Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn

Where:  11083 John Marshall Hwy, Delaplane, VA 
Tasting Fee: $10 for 6 wines + bite sized food pairings & sangria
Don’t Miss The: Viogniers, Rosé, Wine Cat **Also a dog-friendly winery if you want to visit a great winery with your furry friend
Food Situation: Outside food is welcome to be brought into the tasting room.

Remember when I wrote about second chance wineries? Well, through no fault of their own, Aspen Dale was alphabetically first on that list. I first visited about two years ago with friends on a beautiful fall day. Unfortunately, that meant the crowds were out. More unfortunately, we arrived juuuuuuuust behind two huge bus groups. I knew that I wanted to visit on a less busy day where I could have some time to fully enjoy the space. Luckily, this past weekend was just that.

To say Aspen Dale is cozy goals would be an understatement. The whole space just begs for you to settle in and kick your feet up. It would top my list as a winery to visit on a snowy or rainy day. If you’re daring enough to venture up their spiral staircase, there’s also an abundant upstairs complete with a giant fluffy chair, board games, and a fireplace. The best part though? WINERY CAT, OF COURSE. Tiger II lives in the tasting room space and if you’re lucky enough, he will come over for pets and to make your life just a little bit brighter.

But how’s the wine, you ask? I have good news–The wine is excellent, as is the unique tasting experience. You get bite-sized portions of food ranging from cheeses to pheasant sausage to pair with your wines and bring out the flavors. Our crowd favorite was the sage cheddar, which manages to be delicious despite being a Frankenstein green sort of color.

While the wines aren’t 100% estate grown, they are all locally sourced from either Fauquier or Loudoun counties. There’s a distinct emphasis on making wine with the grapes Virginia does best, complete with two types of Viognier. (The E.B. White version also has one of the greatest wine descriptions that I’ve had the pleasure of reading). Our group ended up with a bottle of Mary Madeleine’s Rosé , a dry, fruit-forward wine that is made with 7.5% fortified wine. This was my first time drinking a rosé that’s been rounded out with some port-style juice and let me tell you–it won’t be the last. Their Estate Field Blend also managed to be an impressive full-bodied red to truly warm you up on a cold day. It paired equally well with the savory and sweet on our tasting plate.

Because I dragged my family out early in the day to avoid any potential crowds, we ended up with the best seat in the house–right in front of the fireplace. We set up a charcuterie board, played with the cat, and enjoyed some time settling in. I did find this to easily be a winery that you could spend hours or a whole day at. For a more private area, there’s a second fireplace upstairs near the board games!

Overall, I’m so pleased I returned to Aspen Dale and will definitely keep it at the top of my list to visit in the Delaplane cluster of wineries. They’re a winery that don’t take themselves too seriously, but still have a great pride in what they do. In many ways, their tasting and experience is a breath of fresh air. Enjoy!

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