[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ome of the region’s best wineries are right in our backyard. Just 25 miles from DC is Loudoun County, Virginia–home to 27 award-winning wineries and tasting rooms, more than any county in Virginia.
Since I couldn’t try all 27 wineries in a day without being harshly judged, I visited 3. The first being Corcoran Vineyards in Waterford. It’s the only winery/brewery in Loudoun County, with a cozy tasting room that’s a 1750 restored log cabin. There’s even a picnic area by a beautiful pond.
Monks BBQ serves Southern barbecue on-site every weekend and best of all, their barbecue sauces are made with Corcoran offerings, including Apple Wine, Slainte Stout and my favorite, Chipotle Raspberry Merlot. Mandatory must-try: 2010 USB Port ($25) Aged in whiskey barrels, it is dark, sweet with black cherries and chocolate.
In Purcellville, Hillsborough Vineyards‘ sunny tasting room with expansive patio and koi ponds is a relaxing retreat from which to enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They offer a Wine Club deal that’s a steal, with a commitment of only one wine a month. I have more trouble committing to a long-distance carrier. Mandatory must-try: 2010 Moonstone Late Harvest Viognier ($22) Full-bodied yet light, sweet, perfect for dessert or rich cheeses.
Also in Purcellville, Sunset Hills Vineyard is housed in a historic Amish barn that is enormous, lofty yet warm. A charming stone pavilion overlooks breathtaking views of mountains and pastoral, old-world style farm grounds. A wrap-around bar inside the restored barn provides plenty of elbow room for sipping wine. Mandatory must-try: The 2010 Sunset White ($22) Clean, creamy and luscious, it’s great with spicy foods like Thai and Indian.
Be warned. There’s a lot of wine to taste, so grab a designated driver and make a day trip out of it. Or better yet, find accommodations and stay the weekend.