Old Town Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia is a fun little space filled with shops, restaurants and wine bars. Tucked in among these other establishments is the Leesburg Vintner, which has been selling wine since 1986. Beginning in 2012, the wine store also became home to the Carroll Vineyards tasting room.
I stopped by late one fall afternoon. I found the tasting room located on the corner of King and Loudoun Streets, wandered in and had a seat at the end of the long tasting bar. Mike Carroll was pouring wine and he was able to provide a little background on the winery as he poured.
Mike has been in the wine business since the mid 1970s and travels nationally and internationally to visit wineries. Living, as he does, in the Middleburg American Viticultural Area, it was just a matter of time before he took the next logical step. He planted vines in Paeonian Springs and leased other vineyards in Loudoun County.
To make the wine, Mike brought in the legendary Lori Corcoran, which was something of a brilliant masterstroke. As of this writing, Lori is producing between 350 and 500 cases each year for Carroll Vineyards. The wines are made from seven different grape varietals and a single apple wine is also on the tasting menu.
I was able to taste five of the Carroll offerings during my visit. The Traminette, Chambourcin and Merlot were all well crafted, but the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were of particular note. The Cab Franc showed a lot of character, notes of red fruit, a lovely mouthfeel and a hint of pepper in the finish. The Petit Verdot was a big, inky wine filled with fig and cassis. The finish on this one was something to write home about. It was my hands-down favorite.
If you’re in Leesburg, you should make it a point to stop in. I found Mike and his staff to be extremely friendly and the tasting was well done. It was informative and educational, which are both attributes I like to see in a tasting. When you do stop in, I’d love to hear what you think.