Wine & Spirits: Lansdowne Resort

Tastings, tours and more await curious oenophiles in DC’s Wine Country.
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Top off a day of Virginia wine tasting with drinks and dinner at Lansdowne Resort.

In case you haven’t heard, October is officially Virginia Wine Month. Time to head out to the countryside, and brush up on your tasting of heady, aromatic Viognier and the spicy, berry-noted Cabernet Franc (two varietals that have been emerging as at the state’s rising stars).

And what better place for home base of a weekend of swirling, sniffing and sipping than Lansdowne Resort (44050 Woodridge Parkway, Lansdowne, VA, 703.729.8400)? This hotel and resort is smack dab in the middle of Loudoun County, an area that has recently been christened as “DC’s Wine Country.” Loudoun boasts twenty-seven wineries and tasting rooms (including a few of my favorites,) and a sojourn at Lansdowne will put you within a short drive of many of them.

To get you into a spirited mood this season, this fall the resort has added two Virginia wine packages. The Loudoun Fine Wine Package highlights the hotel’s partnership with six area wineries: Tarara Winery, Sunset Hills Vineyard, Fabbioli Cellars, Corcoran Vineyards, Breaux Vineyards and Doukénie Winery—all located twenty miles or less from the property. The one- to three- night package starts at $229/night (double occupancy), and includes:

  • Deluxe overnight accommodations
  • Buffet breakfast for two at Riverside Hearth
  • Self-guided winery tour with two complimentary wine tastings at your choice of any two participating wineries
  • $25 gift certificate to be used at the tasting room of your choice
  • 50% off a bottle of Loudoun County wine with the purchase of dinner at Lansdowne’s On the Potomac restaurant

You can’t go wrong visit any of the wineries, but if you are short on time, then I recommend headed to Fabbioli

Cellars outside Leesburg to taste ’s flagship wine, the 2009 Tre Sorelle ($28/bottle). This Bordeaux blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petite Verdot is complex and concentrated, with red and dark berries, spice and grippy tannins. And forget what you’ve heard about fruit wines being cloyingly sweet; grab a glass of his Raspberry Merlot ($22) from berries grown on his farm. It’s surprisingly tart and easy to drink—perfect with dark chocolate or berry desserts (or, skip the plate entirely and savor a glass as liquid dessert.)

Jim and will certainly roll out the red carpet for you at Corcoran Vineyards in Waterford. Their 2009 Cabernet Franc is a great example of what this grape is capable of in Virginia. It’s got black cherry, a hint of black pepper and approachable tannins.

Finally, if you have been graced with one of those crisp, sunny fall days, buy a bottle of Tarara Winery’s Viognier, sit on their expansive patio and soak it in. If you are lucky, winemaker will be on hand to explain the process involved in making this popular winery’s offerings. He is both a wealth of viticulture and viniculture, and affable to boot.

If you crave crave more of a luxury experience with your Bordeaux blends, Lansdowne also offers a second package this fall, the Shared Wines and Treasured Times package. Starting at $799/night, it includes:

  • Deluxe overnight accommodations
  • Valet parking
  • Special wine amenity upon check-in, including a tote bag, touring maps, snack and more to enjoy
  • Private car and driver to enjoy tastings at up to three wineries per day
  • Buffet breakfast for two at Riverside Hearth
  • Dinner for two at On the Potomac restaurant

No matter which package you select, or even if you simply choose to come out for a day of wine tasting and cap it off with dinner at Landsdowne, I have always been incredibly impressed with the culinary team at their restaurant On the Potomac. Chef selects the freshes, seasonal local ingredients, and under his deft hands uses them in dishes that are both creative, and true to the region.

For more information and reservations, check out www.lansdowneresort.com.

Sample On the Potomac Chef Wes Rosati's innovative cuisine, like a tasting of local fall squash.

Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on www.twitter.com/kmagyarics.

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