If you have an itch for a weekend wine getaway, now is the perfect time to hit the local wine trail. With Loudon County berries and peaches at peak, many wineries are showcasing some delicious dessert blends that will keep the taste of summer going well into fall.
Blue Ridge Blends
Grapes at Bluemont Vineyard
Bluemont Vineyard sign
We opted for the short drive to Loundon County to explore Bluemont Vineyard on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The view from the deck alone is worth the drive, but the custom blends with local fruits are just as exciting.
The fruit is still in the bottle — a great wine and a conversation piece. (Courtesy of Fabbioli Cellars)
What’s better than a wine made from pears?
A wine made from pears with a full piece of fruit in the bottle.
Just north of Leesburg, Va., Fabbioli Cellars has mastered the process of making pear-in-a-bottle wine, with great results.
The restaurant where the pairing magic happens. Photograph by Curious Grape.
…to put a little spice in your summer. The Curious Grape agrees, which is why the wine shop began taking its pairing suggestions seriously.
After the shop moved to its current location in Shirlington, the owners added a cafe and bar that serve food paired with their wine. And they’re not taking their job lightly.
Instead of typical wine and food pairings, the Curious Grape has tackled difficult food with complex tastes — things like artichokes and asparagus.
The Tasting Table has more information on which wines they paired. But your taste buds will also need convincing, and a visit to the shop isn’t hard on the wallet, either…
A red sangria with a merlot as a base and apple garnishes. Photograph from nh.gov.
Surprisingly, there are many different ways you can make summer cocktails with wines of all types — it doesn’t just have to be white wine.
Jessica Strelitz, wine writer extraordinaire, says to use fizz to your advantage. Prosecco can give a cocktail something extra automatically, while club soda adds zing to cocktails made from other wines.
While sangria may seem overdone, the key to making this classic summer drink fresh again is by changing up the fruit and wine mixture. You can even add a little spice to it. Cinnamon and apples pair nicely with reds. Berries settle into a blush wine with ease. And the festive-looking cocktail can easily be made in large quantities, making it the perfect drink for that little outdoor soiree you were thinking of having.
To get inspired by wine-based cocktails in the D.C. area, check out Strelitz’s piece in What’s On Tap.