I had a nice outing last week – I went to Oak Crest Winery right here in King George County.
Those of you who’ve read my blog from the beginning know that there was once a time when I did winery tours and tastings at a local winery. (Different one.) Since then, I’d sort of lost contact with the local wine scene, but since I’m continuing my Passatonnack Winery series, I figured it was time to reconnect.
So I visited Oak Crest. It’s a beautiful vineyard, with a gift shop and tasting room.
Back when I was doing wine tastings, it seemed that the thing among mid-Atlantic wineries was to try to out-French the French. The grapes were French, the style was French, the oak was French. But these days, wineries seem more willing to branch out beyond the French varietals. Oak Crest does the French varietals, but is also doing wonderful things with a grape called Symphony, a hybrid created by Dr. Harold Olmo in 1948.
Oak Crest makes a sweet Symphony dessert style wine, and also a semi-sweet called Moonlight Sonata, which is my new favorite. It had been the thing back in My Day to consider that the only good wines were dry wines; I tried to ‘educate my palate’, but have to admit that I’ve always preferred a bit of sweetness to my wine. I was happy to hear that sweeter wines are becoming more popular.
How about a hot wine? Not mulled wine, but spicy wine? I’d never heard of a hot wine, but I tried Hot Jazz, a Symphony wine with a hint of jalapeno. Sound crazy? It’s amazingly good. At first sniff, you expect some real fire, but the taste is awesome; the level of heat is just right for sipping.
And for a red, try Cannon Ridge, with just a touch of sweetness.
I picked up some brochures at the gift shop and discovered that there are a lot more wineries around here than there were fifteen years ago. So I’ll be doing some exploring.
If you’re visiting the Northern Neck, don’t miss Oak Crest Winery.