Zoll brings a lot to the table, both proverbially and literally. Since I was spending the weekend in the area I had to opportunity to swing by and visit for the first time.
Owner Frank Zoll moved from Boston to Virginia in 2017 and opened his winery not long afterward. But Frank was a chef before he was a winemaker, and opened this winery to utilize both talents.
While not part of the Northern Neck / George Washington Birthplace AVA (which is just north of here) Zoll vineyards shares many of the same conditions, including a large number of frost-free days and sandy soils. Vinifera can grow here, although you have to be smart about what you plant. Right now they have 16 acres of vines in total including Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cab Franc, Pinot Grigio, Sauv Blanc, Albariño, and Traminette. They also grow their own fruit for their mead.
The tasting room is an old school building (they plan on holding events as well). I admit – drinking in a cafeteria that serves wine, cider and mead gave me giggles. I suppose if you ever wanted to tell people you had wine at school – this is your chance.
By far, the hardest part of my visit was…deciding what to eat! Savory and sweet options were available, as well as farm-to-table food and wine pairing options. I tried several dishes, but my favorites were the smoked salmon cream cheese pinwheel paired with rose, and the s’mores for desert. Heck, I’m pretty sure I could eat the s’mores by itself.
I ended up trying a good number of their wines, but only have notes for these:
Little Tart Fresh Apple Cider: The tartness lives up to its name
Hibiscus Sangria: Made with Chardonnay and hibiscus flowers (Frank called it a girly drink)
Cranberry Cider: Made with heirloom apples
Mariners Blend: “Tastes like Pecan Pie” is a great descriptor.
Cab Franc Reserve: Fruit and oak notes