Finally getting around to writing this up. Last Commonwealth post for a while, promise. Our Ashby Inn dinner was preceded by an afternoon in Virginia wine country:
Hume (5396 Washwright Road, Hume) — newish, nice rustic space, cool two-piece label, funny tasting notes, enthusiastic and knowledgable folks behind the bar. We weren’t crazy about the Chambourcin, but was it the grape or just their version? Detour (85 cab/15 merlot) was pretty good, but the Seyval Blanc — “sharp as a Japanese blade” say Hume’s notes — was my favorite. All in all, a great start for these guys.
Beware the Agritourist Trap!
Desert Rose (13726 Hume Road, Hume)– even newer than Hume, it was their grand opening weekend, full of mostly friends and neighbors, we just stumbled upon it thanks to a referral from Hume. Fun Western kitsch decorations, especially the spacious, pristine, well-appointed bathrooms (nice cowboy boot soap dispenser), but the wines need some work (give them time!). More strange was the agritourism disclaimer — who knew wine tasting was so risky? I have never been so conscious of my mortality, as an agritourist. This kind of sign does not make me want to go back to Desert Rose, makes me worried they are going to release bears as soon as we are through the door, and then sue us for negligence in not defending ourselves from the bears. Or something.
Linden (3708 Harrels Corner, Linden) — We’ve been to Linden before, always great views, good wine and service, though you get better service if you are in their case club. We are not, but it didn’t matter since we were the only ones crazy enough to be there on a snowy April 1 (yes, snowflakes fell as we arrived at Linden). Best wine overall (their petit verdot was my favorite of the day), everybody there is very nice, and we even got to chat with the awesome Jim
Delaplane (2187 Winchester Road, Delaplane, conveniently about five minutes from Ashby Inn) — also lovely views, hopefully someday they will have funds to build a big deck off the front windows, whose large glass doors currently open into the abyss. Love the open, modern space, and the wines are pretty good too, though a little pricey at $30 apiece for the Cinq and Syrah, which we liked but not enough at that price to buy any.
A fun day overall. Virginia’s wine industry is growing rapidly and quality is improved in general, but while certain wines from certain vintners are excellent, I’m not convinced quality is up across the board sufficiently to justify prices that seem to start at $20 for most reds and often run into the $30s. Some of these wines would be a nice deal in the $10-18 range but not so much in the $23-30 range. I think they have gotten ahead of themselves with the pricing, but if they are selling at these prices then more power to them.