Molon Lave Vineyards Profile
Written by Brian—Apr 10, 2014
Driving east along State Route 211 from the Blue Ridge Mountains toward the Nation’s capitol, you will pass a large number of wineries clustered around the intersection of Rappahannock, Culpepper and Fauquier Counties. One of those wineries is Molon Lave Vineyards.
"Molon Lave” (come and take) was the defiant reply of King Leonidas to demands for Spartan surrender at the Battle of Thermopylae. It is in honor of this classical expression, that the winery was named. This is one of two (Mediterranean Cellars is the second) wineries owned by the Papadopoulos family, who used the famous phrase to highlight their Greek heritage.
The winery opened for business on the a fifty-acre Fauquier County property in 2009. The first grapes were planted in 2004. Today there are fourteen acres under vine and all of the Molon Lave wines are produced from estate-grown fruit.
I tasted ten wines during my visit. For the most part, the varietals used at Molon Lave are typical of other Virginia wineries. On the menu there was Viognier, Chardonnay, Petite Manseng, Chambourcin, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I found all of them to be well-crafted, excellent wines. There was, however, one little Greek twist. The Papadopoulos family is also growing Kokineli, which is being used to produce a Rosé. It’s worth visiting the winery just to taste this wine.
The tasting menu describes the 2010 Kokineli as “reminiscent in it’s flavor of Retsina.” If you’ve never tried Retsina, it’s an acquired taste. Retsina is made with pine resin and can be a bit overwhelming. I would not use that word to describe the Kokineli. It did have mild pine notes on the nose and palate, but I found it to be delightful and unlike anything you’ll taste elsewhere in the Commonwealth. It’s a complex wine with very distinct herbal qualities. This particular Rosé might be fine for sipping on a summer day, but it’s far more appropriate with food. It was by far my favorite of the tasting and one of the most exciting wines I’ve discovered in Virginia.
Sarah was pouring my wines and despite the fact that the entire staff was scrambling to deal with a larger than expected number of visitors, I thought she did a fabulous job. She talked with authority about each of the wines and took time to answer everyone’s questions. I thought the entire staff held up well under trying circumstances, remained focused and did everything in their power to provide an excellent customer experience.
I think there are many reasons to stop by Molon Lave, but the Kokineli is high on that list. I encourage you to explore all the wineries in the area, but this one is a particular standout.