Sans Soucy Vineyards Review
Address: 1571 Mt Calvary Rd. Brookneal,Virginia 24528.
Phone Number: 434-376-9463
Tasting Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00-5:00 and by appt. (Winter: by appt. Mon-Sat)
Reviewer: Brian Yost
Review Date: 10/4/2014
Reviewer: Brian Yost
The area around Sans Soucy, in the southeastern corner of Campbell County, is an extremely rural part of the state, and agriculture is the primary industry. You will see far more tobacco fields than vineyards, but dont let that fool you. There are some exceptionally good wineries in this part of the state and San Soucy is one of them.
When Paul Anctil retired from the Marine Corps, he purchased the Southern Virginia property with an eye toward moving his family away from the big city. He began to explore the possibility of converting his property from tobacco to grape production. He eventually planted 6.5 acres and converted an old country schoolhouse into a tasting room. In 2001, he opened his doors for business and became one of the first Southern Virginia wineries to produce wines from international varietals.
When I entered the tasting room, Paul and his wife Jackie were behind the tasting bar. This is one of the perks of visiting small wineries. You frequently get to interact with the owners. I should point out that San Soucy was literally, the first winery I had visited in this part of the state and I had heard for years that only sweet wines were produced in Southern Virginia. I definitely internalized it, and I was braced for the cloyingly sweet wines I was going to sample in the tasting room. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case.
There is certainly a range of wines on the menu, and there is something for every palate, but I would classify them as predominantly dry-style. Among the whites, there was a Viognier, a Traminette, and a blend made from both varietals. They were all well-crafted and expressed the typical characteristics of those grapes.
The real story is the lineup of red wines. Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are two of the single-varietal wines that one finds throughout the state, and the Sans Soucy examples were excellent, but there were a couple surprises. As far as I know, this is the only vineyard in the state growing Tempranillo. Paul pointed out that it does well in this region; it ripens early and thrives in the heat. The flagship wine, however, is a blend of Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo. This Legacy blend is done in an Amarone style. Paul converted an old tobacco barn and uses it to dry the grapes, which concentrates the sugar. It is a big, complex wine and it makes the visit worth your time. Enough said. You need to go there and see for yourself.
Aside from the draw of the wine, the entire tasting experience earns high marks. The Anctils are gracious hosts and take the time to educate visitors on the wines and local area. The schoolhouse turned tasting room is quaint and inviting. It is a lovely, rural setting surrounded by multiple old farms and a few larger historic plantations. It is the sort of place one might linger with a picnic lunch.
No exploration of Virginia wine country is complete without visiting the Southern Region. I can readily classify Sans Soucy as one of the region’s premier wine producers; it should definitely be on your short list.