Hillsborough Vineyards Review
Address: 36716 Charles Town Pike Hillsboro,Virginia 20132.
Phone Number: 540-668-6216
Tasting Hours: 11:00-5:00
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
Review Date: 8/24/2013
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
Founded by Zeynep and Bora Baki and their two boys, Hillsborough was a hobby that became a winery when Bora decided to retire to the tranquil hills of Loudoun Valley after 23 years as a successful entrepreneur. Hillsborough consists of 13 acres of vines divided over three plots of land. Planted varieties include: Petit Verdot, Tannat, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the French variety Fer Servadou; Hillsborough is one of the only vineyards in Virginia to grow this grape. Over thirty-six aces make up Hillsboroughs property and surround the tasting room where visitors will enjoy the pictureque view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and one of the best views of the Northern Virginia countryside.
Pulling off Route 9, a winding driveway leads visitors to tasting room where they are greeted by a gorgeous stone patio surrounded by vines and koi ponds sheltered by the vine-covered wooden pergolas. Benches and bistro tables are scattered about the patio, and Adirondack chairs overlook the vineyard providing a perfect spot to catch the gorgeous, mountain skyline sunset. The tasting room itself is gorgeous and built of stone from the ground up. From the landscape to the tasting room, patrons are sucked out of Virginia and transplanted in a setting reminiscent of one much like that of the French Countryside.
As my group and I entered the tasting room, we were greeted by the tasting room staff standing at the 30 foot long bar. A birthday party was being held in the lounge area around back of the tasting room, so, on this particular day, we were content with tasting away from all of the chaos. The tasting fee is $7 dollars and includes six wines. There is also light fare available to pair with a glass of wine or bottle to enjoy the romantic atmosphere. To start off the tasting, we began with a pour of their 2010 Chardonnay ($22). A much different Chardonnay than I am used, it boasts bright acidity and big citrus qualities from the nose to the palate. The wine is capped by notes of mint tea on the crisp finish. The acacia wood barrels put a nice spin on this unique Chardonnay.
Up next is a favorite white sipper of mine, the Opal 2011 ($28) made with 100% Petit Manseng. This particular varietal could go one of two ways: syrupy and sweet or balanced with fresh tropical fruits and in an off-dry approach. This particular wine is excellent with tropical fruit and citrus carrying the nose and palate with the acidity cutting the usual sweetness, yet tamed with honeysuckle notes and a touch of effervescence on the finish. Very unique and refreshing. Moving onto the red varietals, we start with the 2008 Garnet ($22), which is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, and 12% Merlot. Black cherry with notes of pepper jump out of the glass with much of the same on the palate emphasized by a POW of pepper and herb on the earthy, dry finish.
From there we jump into some unique reds, beginning with the 2008 Bloodstone ($28), which consists of 94% Fer Servadou and 6% Tannat. For those not familiar with Fer Servadou, its a grape that is usually grown in Southwest France and usually carries characteristics of currant, red fruit, soft tannins, and perfumed aromas. Hillsboroughs rendition offers a very full bodied wine with black currant and vanilla notes dancing on the nose backed by more currants, crushed berries, and a light pepper-laced finish. This was my first experience with a Virginia-grown Fer Servadou and a good start at that. The red portion of the tasting concluded with the 2007 Ruby ($26), consisting of 50% Tannat, 30% Fer Servadou, and 20% Petit Verdot. Blackberry and spice on the nose, while the Tannat and Petit Verdot combine to provide some big bold tannins and add a touch of pepper on the rich bold finish. The tasting sheet hit this pairing on the head – a nice dark Cigar would pair nicely with this wine. The last wine on the menu is a rockstar of a dessert wine – the 2010 Moonstone ($22) made of 100% Late Harvest Viognier. Intense aromas of honeysuckle and baked apricots set the stage for lush tropical fruits and an explosion of candied apricot that carry your taste buds to a sweet pleasing finish.
Hillsborough provides another wonderful example of the great wines and views that the Route 9 trail can offer. Be sure to stop by for a tasting or to take in the amazing views from their Adirondack chairs while you and yours enjoy a quaint picnic on the hillside – you will be glad you did.