As a relatively young wine industry – 40 years this year! – Loudoun is not yet known for one grape or style, and our winemakers constantly innovate. As a result, a tasting tour of the county can be a trip around the world, trying everything from Austrian Grüner Veltliner to French-style Bordeaux, Italian Nebbiolo, Argentinean Malbec and much more, all within a few miles.

That said, there are certain wines that Loudoun is earning a world-class reputation for.


Here we pick the five varietals to try in Loudoun’s thriving wine scene.

Cabernet Franc

One of the Bordeaux blend staples, Cab Franc is probably the most abundantly grown grape in the county, cultivated at many of Loudoun’s 50+ wineries. Classy yet robust and versatile, it takes well to Loudoun terroir and can be enjoyed as a single varietal, in blends or Rosé style.


Bottles to try:

Fabbioli Cellars 2019 Cab Franc Reserve

Williams Gap 2021 Cabernet Franc

Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg 2022 Rosé of Cabernet Franc


Grown in southwest France and in Uruguay where it has become the national grape, Tannat is the up-and-comer on the Loudoun wine scene, gaining in depth and tradition. From big, bold blends to more subtle rosé, it’s a dark, intense, acid-driven red wine with ripe fruit and lingering tannins.


Bottle to try:

Walsh Family Wine 2020 Bethany Ridge Vineyard Tannat

Doukénie Winery 2020 Tannat

Hillsborough Winery Brewery Vineyard Serafina, a Provence-style rosé made from 100 percent Tannat


A rugged, earthy hybrid originating in Richmond in the early 19th Century when it was known as The Virginia Grape, Norton all but disappeared from the state in the 20th Century. Several Loudoun wineries are bringing it back; notably Chrysalis Vineyards at the Ag District, which has one of the largest plantings of Norton in the world. Its hardy fruit that can withstand most weather conditions produces a deep, juicy, fruit-forward red with a distinctive bouquet and finish. Good with bread and grilled meats.


Bottles to try:  

Chrysalis’ 2021 Locksley Reserve Norton

Casanel Vineyards & Winery 2020 N2 (Nelson’s Norton)

Petit Manseng

A once unheralded white wine varietal grown primarily in Southwest France, Petit Manseng has taken Loudoun by storm and wowed judges at the 2023 Loudoun Wine Awards. Hardy, acid-rich and high in sugar, it’s used a lot in blends but can also be a surprisingly balanced single varietal with notes of honeysuckle and sun-ripened apricots.


Bottle to try:

Zephaniah Farm Vineyard 2020 Late Harvest Petit Manseng (dessert wine.)

50 West Vineyards 2022 Petit Manseng 

868 Estate Vineyards 2022 Petit Manseng


This dry white varietal from northwest Spain and coastal Portugal (where it’s known as Alvarinho), knocks it out of the park in Loudoun’s limestone soils and sunlit slopes. A refreshing white wine from a green-skinned grape, at its best it has notes of apple, lemongrass and basil with hints of honey and citrus. Ideal on sunny days with cheese and pasta.


Bottle to try:

Bluemont Vineyards 2021 Albariño

Willowcroft Farm Vineyards 2021 Albariño Reserve

October One 2022 Albariño