The Winery at La Grange blends old heritage and new vines as if it were a fine cuvée. Resting at the foothills of Bull Run Mountain, this winery takes a centuries-old legacy and brings a new world style to their wines–and wine experience!
Just a few minutes from I-66 in Haymarket, Virginia, you can feel the weight of DC’s metropolitan sprawl dissipate. From highway to gravel roads in mere moments, you’ll think you’ve come upon this winery via time machine.
Upon arrival, as you park near the base of the grounds, you can’t help but stare up the hill at the gorgeously restored colonial mansion which serves as the main tasting facility. Dating back to the 1790s (and 1830s for a later addition) the building is a classic example of Federal-period architecture. Wine or not, you’ll be anxious to get inside.
While the Winery at La Grange is filled with history and ghosts stories and folklore that will have you fascinated, perhaps the most curious thing is its approaching transition to an exclusive winery. In becoming the first ever private winery estate, La Grange is currently acquiring members and will close to the public at 2,500 members and cap membership at a maximum of 4,000. I found from speaking with Sales Manager Richard Beavers, based on current membership they are about one year or less away from becoming exclusive. Forget tennis and golf; this will be a country club whose theme is wine!
Entering the building, you find everything you would expect in a colonial mansion: aged wood floors, high ceilings, decorative archways. To the right, you are immediately presented with a generous U-shaped tasting area with a fireplace backdrop. It was here I was able to sample La Grange’s offerings.
Zach, our server, was a true gem. A warm gentleman with a Cajun accent, his depth of knowledge of wine both near and far was a genuine delight. I could have listened for hours. And there may be no better way to learn of La Grange’s history than to have Zach serve up the stories as he pours. One of the best historical tales involves a multitude of fireplaces and a public spanking! It’s worth the visit just to have Zach fill you in on this one.
But let’s not forget the wines. For most wineries, their 8-12 offerings are a range of whites and reds that ensure some will appeal to a wide range of palates. It is rare that I find almost the entire list a series of hits, but La Grange truly offered some sensational choices. The $13 lineup included:
Whites: 2014 Pinot Gris (Source grapes from Yakama Valley, WA), 2013 Chardonnay, 2014 Cuvée Blanc (Blend of Vidal Blanc, Chardonelle, and Traminette);
Reds: 2014 Rosé, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Harrison House Blend (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon), 2009 Tannat, 2014 Benoni Red; 2013 Zinfandel.
The entire array was a pleasure to consume, but I must highlight a few of my favorites. Within the whites, the Cuvée Blanc was a hit, a sweeter wine (even bottled in the classic blue type you find containing a Riesling) with floral notes from nose to finish and distinct peach, nectarine, and apricot on the palate. On the red side, the Benoni Red Blend demanded both a bottle for the take-home and a glass to enjoy while wandering the grounds. With dark berries on the nose and licorice on the palate, this rich wine was a treat.
Also of note was the Tannat. If you are unfamiliar with the Tannat (which happens to be the national grape of Uruguay) it is, as its name would imply, tannic. One of the driest reds I’ve tasted, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it, despite my affinity for fruit-forward lush wines. Incredibly earthy and smoky on the nose, you are hit with strong cherry and cranberry on the palate, with clove on the finish. Not to mention the Tannat is said to possess the highest level of antioxidant concentration of any varietal. Talk about health benefits! Grabbed a bottle of this one to go, as well!
After acquiring my glass of Benoni Red, we walked the halls of the home, filled from top to bottom with cozy sitting areas, a multitude of fireplaces, and special spots for you and your friends and family to enjoy a bottle.
As you exit the rear sunroom, a natural archway of 200-year-old English Boxwoods guides you toward the barrel room and production facility. You’ll feel compelled to stop for a picture. For any of you gardeners who have grown English Boxwoods, you very well know they take for-e-ver. Only boxwoods this old could be this large and dense. Gorgeous!
At the end of the walk, the cool, dark barrel room welcomes you past the glass doors.
Beyond the barrel room, the lush grounds invite you to take a stroll, and there is so much beauty to absorb. La Grange grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Manseng, and Petit Verdot on site, and sources grapes from other locations in Virginia and the West Coast. Their vineyards employ the Burgundy-style model for vine spacing (eight feet by four feet).
Whether you are planning an afternoon picnic, a small party, or a wedding, La Grange is the perfect fit, with the perfect wines to match!
Once you visit La Grange and do a tasting, you’ll find yourself grabbing a favorite bottle and finding a cozy spot under the shade of a hundred-year-old tree . . . where you will likely ponder becoming an exclusive member! Not to be missed!
The Winery at La Grange, located at 4970 Antioch Rd, Haymarket, Virginia.
Want to tour another winery with me? Check out my full list of winery and vineyard visits!