Where: 10075 Lees Mill Road, Warrenton, VA
Tasting Fee: $10 for a variety of wines (reservations for groups of 8+ are required)
Don’t Miss The: Merlot, Kokineli, Kosher Wines
Food: Outside food and picnics are welcome both indoors and outdoors
Molon Lave Vineyards was a gem of a Warrenton find. Located on over 50 acres, they focus on traditional European (mainly Greek) styles. With their vines first being planted in 2003, the winery and tasting room opened its doors 10 years ago this month! On your tasting list, you’ll mainly find 100% varietals of wines–basically, Molon Lave has enough faith in their grapes to let them speak for themselves. However, you’ll also find a few welcome surprises.
Molon Lave is Virginia’s only certified Kosher wine producer. What does that mean, exactly? While none of the ingredients that make wine are considered non-Kosher, there are still steps that need to be followed. Currently, Molon Lave produces their Riesling, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon under Rabbinic supervision–this guidance and the lack of contact with chametz makes the wines Kosher and suitable for Passover.
In addition, Molon Lave also makes a traditional Greek rosé wine called Kokineli. Kokineli is traditionally made with pine resin and I’ve had a hell of a time finding many other US producers of this variety. It has a very earthy flavor to it. I tasted a ton of Rosemary and Thyme–exactly as it was described to me. If you’re looking for a fall rosé that’s suitable for a Thanksgiving dinner, Kokineli is where it’s at!
The star of my tasting, however, was Molon Lave’s Merlot. In fact, it was my pick for International Merlot Day! The one we tried was aged in French Oak for 12 months, giving it just enough of those clove and vanilla flavors. Another favorite was their mulled wine–I am so a sucker for anywhere that has a good mulled wine as we get into winter. Although we found most of their wines to be lighter-bodied, there was no loss of flavor.
While visiting, we found the winery to be especially cozy and inviting. There’s plenty of olive oil to taste, a huge double-sided fireplace, and welcoming staff. We asked about their event spaces as well and were especially pleased to find that they are LGBTQ+ friendly (something that should be standard but is unfortunately sometimes hit or miss).
Molon Lave is only about ten minutes down the road from another one of my favorites–Morais Vineyards. From Northern Virginia it’s an easy trip to both. Having been to Morais half a dozen times, I can’t believe that I’ve been missing out on Molon Lave! It’s definitely on the list for future trips.
So folks, go out and drink Greek wine with friendly people in a beautiful and cozy setting. Just make sure to sample the mulled wine while you’re there.