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Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Winery Has Wine Dogs Singing "You can take me to Paradise (Springs)"

Paradise Springs Winery
Clifton, Virginia

As the Wine Dogs approached the 200 year-old log cabin serves as the tasting room for Paradise Springs, owner Jane Kincheloe immediately began fussing over Munchkin.

History and Yorkshire Terriers reign supreme at Paradise Springs. The winery dog, Foxy, is a 3-1/2 pound, 11-month-old Yorkie. And Fairfax County's first modern farm winery sits on land that has been in Jane's family since 1716, awarded through an original land grant from Lord Fairfax.

Even the name has histroic roots. Paradise Springs was one of the early names of the Clifton area. Now, it is wine instead of spring water that is pouring into the bottles at Paradise Springs.

When she inherited the property from her aunt, Esther Podolnick, Jane knew she wanted to have a winery there. The idea started fermenting 20 years ago when she and her aunt discussed it as a way to save the house and keep the land in agriculture. "As Virginia wines got better and better, I knew it would work," Jane told the Wine Dogs.

It certainly seems to be working. Winemaker Kirk Wiles (Jane's son) already is producing award-winning wines, working with members of the Pearmund team including Chris, D.J. Leffen, and Jef Stebben. The 2008 Norton just claimed a Gold Medal in the 2010 Governor's Cup competition, and the 2007 Reserve Cabernet was awarded gold at last year's Virginia State Fair.

Munchkin and Pomeroy joined a group in the crowded upstairs tasting room as server Ashely offered tastes of these and six other wines.

A second group was tasting down in the cellar below.

Roy was partial to the 2008 Chardonnay and the 2008 Nana's Rose, which Kirk made for his grandmother, who tends roses. Munchkin gave two paws up to the 2008 Viognier and couldn't get enough of the 2008 Norton, barking imperiously to demand another taste. Both Wine Dogs were enthusiastic about the rich red 2008 Cabernet Franc - Munchkin leaping up out of her bag.

The Cabernet Franc vines planted on the estate are expected to produce their first grapes this year (the current vintage is made from Rappahannock Cellars grapes).

The Wine Dogs and their paw-ty took a bottle out to the inviting tables spread along the hillside - just perfect for Yorkies and Poms looking for crumbs. Three new picnic tables were delivered during the the Wine Dogs' visit, and were quickly filled.

There is much speculation about the Paradise Springs label, but Munchkin and Pomeroy found a likely suspect out back, although with 36 acres spread between the park and Bull Run, it's hard to be certain.

One thing is certain -- the Wine Dogs look forward to returning for another day in Paradise.

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