Hiddencroft is about as ‘authentic’ as it gets when it comes to farm wineries. Owners Clyde and Terry Housel are nearly always in the tasting room (at least when he’s not tending to the vineyard) and often have corn bread or another snack on hand as a treat. So hospitality – check. It’s set in an old farm that dates back to the mid-19th century, so rustic charm – check. Their 6 acres of vines produce 90% of their wines (they have apples, blackberries & cherries too), making them mostly estate. So ‘authenticity’- check; the trifecta is complete.
Clyde’s philosophy is “no wine before its time”. One of the qualities that defines his wines is how long he lets them age; anywhere from 22 months to 42 months. One of my favorites was his (now sold out) 2009 Merlot, which was available for purchase until very recently. I mean seriously; where else can you find a wine that is nearly 10 years old in Virginia? I’m happy to find places serving wines that are 3 years behind the current date. But here – for the reds think 4 or 5 years, and even older wines are available by the bottle.
History is another defining feature here. Hiddencroft has seasonal history tours of the farm, taking you to the renovated spring house, summer kitchen, and curing house, with storytelling and wine/food pairings at each stop. Even while I was visiting, the family of the previous owners came by and were telling stories about how they would visit the place years ago. If you’re lucky Clyde will bring out the old farm ledger that goes back to 1875, or show you the sketch of the original property boundaries.
Clyde says he’s a self taught wine maker. You could fool me though; there’s nothing ‘amateur’ about what he makes. Hiddencroft produces 1,500 cases/year and grows a number of varietals. But in addition to making mostly off dry or dry wines they have a large assortment of fruit wines. Before anybody scoffs at fruit wines try these first because DANG…these are really good!
What I tried:
2017 Cabernet Franc Rose: Very light, which surprised me coming from this grape
2017 Chambourcin Rose: Lots of zing, with watermelon notes
2016 Chardonnay: Made in steel and oak
2017 Traminette: Reminded me of drinking flowers
Dutchman’s Creek (NV): Great nose, big mouthfeel, fruity; simply amazing
2014 Chambourcin Reserve: 4 years in barrel. Big and bold for a Chambourcin but not a fruit bomb.
2014 Cabernet Franc: Very smooth, not spicy, and lighter than I expected
2015 Petit Verdot: 3 years in barrel. I would have expected this to be bold but it wasn’t; in fact it was downright fruity.
2012 Tannat: Very different from other Tannats I’ve had lately but loved it. Expresso notes, f ull bodied
Blackberry wine: 2/3 blackberry and 1/3 Chambourcin; great combo that I never would have expected, and one of the best of the lineup
Vitus Rubus: Lots of fruit! Raspberry/Chambourcin blend
Persephone’s Punch: 100% blueberry wine, very intense.
Not tried today but old favorites of mine are the amazing cherry wine and “Grandma’s Love Potion”, which is a blueberry wine made into a port-style.