Owner(s): Jason Murray and Sandy Gray-Murray
Winemaker: Jason Murray
Open to Public
Fri-Sun 11 to 5
Other times by appt.
1808 Leeds Manor Road; Delaplane, Virginia 20144
Arterra Wines Profile
Written by Brian—Jul 13, 2016
I stopped in at Arterra Wines back in February for their grand opening. I like to check in on these new wineries more frequently, because there is a high level of probability that things will change more quickly than with an older, established winery.
If you did not read my last Arterra writeup, I should provide a short orientation. Jason Murray and Sandy Gray-Murray own the winery and tasting space. Jason is the winemaker. Sandy is an artist with a very earth-oriented style. So the name Arterra means “art of the land.” It is a bit of a double entendre, since both Sandy’s art and Jason’s wine are art and products of the earth. The tasting room serves as both a place to sample Jason’s wine and a gallery to display Sandy’s art. The combination makes Arterra a destination unlike any other Virginia winery.
Eight acres of vines were planted just last May, so it will be years before we can taste any estate wines. When that time comes, we are in for something of a surprise. In addition to many of the typical varietals, Jason has planted Malbec, Petit Syrah, Chenin Blanc and Tannat. The current plan is to produce about 1200 cases per year and concentrate on the highest possible quality. If you taste the wines currently being poured, you will have every reason to expect amazing estate wines.
With the exception of the Riesling, which is sourced from the Finger Lakes, the other fruit is from Loudoun County. So you will taste primarily local Virginia wine. Jason pointed out that the wines I tasted on my previous visit were maturing very nicely, so I felt compelled to give them a try. Well, where wine tasting is concerned, it is not as if anyone ever needs to twist my arm. And he was right, of course. The wines were drinking very well and were markedly better than they were ten months earlier.
I concentrated exclusively on the reds and only tasted three. The Cabernet Franc is a little bigger than most Virginia examples, with great fruit and complexity. The Petit Verdot, I have to say, is simply amazing. I am frequently disappointed with single-varietal PV and I am of the opinion that it is often best as a blending varietal, but the Arterra PV is just over the top. It is big and full of dark fruit, of course, but everything about it was simply amazing. From nose to finish, it is a winner. And then there is the Tannat. Jason’s super power is all about making great Tannat. It is another big, inky wine, but has enough time in oak to tame the tannins. It is a beautifully constructed wine full of dark fruit and with plenty of aging potential. It is brilliance in a bottle. No exaggeration here. You have to try it.
So yeah. If you are serious about Virginia wine and you have not visited Arterra, you are missing out. This is one little gem, that will not remain a secret very long. So get over there sooner rather than later and when you do, let me know what you think.