A revisit to Fox Meadow had been on my radar for a bit, but good fortune allowed me to get there sooner than I anticipated. Not only were they participating at a high-tier wine tasting at L’auberge Provencale, owners Cheryl and Dan Mortland were the ones pouring. Needless to say I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to schmooze, and an appointment was set for the next morning.
As you drive in the first thing you notice is the scenery. Located around 1700 feet on the Blue Ridge Mountains, it has one of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen in the state. I’ve admired it so much that when I set up this blog, I even made it my site’s profile picture. The view is just THAT good.
When I arrived Dan was seated at a table near one of the windows, busily typing away. I’m not sure how he was able to get any work done since if it was me, I’d have just sat there all day and enjoyed the fall colors. Nevertheless, he greeted me and gave the background on their operation.
Wine making is definitely in the family’s blood; Dan proudly showed me a certificate on the wall detailing how the family was now in its 8th generation in the wine business, with roots going back to Germany. Today, his son Bob manages the business while Tom Payette, a well-known east coast consultant, is the wine maker.
As they say in real estate – it’s all about LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. I suppose that’s always true, but it’s doubly accurate for vineyards. Fox Meadow produces around 3000 cases/year (mostly estate fruit) using 12.5 acres under vine. Most of the vineyard is composed of French varietals, although they have some Pinto Grigio and Vidal as well. Sadly their Riesling will soon be a thing of the past, as it doesn’t grow well enough to warrant keeping it.
After chit-chatting about the vineyard we delved into the wines. Here, wines are paired with a tiny bite of food to bring out the more subtle flavors of both. My favorite was the Amish cheddar, which accentuated the creaminess of the Chardonnay it was paired with. It’s a nice touch that only a handful of Virginia wineries do.
What I tried:
2018 Pinot Grigio: Bright, with nectar notes. Paired with a Tuscan cheddar which softened the finish.
2018 Chardonnay, made in new-ish French oak. Although 2018 was a horribly wet year this came out very nicely.
2017 Riesling: Made in a semi-sweet style with notes of citrus and flowers.
2017 Chambourcin: Made in American Oak. Full bodied and had a big mouthfeel. Pomegranate notes.
2018 Sunset: Not sure what the grapes were, but I think it was a blend. Reminded me of fruit punch.
2017 Merlot: Not part of the main tasting – but I had an opportunity taste it the night before and I kept going back for refills. A few glasses made the price of admission to an otherwise pricy event well worth it.
We polished off the tasting with a dry rose which had an amazing cherry color.
Dan finished my visit with a visit to the barrel room and bottling line. They had only recently harvested and the wines were just beginning their multi-month fermentation process; periodically we’d hear a ‘glug glug glug’ from the barrels. I was heartened to hear the 2019 growing season was especially awesome here, perhaps the best they’ve ever had in the 14 years they’ve been making wine. While these wines will take another 2-3 years before they’ll be behind the tasting counter, I’m planning on returning a lot sooner than that.