, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Viognier, 2014 Memories (White Blend), 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, and 2013 Heritage (White Blend);
Reds: 2014 Chambourcin Rosé, 2014 Merlot Rosé, 2013 Merlot, 2013 Sangiovese, and 2013 Cabernet Franc.
Our server, Candee, was sensational. Not only is she knowledgeable on the wines she is pouring, she possesses a full understanding of Blue Valley’s history, the details of the particular region, and a complete grasp of the terroir.
My particular favorite was the 2013 Pinot Gris, a sprightly wine with distinct notes of green apple and citrus. (Note: this particular wine won multiple Silver Medals). We had to get a bottle of this one to go! Also delightful was the Memories White Blend, a well-rounded, balanced white with notes of honey and pear. Both of these wines are ideal for warm summer days and relaxing with friends.
On the red side, I fell in love with Merlot Rosé, with its medium tannins and distinct flavors of sweet cherry and watermelon. Equally satisfying was the Merlot (also an award winner), which was heavier and rich with spice, earth, and subtle plum. This is a perfect fireside wine.
All in all, a wonderful selection of wines, with something for even your pickiest of pals!
So how does a “new winery” come to make such substantial wines? By doing it for generations. The Zissios family have a history of making wines in Greece, ultimately bringing that skill set to the United States. The property the Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery currently stands on was purchased two decades ago by the Zissios family, with the first vines placed in the soil ten years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting owner Stergio Zissios, who told me of his learning the art of winemaking with his father, and crafting his own wine at the age of thirteen. The tradition and heritage come out in the quality of their wines.
Stergio gave me a tour of the production facility, utilized for processing (crushing and fermenting) all of the grapes grown on the hills of this vineyard. Fully operational and clean as a whistle, the operation hums. It should be noted they are the largest winery in Fauquier County.
In case you needed one more reason to visit, well . . . I’ve got two.
First, after Stergio showed me the production end of the operation, he opened up the doors to The Cave. This room and this wine? I can’t think of a valid reason to leave. Ever.
The second reason? After you grab that glass of Chardonnay or bottle of Cabernet Franc, you must tour the grounds. The views are breathtaking and the air is pure.
And on your visit to Blue Valley, make sure you say hey to Jill, the Blue Valley wine dog. Just the sweetest little gal you will ever meet. You’ll want to take her home along with your bottle of Pinot Gris. Unfortunately, she’s gotta stay. Work to do, you know!
Next time you are in the DC/Northern Virginia area, take a ride out to Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery. Highly recommended!
Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery, located at 9402 Justice Lane, Delaplane, Virginia.
Want to tour another winery with me? Check out my full list of winery and vineyard visits!