Molon Lave Vineyards, with fifty acres of park-like land and vines, invites you for not merely a tasting, but an entire afternoon. Located in Warrenton, Virginia, the winery is easily accessible from the DC area, while offering a full dose of Fauquier County’s crisp air to refresh your soul. Molon Lave is Greek for “come and get them” and it is advice you should well consider. There are so many wonderful and unique features of this estate winery; let’s begin the journey.
I love wineries hidden behind knolls with winding gravel trails leading the way, like someone covering your eyes before giving you a special gift. I love to take it slow, watching the cloud of stone smoke climb behind me, the endless rows of maturing grapes pointing me toward the tasting room where I’ll sample the labors of years passed.
Molon Lave welcomes you this way, the path offering you a welcoming smile with its hand outstretched, manicured vines and rows as your guide.
As you reach the end of the front vineyard, the hands are removed from your eyes and the winery is revealed. Everything about Molon Lave is like a deep breath. From the rolling land leading to the winery to the tasting bars to the gathering rooms to the patios–calling them spacious would be an understatement, making a visit the ultimate getaway from the crowded city for an afternoon with unique wines.
The interior of the winery is rich with wood, stone, and soaring ceilings, successfully blending grand design with the coziness of a family room. A dual-sided fireplace provides winter warmth to both large seating areas.
Our wine educator, Leah, was one of the best. The daughter of winemaker Louizos Papadopoulos (and granddaughter of the winemaker for nearby Mediterranean Cellars), she grew up within the Greek-influenced winemaking culture. And only with living the lifestyle can you so deeply understand what goes into the bottle, from varietal to labor. And each of Molon Lave’s wines has a story to tell.
One of the unique aspects of Molon Lave Vineyards: They are the only Virginia winery to produce Kosher wines. While Louizos is not of the Jewish faith, he was inspired to craft these wines on behalf of Jewish friends, so they too could share a bottle together. When I think of how wine brings family and friends to a place of communing, the dedication and effort involved on the part of Louizos Papadopoulos makes that scene even warmer. A reminder that sometimes wine is not about how many cases you sell each year, but being able to enjoy a bottle with a loved one.
Currently, their 2013 Chardonnay and 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon are certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union.
The $8 tasting was an exceptional deal, including seven wines and complimentary cheese, crackers and chocolate. The following wines were included:
Whites: 2013 Chardonnay, 2013 Pinot Grigio;
Reds: 2013 Chambourcin, 2013 Merlot, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Kokineli, 2013 Ariadne (Port-style blend, 75% Chambourcin, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon).
I could highlight any of these wines, all special in their own right. But as always, I will call out may particular faves. The Chambourcin, aged 18 months in oak, had delightful floral and berry notes on the nose, and an even mix of clove, smoke and plum on the palate with a light cherry finish. Their Merlot, aged in French and American oak for a year, was one of the more approachable Virginia merlots I’ve tried, less smoky than expected and decidedly fruit forward, with berry notes from aroma to finish.
But most notable of all: Molon Lave’s Kokineli. You may be hard pressed to find a wine as unique across the state of Virginia. When Leah told me it had notes of rosemary, I raised an eyebrow. Molon Lave and Mediterranean Cellars are the only wineries in the United States to produce pine-resinated wines, whereby the pine is infused inside the barrel. The result is a traditional rose wine in the Greek style, moderately sweet with notes of not only rosemary, but sage and thyme, as well. Unexpectedly delightful and perfect for marrying to a pot of homemade marinara.
I purchased bottles of both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Kokineli, as well as a glass of Merlot for walking the grounds. But before we walk . . .
Have friends (or kids) that aren’t wine drinkers? Molon Lave offers olive oil tastings alongside their wine tastings. Ten different imported extra virgin olive oils from Greece, with a bowl of bread for dipping. With flavors ranging chipotle to blood orange, the tasting is a unique treat, making the visit here all the more special. I purchased a bottle of the basil-infused EVOO for home.
After the olive oil tasting, I took a quick peek into Molon Lave’s event room. Ready to go with racks of wine and bars, it is ideal for a wedding or event of your choosing.
Below the tasting room is the barrel room and production facility. Leah was gracious enough to take me on a tour of this pristine area to get a glimpse into their winemaking process.
One of my favorite things about visiting wineries is walking the layout of the land, seeing how they landscaped the acreage not covered in vines. Molon Lave offers vistas from almost every angle and patios that stretch like seaside horizons. Point in any direction and you can find a spot for a picnic. And your four-legged pal will enjoy a visit as well; the folks at Molon Lave will be happy to offer him or her a fresh bowl of water and an organic treat on the patio.
Take the winding walk from the rear patio and you’ll find yourself en route to the massive covered pavilion atop a small knoll, overlooking the pond.
The pavilion is great enough to cover dozens of people for a large event, and the patio outside is expansive enough for a band and copious amounts of dancing.
Of the fifty acres on site, seventeen are dedicated to growing twelve varietals. Currently, Molon Lave produces seven wines per year with a yield of about 300 cases per wine, with total output exceeding 2,000 cases per year.
Molon Lave is a must visit on your next Virginia wine tour–just make sure to carve a little extra time here to enjoy all the aspects that make this winery noteworthy!
Visit Molon Lave Vineyards, located at 10075 Lees Mill Road, Warrenton, Virginia.
Want to tour another winery with me? Check out my full list of winery and vineyard visits!