We had the opportunity late last month to attend the 3rd Annual Fauquier County Wine Tasting and Competition at the beautiful Airlie hotel in Warrenton, Virginia. It was a beautiful Spring-like February day, perfect for exploring the exquisite grounds of the hotel and, of course, tasting lots of wine.
We were graciously hosted by On Tap Magazine and provided round trip transportation from Reston Limo to and from the event. Luckily, Warrenton is a quick hour or so drive from the DC area, and the ride was nice and scenic. When we arrived, we couldn’t wait to dive in and try wines from the 15 participating wineries from Virginia’s Piedmont region.
I’m pretty familiar with wineries from Virginia’s Loudoun County, since we sometimes work at a winery in the area. I haven’t had as much opportunity to visit Fauquier County’s wineries, however, and was excited to meet with each one to learn more about them.
We got about an hour’s head start before the rest of the attendees arrived, which was a nice slow-paced way to kick off the day. I was immediately impressed by how well the event was organized. Several wine tasting events I’ve attended in the past had huge crowds, resulting in massively long lines and impersonal tastings. While we did occasionally have to wait toward the end of our tasting period, the lines were never unbearably long.
The Airlie prepared small bites to pair with each winery’s selections. There are some wines that truly taste better with food, so this was a really nice feature of the event. Plus, it’s always good not to go wine tasting with an empty stomach.
We were familiar with a couple of the wineries in attendance, namely Pearmund Cellars and Chateau O’Brien. As expected, these two offered some of our favorite wines of the day. But we were delighted to find several others offering delicious wines as well.
Each winery entered both a white and a red into the official competition, but many brought along an additional wine or two to introduce to attendees. A few of our favorites (in no particular order) included:
- Narmada 2011 Cabernet Franc
- Naked Mountain 2015 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
- Blue Valley Vineyards 2015 Estate Sauvignon Blanc (People’s Choice winner in the white wine category)
- Philip Carter 2014 Chardonnay
- Chateau O’Brien 2012 Limited Reserve Tannat (People’s Choice winner in the red wine category and overall Best in Show)
Beyond tasting, we had a great time talking to representatives from the different wineries and planning future visits to some of our favorites, along with several we hadn’t even heard of yet. If you’re a Virginia wine lover, and even if you’re not, keep this event on your radar next year. You might just find a new favorite winery!
We were provided complimentary entry to the Fauquier County Wine Tasting and Competition. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.