Up in north-central Loudoun county, not far front the town of Waterford, you will find Corcoran Vineyards. Like many or maybe even most wineries in the area, it’s located on property that has been farmland for over a century. Since 2002, the crop has been grapes with about four acres under vine on the farm. Corcoran has a total of 20 acres of fruit, but the remainder is on leased property elsewhere in the county.
Lori Corcoran opened her winery in 2003 and the tasting room in 2004. Not content to only make wine, she owns a local brewery and recently opened Loudoun’s first hard cider business, with a separate tasting room on the property. Production levels are about 3000 cases of wine and 2500 cases of cider each year. There will be a slight increase in cider production, but Lori is content with current levels and is able to market all of this through word of mouth and social media.
With all of the things Lori has going on, you might think she has time for nothing else. You’d be wrong. She’s also the winemaker. Her winemaking technique is to limit the use of oak and allow the fruit to express itself in her wines. I tasted eleven of her offerings during my visit and that philosophy seems to work well.
The whites were well balanced and lacked any trace of tartness. I might go so far as to describe them as almost creamy, which is interesting given the limited use of oak. The Viognier was one of these and was really a special wine with it’s big tropical notes. Sadly, Corcoran lost all of their Viognier vines to the cold this year and there are no plans to replace it. Despite the fact that it’s the official state grape, Lori just feels that it is too difficult to grow.
There were several reds on the list and I enjoyed each of them, but there were two of real note. I got to taste a 2008 Cabernet Franc that was not on the menu, but happened to be opened. It was a medium bodied red, made from fruit grown at the nearby Benevito Vineyard. It had a lovely deep color and beautiful fruit. The Tannat, however, was really my favorite. It had a lot of dark fruit, plumb and cassis, on the nose and palate. There was still a bit of tannin, so it can use more time on the shelf. With a little more age it’s going to be a truly great wine.
I had a very nice visit at Corcoran. I arrived very near the end of the day, but the staff didn’t try to rush me along. The presentation was informative and well organized. There were a couple visitors who arrived later than me and received exactly the same treatment. I think two thumbs up are in order and I can heartily recommend this venue to anyone exploring wineries in Loudoun County.