Whenever I chat with people who have only been to one or two Virginia wineries, Bluemont is typically been among the ones they’ve visited. The reason is simple; with a view that allows you to see as far as the Washington Monument, Bluemont delivers a pretty amazing daytrip experience.
But focusing on the view alone is unfair. With 50 acres of vines and a production of 8-9,000 cases/year, Bluemont is one of the larger wineries in Loudoun. So a friend & I went on a wintery day to chat up winemaker Scott Spelbring for a closer look.
Things were slow when we arrived but it got busy quickly; even in cold weather it’s still a popular, family-friendly place so you need to grab a table early. In the summertime the outside patio fills up especially fast with people picnicking.
Speaking of food – this is one of the few wineries that has a kitchen. This time around I got a flatbread and the crab dip. But looking at the menu, it’s hard to go wrong on any option.
Eventually I met up with Scott, who explained Bluemont is more than a winery; it’s a group of businesses which also includes a farm, a brewery, and now a cidery. The property covers some 245 acres of land, from the farm at the bottom to vineyards waaaay up at 1300 feet. While I took plenty of pictures, I don’t think it’s fair to not post a summertime photo.
Scott has worked here since 2016. From what I can tell he’s changed the lineup away from sweeter wines and focused on more Bordeaux-varietals.
That said, Bluemont still has sweeter options available. They normally have two tasting options; a “Flagship” tasting focused on lighter, fruiter and/or sweeter wines, and the “Elevation” tasting that is more Bordeaux-grape focused. We ended up doing a mix of the two, plus a few new ones.
It’s hard to beat an experience where the winemaker is pouring and explaining his wines. That said, this day was a lesson learned about timing. Scott was actually holding back some of his best wines so he could meet the entrance quotas for the Virginia Governor’s Cup, still several months away. Sounds like a good excuse for a revisit!
What I tried:
Sparkling Rose: 100% Chambourcin; light and playful.
Merle (Rose): Made with Merlot; dry with strawberry notes.
2017 Merlot: Dark cherry notes, but spreads out nicely.
2016 Assent (Bordeaux blend): Second favorite of the lineup. Nice complexity, fruity nose. A shade on the lighter side of medium bodied.
2017 M3 (Merlot): Another Merlot, AND this one isn’t even properly labeled yet! Dark plumb notes, full mouthfeel. This was my favorite of the lineup and I can’t wait for it to go on sale.
2017 Petit Manseng: Apricot notes
“The Apple”: Apple wine that will satisfy sweet-wine drinkers.
Sorely missed was the Petit Verdot (entrant for the Governor’s Cup competition), and the Albariño (which is sold out).