Way back in October, my mother (aka “Mutti”) came to visit and we went to the Epicurience Wine Festival. We tried many wines from many Virginia wineries. To be honest, I probably tried too much wine 😉 But there was one winery that stuck out to my Mutti, and that was Zephaniah Farm Vineyards.
At that time, my parents were migratory. They spent the springs/summers/falls in Connecticut, in the house where I grew up. During the winter months, they would migrate down to Florida, and call to brag about the gorgeous weather they were having while I was suffering from Snowmageddon 1, Snowmageddon 2, and Snowzilla. While they were still migratory (as they now are permanent Florida citizens), Mutti kept talking about wanting to visit Zephaniah. When I visited for the Thanksgiving holiday, I was to bring a few bottles with me. I was told that I wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner if I didn’t bring the wine!
Now, I’m going to call my parents out on this, in hopes that it acts as peer pressure, but they don’t visit too often. If they do, it’s maybe on a weekday. When they lived in Connecticut, we maybe saw them for one night, usually a weeknight, while they were making their trip up or down I-95 on their way to/from Connecticut-Florida. So when Mutti keep saying that she wanted to come back and Zephaniah with me, I just smiled and nodded. “Sure, mom…”, not thinking she would ever visit long enough for us to go.
Well, lucky for me that both Mutti and my parents-in-law were visiting for a substantial amount of time when
Mr. Dr. Grape Pairings graduated from GW. Now was our chance to finally visit! Zephaniah Farm Vineyards, here we come!
Zephaniah is in Leesburg, about an hour or so drive from the DC area. It is a working farm own by the Hatch Family, and has been worked and owned by the family for generations. Zephaniah used to be a dairy farm, but now mostly raises beef and sheep. It became a winery when they planted their first grapes in 2002, so their vineyards are fairly new. The family takes an active role in their farm and wine, serving the wine, working in the fields, and selling their meat and wines at local Farmer’s Markets.
The Farmhouse where the tasting takes place is a gorgeous, 19th century brick farmhouse where the Hatch family still resides. The tastings are done in the living room of the house, which is decorated in early 20th century farmhouse decor. It make everything seem cozy, just like a bunch of friends getting together. You are not tasting the wines at a bar or standing at table, but rather sitting at the dining room table, or in an armchair by the fireplace. Rather than have one person giving you your tasting, Bonnie, Tremaine, or Bill, members of the Hatch Family, come by with whatever wine you are on, and engage in conversation with you about the wine, the farm, or about life in general. You are family when you are there!
Tastings are $10 and you are given a sample of six wines. Every seating area is provided a dish of chocolate chips to nosh on with the wine. The wines that were for tasting were:
- Reserve Viognier 2016. These wines were aged in their lees for 3 months. I honestly loved this wine so much that I forgot to write down any flavor notes. Oops! Mutti, my mother in law, and I ended up buying a bottle for us to enjoy after the tasting. We brought a picnic lunch with us, and the Viognier went amazingly with my roasted vegetables, cold chicken curry, and sweet potato.
- Steamship White 2015: A unique blend of 80% Chardonel (not a typo!), 10% Chardonnay, 6% Merlot, 2% Viognier, 2% Vermentino. This wine had an interesting creamy/dusty body to it, similar to many chardonnays. However, the flavors were that of mandarin orange, citrus, and herbs, which made it quite refreshing. There wasn’t much of an oaky/buttery taste, so if you are weary of buttery Chardonnay, this is both like and unlike Chardonnay in a good way. However, pair this like you would Chardonnay.
- Rosé 2015. This Rosé is a blend of Cab Franc and Chambourcin, so know that this will have some peppery flavors to it. It also had a gravely/dusty body, which I love in a wine. It had lots of watermelon and citrus flavors. While the body was light, the flavor was heavier than most Rosés, which gives it more pairing options. Pork tenderloin, burgers, or Teriyaki Glazed Salmon would go well.
- Cabernet Franc 2014. Zephaniah lets many of their wines ferment in Hungarian oak, as opposed to French or American, which adds a unique flavor. This Cab Franc was fermented in those Hungarian barrels, and produced a lovely, spicy aroma. The palate was more fruity, with strawberries and blackberries. It went down smooth, almost like a juice. With a very light body, this wine see
med similar to Pinot Noir.
- Three Captains Red 2013. 46% Cabernet Franc, 45%
Chambourcin, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of plum, cocoa,licorice, and pepper. It was both spicy and fruity, but medium in body. This could stand up to a chili or rack of lamb. This is a wine that you could enjoy by the fireplace, listening to some light jazz.
- Chambourcin 2014. This wine was what Bonnie called a “mandatory chocolate” wine, meaning that you could not drink this wine without chocolate. Good thing they had those chocolate chips out! She was right. The licorice and oak spice that the wine has complimented the chocolate very well. The wine on its own has bite to it, which I like in my reds, and make for excellent food pairings. I’m thinking a flank steak or Chicken Cacciatore. Of course, chocolate is also a excellent pairing!
Zephaniah Farm Vineyards is a gorgeous farm/vineyard that makes you feel at home. Mutti was so happy that she visited, and now, can’t stop talking about wanting to visit other Virginia wineries! While Zephaniah was smaller than most vineyards I have visited, I never felt like it was crowded. I like how we weren’t rushed, and could enjoy the wine at our own leisure. Picnics and dogs are allowed, but be warned that there aren’t a ton of picnic benches. We were the only picnickers when we went, so it wasn’t a problem.
The grounds are gorgeous and serene, and if you’d like a tour of them, farm and vineyard tours are given, though I don’t remember how frequently. Maybe hourly? There isn’t much in the way of food for sale, but they do have a menu of burgers and other meats that you can order. There is a separate barn for events, which is newly renovated and gorgeous on the inside. They are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12-5:30. For more information, visit their website, Facebook, or Twitter. Let me know if you go and what you thought!