Rappahannock County, Virginia is home to a number of great wineries. As of this writing, the newest addition is Magnolia Vineyards, which opened in July of 2014. It takes its name from a magnolia tree that was planted when Glenn and Tina Marchione first purchased the land.
Magnolia Vineyards sits on a beautiful property, that is bordered on two sides by Hawkins Run, a small stream that meanders down to the Rappahannock River just a few miles away. It’s a lovely rural setting that offers a nice view of the Blue Ridge. It was here, on the hillside above Hawkins Run, in the clay and sandy loam soil, that the Marchiones planted their first vines back in 2009.
The Marchiones have long been interested in wine and inspiration came during a trip to Tuscany prompting them to think seriously about making wine. Following that trip, a conversation with Doug Fabbioli convinced them to take the plunge. They harvested their first vintage in 2011 and opened a tasting room in the basement of their home in 2014. Fabbioli was retained as a consultant and their winery is now producing a modest 500 to 700 cases of wine each year.
I was able to taste six Magnolia wines and a seventh, a 2013 Viognier, was about to be released. I observed that they were producing a handful of good wines for such a new winery. The 2011 Viognier was excellent, but 2012 Black Walnut White really rocked the house. It was a bone-dry traminette with zero residual sugar, that was not overly floral. It is a potential award winner with its honeysuckle nose and pear and apple notes.
There were two vintages each of Cabernet Franc and Hawkins Run Red, which is their Bordeaux blend. The 2012 vintages showed real promise. The Cab Franc was blended with a little Cab Sauv and Merlot and spent ten months in French and American oak. It was a medium bodied wine with nice red fruit and a long peppery finish. After nine months in French and American oak, the Hawkins Run Red was much more complex. It contained hints of leather, fig and cassis. There were firm tannins in a very nice finish. Two thumbs up for the Marchiones. I think we’re going to see good things come out of this winery.
There are plans to build a new tasting room on the hill overlooking the vineyards, which should also provide a better view of the mountains and surrounding countryside. Other projects include increasing the vineyard by another fifteen to twenty acres and topping out around 2500 cases of wine per year. There are a few public music events currently scheduled. A number of wine dinners and weddings will eventually round out the social calendar.
I had a very nice visit. I thought the Marchiones were great hosts and presented the wines well during the tasting. There’s a lot of positive energy out at Magnolia Vineyards and you should really stop in and see for yourself. After you’ve made your visit, let me know what you think.