Wendy Van Diver
August 1, 2012 | Wine Country Travel | Wendy Van Diver

Touring Northern Virginia with First Lady Maureen McDonnell (part 3)

Me and Annette Boyd, Virginia Wine Board Director

(Photo Credit: Jay Paul Photography)

I had to shut my eyes on the bus after that wonderful lunch at The Ashby Inn in Paris, Virginia. By the time we reached Linden Vineyards, located on a mountain top in Linden, Virginia, I was refreshed and ready to sample the wines of the legendary Jim Law, who has played a part in Virginia’s wine industry since 1981. Jim ushered us out on a covered deck to taste his 2011 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc while he explained his winemaking philosophy. Some of us were beginning to wilt in the afternoon humidity and Jim was quick to invite us down to the cellar where the tasting continued. Jim loves Bordeaux and the varieties grow quite well here. He poured the 2009 Hardscrabble Chardonnay, 2010 Claret (fruity!), 2008 Hardscrabble Red, and a perfectly sweet and peachy 2006 Late Harvest Vidal. Jim admitted that he didn’t choose to work with Viognier (often considered Virginia’s signature white) because he doesn’t personally care for it.

The Linden Vineyards tasting room is beautifully designed, with expansive outdoor decks for lounging and drinking in the view. I met a neat group of four couples from Missouri who were on their third wine tasting excursion. They told me they’d used virginiawine.org to plan their trip and on the road, they were referring to a neat app: vawineinmypocket.com.

Wendy With Adam Zubowsky

Me with Adam Zubowsky

I had 15 minutes to refresh myself and my phone when I got back to Red Fox Inn. A special reception for the First Lady and her husband, Governor Bob McDonnell, was scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Salamander Resort & Spa and I didn’t want to miss a moment of it! The Salamander Resort & Spa won’t be open until August 2013, but its owner, billionaire and co-founder of the Black Entertainment Television network Sheila Johnson, made sure it was fit for a Governor—and the rest of us! I took a little tour of the floor plan and I could tell that it’s going to be a wonderful addition to Middleburg and the surrounding wine country. Besides Virginia ham and a tempting spread of finger foods, 16 wines were being poured by eight Virginia wineries. I sampled wines from Barrel Oak, Boxwood Winery, Breaux Vineyards, Chrysalis Vineyards, Fabbioli Cellars, Glen Manor Vineyards, Paradise Springs Winery, and Rappahannock Cellars. The Rappahannock Viognier, the Boxwood Rosé, the Paradise Springs Chardonnay, the Breaux Cab Franc, and the Chrysalis Norton really stood out for me. I enjoyed talking to several of the winemakers, and Chris Blosser who works side-by-side with his wife Jennifer at Breaux Vineyards.

Wendy tasting VA Viognier
Tasting Virginia Viognier

There were brief speeches by Sheila Johnson, Governor McDonnell, and Mrs. McDonnell and then I experienced a “small world” moment. It just so happens that an Ohio high school classmate of mine (Barb Oze Zubowsky)’s son, Adam Zubowsky, works for the governor and he was there. I got to meet him! Hard to believe we have kids who aren’t kids any more.

I was glad that I only had three blocks to drive back to Red Fox Inn, where my big, pillow-covered bed waited patiently.

 Miss out on Touring Northern Virginia with First Lady Maureen Mcdonnell Part 2? Follow along as I visit Delaplane Cellars and The Ashby Inn and Restaurant!



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