Two months ago, my friends and I had a little wine-tasting adventure (as blogged about by Sheridan at Barkless Vegetables) to some vineyards in Northern Virginia. As wines go, Virginia does an ok job of turning out some decent wines, but is certainly not ready to be crowned the wine capitol of the world. However, wine-tasting with friends is always fun and these places are nearby.
The best of the 3 places we went to was Tarara.
Tarara’s wines were better tasting than those from the neighboring vineyards; however, their tasting fee is higher and their pricing is much higher (undeservedly so). Are the wines good – yes. But, they aren’t as good as Tarara thinks they are. Still, I didn’t want to go home empty handed so I bought a bottle of their 2006 Cabernet Franc. Because it was such a nice day, we all split a bottle of their Meritage, got some snacks and relaxed on their terrace.
Later that week, Ryan and I opened up our bottle for dinner and it was HORRIBLE. It wasn’t simply a case of I did a lot of wine-tasting and chose a not-so-great bottle in my buzzed state of mind. It was truly undrinkable and we poured it down the drain. I emailed the folks at Tarara about the bottle and they were very accomodating. We were offered replacement bottles and a complimentary tasting. So, this last weekend Ryan and I made our way over to Tarara to cash in.
Of course, we picked the worst weekend ever. Tarara’s tasting room was closed and they were having a complimentary outdoor tasting with a “vineyard tour”. While this was nice, our tasting was supposed to include additional wines that were not available because the tasting room was closed. Again, Tarara was great about this and threw in more free bottles of wine to make up for it. We figured we were already there, so we hopped on the wagon for a tour.
As the tractor pulled us through the rows of vines, I assumed we would be given some sort of speech about the history of the vineyard or the types of grapes and their growing habits or something. Radio silence. However, I was with Ryan who makes friends with everyone, so he struck up a conversation with the woman manning the tour and she told us a little about the history.
Apparently, the owners were searching for some land to start a vineyard when they happened upon the land that is currently Tarara. There had been heavy rain in the preceding days and one of the lower fields was flooded. Looming behind the flooded plain was Sugar Loaf Mountain (which Ryan had already identified as soon as we pulled into the driveway). According to the story, the owners thought of Noah and his arc landing at Mount Ararat. The bought the land and named the vineyard Tarara, or Ararat spelt backwards. Sticking with this trend some of their wines bear the name Nevaeh, or heaven spelt backwards. As it turns out, we made a very fitting choice for how to spend our time on the day of the Rapture.
The outdoor tasting was a nice change from doing more traditional indoor tastings. The tents were set up right next to the vines and it was much more beautiful than being stuck inside. Plus, it was sunny and nice to be outdoors!
Overall, I had a good time at this tasting (despite the de-railing of our original plan) and at the last tasting I was at. Plus, the staff was really great about the bottle incident and seemed truly genuine in their desire to make up for the quality lapse. My only complaint still is that the wines are a little pricey for what they are. Still, if you live in the area and feel like going for a tasting its near by and fairly good wine. They also have an outdoor concert series for the summer.