Paradise Springs is one of my favorite wineries to visit in Northern Virginia (Clifton, to be exact). When I am in the mood for good wine but not in the mood to drive, Paradise Springs is my answer. Not only is it close to DC (it’s actually the closest winery to DC), but the wines are delicious. Every single wine on the tasting menu is full and flavorful.
Dr. GP and I visited Paradise Springs after going to Burke Lake Park for a bird walk. I tell ya, I felt like I needed a glass of wine after visiting this place! After trying to dodge countless runners, bikers, strollers, dogs, all along a narrow sidewalk, I was stressed out! While the lake was beautiful and Dr. GP saw many birds (Bald Eagle, Eastern Peewee, Green and Blue Herons, to name a few…), going to Burke Lake Park on one of the last gorgeous Sunday mornings of summer was a bad idea. It was so crowded! Dr. GP and I had to walk single file a lot of the time, making it hard to have a conversation. I was happy to be going to a winery after.
Just four short miles away from the lake was Paradise Springs Winery. It is tucked away among a windy road and gorgeous homes that I could only dream to one day afford. Paradise appears as if out of nowhere, as the windy road gives no indication that a winery would be around one of the bends.
After you drive in and make your way to the tasting room, you are greeted by the staff of Paradise Springs. I almost felt like it was Moe’s, as the familiar, “Welcome to Paradise!” is what a few of the staff members said upon entering. It was very welcoming!
Erin, with a big smile on her face, called us over, as she just finished with a group and was ready for Dr. GP and me. She gave us tasting menus and brought out a fresh bowl of my favorite wine tasting crackers. Erin was very knowledgable not only about what Paradise Springs has to offer, but about wine in general. She made small talk in between tastes, making it seem like we were drinking wine with a friend. A tasting is $15 and includes 7 wines. There are additional tastings of Paradise’s reserved wines, which you can each sample for a small fee. Whether you choose this option or not, all of the wines are delicious. They include:
- 2015 Chardonnay: This wine tastes of baked Granny Smith apples on toasted brioche bread. It made me think of baking apple pie on a cold day. This chardonnay spent some time in a French Oak barrel, so while there were oak flavorings, it wasn’t the heavy, buttery oak like a California Chardonnay. This is the perfect white wine to transition into the fall.
- 2015 Viognier: This bright yet full bodied wine had a lot of peach and melon flavors. I kept envisioning a grilled chicken with mango salsa to go with it. The wine had great acidity which would hold up to a red onion or jalapeño from the mango salsa.
- 2015 Sommet Blanc: 90% Vidal Blanc, 10% Traminette. This was one of Dr. GP’s favorite wines, since it was the sweetest white on the tasting menu. This wine was very tropical, with a lot of pineapple and passion fruit. This is definitely a poolside wine. It would go well with spicy curries or stuffed poblanos.
- 2015 Cabernet Franc. Just like most Cab Franc’s, the nose on this wine is very fruit forward, full of cranberry, plum, and blueberry, with tastes of spice, leather, and tobacco. The wine was medium bodied, and I would imagine would be good chilled. It had some tannin at the end, making for a long finish. A roast chicken or balsamic pork would be a great pair!
- 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Without sounding crass, this wine had such a nice body! Not too heavy, not too light. Blackberry jam and spice were apparent in the smell as the glass was swirled. On the palate, more jam, spice, and vanilla came through. This wine was meant for a beef stew.
- 2013 Meritage. While all of Paradise’s wines are wonderful, it was no wonder this one won gold at the VA Governor’s cup. This wine was layer upon layer of flavor. With smells of baking spices and tastes of red berries and vanilla, Paradise’s Meritage has a little bit of something for everyone.
- 2012 Tannat. This was one of the reserved fine wines that I sampled. I love a good tannat. They are big, bold, red wines. This one smelled of leather, tobacco, and black fruits. When you smell it, you know the taste is going to be bold, which it was. Dr. GP called it “mouthpuckering, yet juicy.” This wine needs a big food to stand up to it, like a roast. I loved it!
- Late Harvest Vidal Blanc. This is a white dessert wine. It tasted of baked apples, honey, and graham crackers. For me, it was a little too sweet on it’s own, but with a cheese plate or some vanilla ice cream, would be just lovely!
Paradise Springs is such a relaxing venue for a winery. There is a wide open lawn where you can picnic, play a game of catch, or walk around with a glass of wine. Paradise is one of the last wineries in the area that allows you to bring your own food (in designated areas, of course). Many people choose to do so and enjoyed a picnic lunch with a bottle or two of wine. Dogs are welcome, so long as they stay on a leash.
Dr. GP and I were able to snag a picnic table and relax. Everywhere I looked, people were enjoying family time. Kids were playing tag, a game of frisbee was going on, and one couple was walking their dog along the perimeter. I ended up enjoying a glass of Cabernet Franc, laying down on the picnic bench and looking at cloud shapes. Dr. GP kept birding. Total relaxation…