Three Creeks Winery demonstrated that no matter how much I (think I) know, one can always be surprised. One day I checked my favorite wine app only to see a new red dot on the map; I scratched my head asking…what is this?!?
Turns out Three Creeks has been operating under the radar for a few years, only opening in late-June 2020. Owners P-J and John Lawrence loved wine so much they were already making their own as part of Vint Hill’s do-it-yourself program, mentored by Ashton Lough (now winemaker at Bull Run). I think they took the mantra ‘go big or go home’ a little too seriously, because they concluded that if making wine by the barrel was good, owing a winery would be even better.
With that in mind, they searched around the state until they found a 30-odd acre old farm just outside Leesburg, purchasing it in 2017. Not only is this a great area for grape vines, it’s surrounded by high quality neighbors (Casanel, Stone Tower, Zephaniah and others are less than 10 minutes away). With Ashton as the full time winemaker, they’re on a roll.
John gave me the full tour, including a ride to the vineyard. Two things stood out; the early 20th century barn, and the fact that three creeks converge here. John and P-J refurbished the ‘bank barn’ (so named because it’s set into the side of a hillside) to become their tasting room, while the creeks provided the name.
I loved the rustic charm of the tasting room, especially how they retained the original wooden floors. But the sitting area near one of the creeks seemed an equally great place to hang out (because of the water, no children are allowed on the property).
Right now they have 8 acres planted, with 2 more on the way. Nothing is producing yet, so for the time being Three Creeks is sourcing all their fruit from elsewhere. Hopefully by next year they’ll be able to produce their first batch of estate wine.
John explained to me the Rhône is his source of inspiration for wine, with Pinot being his all-time favorite varietal. In fact, Three Creeks offers both a GSM-blend (sourced from Oregon) and Pinot Noir to go along with their Virginia offerings.
First up were the whites from the 2018 vintage – which no doubt was the most challenging year of Virginia wine in recent memory. Despite that, Ashton did a great job. I especially liked the Chardonnay, which was accented but not overpowered by the French oak. The Viognier had some honeysuckle on the nose but it wasn’t ‘in your face’ like I sometimes find. This was a great start since if Ashton can do well with 2018 fruit, then he can make great wine with anything.
Next were the 2019 wines. The Rosé had the traditional salmon color you see in Provence-style wines. Although I’m usually not a fan of Vidal wines I really enjoyed theirs, which was crisp and had great apple notes. But my favorite of the day was their Petit Manseng, which I got a bottle of to take home. LOTS of citrus on the palate to the point you might think it had some sweetness, but it was totally dry.
Lastly came the reds. My favorite red was the 2018 Petit Verdot, which was soft, had bramble fruit notes and spread out on the palate nicely. I also liked the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and their Mélange red blend.
I can’t imagine a tougher year to start a business, but Three Creeks is off to an awesome start.