Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I had not visited the southwestern corner of Fauquier County in several years. Indeed, the last time I was in that area, I was leading a canoe trip for the Boy Scouts down the Rappahannock River. Ironically, the river flows right along the border of the property that is home to Rogers Ford Farm Winery.
The Rogers Ford estate is surrounded by the Phelps Wildlife Management Area and it’s a long way from the great Virginia wineries clustered up in the northern reaches of the county. It’s an area that's better known for hiking, fishing and paddling. In fact, canoeists occasionally wonder up from the river to visit the tasting room. This only adds to the feeling of remoteness, but it’s really only a short drive from Route 29, which is the main artery running south out of D.C.
As early as 1980, Rogers Ford was growing grapes and producing wine as part of the Dominion Wine Coop, which was later purchased by Williamsburg Winery. It was during this period, at age eight, that Johnny Puckett began to learn the craft of winemaking and vineyard management from his father. He later went on to earn a certificate from U.C. Davis, but the quality of wine is a clear reflection of those years of mentoring and experience.
Since Rogers Ford parted ways with the Dominion Wine Coop and struck out on its own in 2001, they have maintained a reputation for quality craft-wine production. It doesn’t hurt that some of the vines date back to as early as 1980. Maintaining a small, boutique winery status has also been a factor. Production levels are holding at about 1000 cases per year with emphasis on exceptional small-batch wines.
Johnny was working behind he tasting bar when I arrived and he guided me through eight different wines as he filled in some of the details about the winery. Among the eight wines being poured, all were very good, but I noted a few standouts. The stainless steel aged Jacob Christopher Chardonnay was bright, crisp and balanced with a hint of sweetness and notes of tropical fruit. The Petit Verdot was a monster. This unfiltered wine was dark red, big and jammy with firm tannins. It is absolutely top shelf. The Snake Castle Port-style wine must also be mentioned. With its chocolate and cherrie notes, it’s no wonder that this is one of the winery’s most popular offerings.
Following the tasting, I spent some time wandering about the grounds and found a small crowd gathered on the lawn sipping Rogers Ford wines. I also noted visitors depart on horseback, which is not something one sees at most wineries. It’s a lovely setting and despite the fact that it’s fair distance from other wineries, it’s not really as remote as it feels. I recommend a visit and I’d love to know what you think.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
If you’re traveling to or from D.C. on Route 29 Morais is only a short detour and completely worth a stop. I would add this one prominently to the top of my list and make a point to stop in. When you do, let me know what you think.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Monday, November 3, 2014