I’ve started this post over and over again. As I type, nothing seems appropriate for one of the most amazing wine experiences I have ever had. And that is just what it was…an experience. RdV Vineyards is dedicated not only making fabulous wine, but about making everyone have a memorable and enjoyable experience. In this post, I will not be telling you much about the wines, nor will I tell you much about what they would pair with. I would not do the wines justice if I did. What I will tell you, is about how RdV gives you a tour that you will remember for a lifetime.
RdV is located in Delaplane, Virginia, just under an hour’s drive from DC. Similar to many wineries in the area, you drive through the gorgeous hillsides and farmlands of Northern Virginia. However, that is where the similarities end between RdV and almost any other Virginia winery. When you arrive at the winery, you are stopped by a Beverley Hills styled gate. Only those with appointments may enter. The vineyard and modern Silo-styled building are majestically in the background.
After getting through the gate, parking your car, awing at the beauty of the site, and walking up the stone front steps, Connie, the guide, greets you with a glass of Rosé made from their Cabernet Sauvignon to sip on while you wait for the rest of the group. The way RdV sets up their tours is very different than most (if not all) Virginia wineries. If you have been to California, RdV’s tours are set up similarly. You must book an appointment and are grouped with other small groups of people. You then are taken on a guided tour of the vineyards, the barrel rooms, the “factory” rooms, and then are given a grand tasting at the end.
While we were waiting for the rest of the groups, I decided to be nosy and look around. The decor of the building was very modern. Floor to ceiling windows made everything bright and open. The artwork differed from wall to wall. An Andy Warhol-styled portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the founding father of wine, was hung on one wall. Chalk drawings were on another wall, and antlers on another. I sipped on the Rosé as I walked around, already impressed by not only the wine, but the place itself.
After waiting a few minutes, all of the groups joined together, and Connie had us take our Rosés outside to the vineyards. There were maybe 12 of us in the group. It was outside that Connie told us about the vineyards and how RdV got started. RdV grows only four varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. These four are part of a Bordeaux style Blend, which grow very well in this area of Virginia. RdV, named both after the man who started the vineyard, Rutger de Vink, but also the abbreviation for the word “Rendezvous”, focuses all of their efforts on these four grapes.
To be honest, there was so much more information that Connie told us. She told us about Rutger’s background and how he carefully studied and chose this land for his vineyard. She told us how and when the grapes were grown, pruned, and harvested. In fact, she went into great detail about all of these topics and so much more. However, I was still soaking it all in, taking pictures, and enjoying the perfect weather that we were having.
We were then taken on a tour of the rest of the building, which included a barrel cave-like tunnel, fermenting room, bottling room, blending lab, and cellar.
I picked up interesting facts from Connie here and there, such as the fact that members of the wine club can come help pick grapes during harvesting season (sign me up!). Barrels made only from the wood of specific trees in France are used to ferment the wines due to the flavor it imparts. A Master Sommelier and Master Wine Blender from Bordeaux scientifically blend the best of each harvest’s grapes to create the most superb wine possible.
Again, there was so much information that Connie gave, I could only take it in. I was amazed at each and every turn with all of the knowledge that I was given.
Finally, we ended up at the grand finale; the tasting. When we arrived in the tasting room, the tables were already set. The wine was poured and a board full of meat, cheese, pâté, bread, and pickles was in the center. Each of the four red wines in the tasting had a card on top of it with descriptions of how the wine tastes and how much longer it could age. Connie told us a bit about the wines, took pictures of each of the groups, and then left us to enjoy the food and wine.
RdV makes two labels that can be purchased on site: Lost Mountain and Rendezvous. They can be bought across a few different vintages. Lost Mountain is RdV’s signature blend. It can age for 10-20 more years, and is made with only the best selections of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a few other of the varietals grown on the property. Rendezvouz is made up of all four varietals (Merlot, Cab Sav, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot). This wine is easier to enjoy right away, or it can wait for a few years before opening. Other wines are made on the premise, but those are reserved for events, tastings, wine club members, and Ambassadors. All of the wines made are red.
RdV is a wine experience unlike any that I have had in Virginia. Not to take away from the there amazing wineries in the state, but this is extraordinary. Each “appointment” is $50 and includes a tour of both the grounds and the building, a tasting of four red wines, charcuterie tray, and a wonderful host in Connie. Connie truly made the experience personalized. She has had more lives than a cat, and is able to make connections with absolutely everyone. Her bubbly personality made the experience rather casual and familiar, rather than intimidating. To schedule a visit, go to RdV’s website to book a reservation. They are open Thursdays-Sundays. You can find more information about them on their website, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. As always, please let me know if you go!