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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tavern Days for the Wine Dogs

Twin Oaks Tavern Winery
Bluemont, Virginia 

Twin Oaks is truly a tavern for all seasons. Pomeroy first took Ecco to the Tavern in February for “Sweethearts Weekend,” and they snuggled up by the fireplace in the cozy tasting room to enjoy wine and live music.

A return visit in May allowed the Wine Dogs to relax on the lower of the three tiered decks that spill off of the tasting room, taking in stunning "top of the mountain" views of Winchester and the vineyard at budbreak.
The tasting room captures a true tavern feel, with high, beamed ceiling, exposed wood detailing and a square three-sided tasting bar to welcome guests – two and four-legged alike.
A picture of Hagrid, a beautiful, gentle St. Bernard and member of the Wine Club, hangs by the door. The fireplace mantle is crowded with statuettes of Twin Oak “regulars.”
Will the Wine Dogs earn a spot?
The Tavern is rapidly becoming a Wine Dog favorite. On each visit, Ecco and Pomeroy were made to feel at home by a committed crew that includes Fred,
Wine Captain Sue,

and winemaker, singer and gracious proprietress, Donna Evers.

Donna is an accidental vintner. The successful Washington realtor built a weekend escape in the mountains of the Northern Blue Ridge on the old Twin Oaks Tavern property – a place where Washingtonians of old would retreat for refreshments and cool breezes.

She restored the ravaged and fire-damaged inn as a charming home, but relaxing is not in her makeup. Donna returned from a 1999 trip to Europe obsessed with having a vineyard on her property. The consultants gave her mixed opinions, but whatever they said, she knew her answer would be “yes.” Viticulture is in her veins -- her relatives in Croatia built the Kolasic Family Vineyard, still an operating winery today. Carrying forward with the tradition, Donna’s daughter and grandchildren can be found working at the tavern.

Original plantings included Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, with recent additions of Zinfandel and Riesling - harkening back to Donna's Croatian roots. Donna plans to keep the winery small (1,000 cases) to preserve its boutique character. 
The wines are impressive. Last year, Twin Oaks Chardonnay was earned gold and a  92-point (exceptional) rating at the World Wine Championship. Ecco (a young pup whose taste still runs to sweeter wines) gave two paws up to Raspberry wine. Rose in color, it is considered a white and is crisply refreshing. Pomeroy enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon and the bold, jammy Norton.
But it was Twin Oaks signature Bordeaux-style blend that earned two paws up from both pups. The Raven Rocks Red (named for the street where Twin Oaks Tavern is located) is a combinations of Cabernet Franc and Merlot with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

Music is an integral part of the Twin Oaks Tavern experience, and Sunday is “open mike” time. Acoustic guitar player/vocalist Michael Stephenson wandered in the door during the Wine Dogs’ first visit and everyone was mesmerized by his music. A recently discovered talent (by Brian Roeder while playing a friend’s party at Barrel Oak Winery), Michael is now making the winery circuit. He has a great, gravelly voice and sings with true emotion. A special treat was his original “Won’t Somebody Turn the Lights Back On,” based on his war and post-war experiences in Somalia. “To write that song, I had to live it,” Michael explains. Watch for him!

And watch for Ecco and Pomeroy at Twin Oaks Tavern!

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