Owner(s): Claud and Shay McNeal Poulen
Open to Public
Fri-Sat 11 to 8; Sun 12 to 7; Mon-Thu 11 to 5
3180 Aspen Dale Lane; Delaplane, Virginia 20144
Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn Profile
Written by Brian May 27, 2014
n addition to wine, Northern Virginia is horse country and this is particularly evident as you drive the backroads of Fauquier County. Aspen Dale Winery embodies both regional aspects. In addition to winemaking, Aspen Dale is located on a historic fifty-acre working horse farm. The property contains an eighteenth-century manor house and the tasting room is housed inside a restored 200-year-old barn. It’s a beautiful property and one that compels guests to linger on the grounds.
Aspen Dale is a fairly recent small boutique winery that only came on the scene in 2009. Most of the grapes are locally sourced, but about the 1.5 acres of vines were planted in 2004. Despite the relative youth of the winery and tasting room, I’ve read and heard some very positive things from other wine writers. So I was excited to stop in and see what this winery was all about.
The winery is producing a range of well-crafted small batch wines and serving them in the tasting room. There were six wines being poured and the tasting is arranged as a food and wine pairing. A small plate of tasty morsels is provided and there one food item for each of the wines. My server was a college student and a part-time employee at Aspen Dale. As she poured, she did her best to explain each wine and point out which item was meant to be paired with the wine.
Only a handful of Virginia wineries are conducting tastings as a food and wine pairing and a couple more offer it as a tasting option. I’m a huge fan of this type of presentation, because I think it is an excellent educational tool. I applaud Aspen Dale for providing this experience to their visitors. I have, however, seen it done much better at other wineries. It requires a slightly more sophisticated or better trained staff member to pull off the tasting and I thought the presentation was lacking. I always agonize over a negative comment and this was honestly just a low point in what was otherwise a very nice visit.
On a much more positive note, the wines are excellent. I particularly enjoyed the Bridgetown, which is a Bordeaux-style blend, but the Rockawalkin’ 2009, was even better. This Cabernet Sauvignon was showing red fruit and a bit of oak on the nose. On the palate it had some earthy qualities that were laced with more of the fruit notes and little pepper in a finish that just went on and on. It was a beautiful wine.
Would I recommend Aspen Dale? Absolutely. The property alone is worth the visit and the wines are exceptional. There is frequently live music in the tasting room and plenty of space to linger inside and out. Add this one to your list.