April is Virginia Vineyard Month and as spring rolls in and the vines start to bud, it is the perfect time to visit Virginia wineries, take in the beautiful scenery and sip delicious local wine. We may be biased, but we think the best Virginia wine is grown right here in Loudoun County and with more than 40 wineries to choose from, you’re bound to find several wines you love! Whether you are a seasoned wine taster or newly discovering the flavors, understanding the grape varietals will make your experience fun and educational. As you visit your favorite Loudoun wineries this month, keep your eye out for some of Loudoun’s most popular grape varietals:
Chardonnay: A medium- to full-bodied dry white wine with fruit characters of citrus, apples, pear, or tropical fruits. When barrel-aged, characters of vanilla, butterscotch, and toasted oak are present. For an award-winning Chardonnay, try 868 Estate Vineyard.
Cabernet Franc: A medium-bodied red wine known for its spiciness and herbal characters. Flavors can include black pepper, cinnamon, currants, mint, and leather. Fun fact: the first vines ever planted at Zephaniah Farm Vineyard were Cab Franc and if you'd like to taste an award-winner, visit Fabbioli Cellars.
Cabernet Sauvignon: A tannic, medium- to full- bodied, dry red wine with complex flavors that present as currants, green olives, herbs, and bell peppers – with a hint of mint and leather. For a delicious Cab Sauv with a lingering finish, visit Breaux Vineyards.
Chambourcin: This French-American hybrid grape can give its wine a dark color but is surprisingly light in tasting. In fact, this wine makes many white-wine drinkers convert to red. Check out Greenhill Winery & Vineyards for a Chambourcin aged in French oak!
Merlot: A medium- to full-bodied dry wine with strong flavors in the front and a soft finish. Flavors can include black cherries, anise, blueberry and plum. To taste a medium-bodied Merlot, head to The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyard.
Norton: A native Virginia grape that is dark in color. Its fruity flavors may include plum and tart cherries. Visit Chrysalis Vineyards to taste several Norton wines.
Viognier: Condrieu, in the Northern Rhone Valley, is the home of the Viognier grape. Neglected there until recently, Viognier has found a happy home in the Old Dominion – especially Loudoun County. Sip a barrel-aged Viognier at Hunters Run Wine Barn.
We hope you get a chance to sip these varietals in Loudoun's wine country this month! To see a complete list of wineries in Loudoun County, click here and don't forget to share your memories with us by using #LoveLoudoun