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Monday, December 14, 2015

Delaplane Cellars

As part of a concerted effort to make my winery reviews more current, I drove up to Fauquier County and stopped in at Delaplane Cellars, which I had not visited in over two years. I arrived just as they were opening and lingered a few minutes on the hillside below the tasting room to admire the view. The west-facing slope offers a panorama of the Blue Ridge that is simply jaw-dropping. 

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The tasting room is also quite stunning. The long, L-shaped tasting bar occupies one large corner of the room. Seating is arranged just inside the entrance and along the large picture windows. Outside there is an elevated deck that wraps around the front of the building and offers additional seating options. It is all designed to allow visitors a perfect vantage point to admire the same view I described above. 

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Looking back over my earlier review, I noted that I went on at great length about the Delaplane wines. I can say that this is something I hear frequently from others who have visited. And the winery is one that always comes highly recommended. My experience with the wine was no different during my most recent stop. There were four whites, a rosé and two red Bordeaux-style blends.

The tasting began with a barrel fermented Chardonnay, a Melange Blanc and a Traminette. All were well made, but the Petite Manseng was the standout and possibly the best wine of the tasting. At two percent residual sugar, it was a perfectly balanced wine. There were big tropical aromas and on the palate that little bit of sugar was just enough to accent the pineapple and pear notes. It really is a fabulous wine.

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The two red blends were also worth writing home about. The Duet, in particlar, was a high point on the tasting menu. Hints of cigar box mingled with red berries and structured tannins gave way to an extremely long finish. The Williams Gap blend was also noteworthy. They are both perfectly constructed wines.

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In my last Delaplane blog, I also went on at length about the quality of the customer experience. This time I am not sure I can echo that same sentiment. I introduced myself at the tasting bar and rendered my business card. After that, I was treated a little bit like an industrial spy. I struck up a pleasant conversation with a couple at the tasting bar, but interacting with the staff was strained and bordered on unpleasant. Maybe they have had a bad experience with another blogger. Maybe they have been instructed not to answer questions. It might be easier to understand, if the tasting room were crowded. Curiously, it was first thing in the morning and there were only five other visitors. I do not know what was going on, but the entire experience was unfortunate.

Will I go so far as to wave you off of a visit to Delaplane? No. On the other hand, I am very interested in hearing from others. If you have been to Delaplane, please let me know the details. I do hope my experience was not typical, but I am not inspired to visit again any time soon.