Last weekend Virginia Vine Spot saddled up and rode into the town of Warrenton to visit one of Fauquier County’s most recent additions to the wine trail, Marterella Winery. Nestled in the rural countryside amongst horse farms, perfectly manicured green lawns and rolling hills, Marterella Winery provides wine seekers with a generous amount of picturesque and tranquil surroundings and fine wine.
Entering Marterella Winery
The tasting room sits atop a hill of vine plantings and fronted by a scenic and relaxing pond. An outdoor patio, complete with an Italian wood-burning oven and babbling fountain, provides a nice respite for those looking to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy Marterella wines outdoors. Before making our way to the tasting room we were greeted by two friendly Border Collies, Lover-Boy and Godiva, who in dog talk said, “Thanks for coming and enjoy your stay.” Dezel responded with a few head scratches, which is his way of saying “Thanks, You are welcome,” and we entered the tasting room.
Upon entering the tasteful and nicely decorated tasting room, we were warmly greeted by Tasting Associate Gus, who told us a few things about the charming boutique winery and the wines they produce. Marterella Winery is the culmination of owner Kate Marteralla’s passion, effort, and desire to make small lots of handcrafted wines in Virginia. From establishing and managing the vineyard, designing the wine labels, to the attractive indoor and outdoor décor, and making the wines, Kate is responsible and intimately involved in every step of the winemaking process. I must mention that Kate even trained those two wonderful four-legged door greeters to ward off grape craving deer and other animals from the vineyard. After all, the fruit is meant to be enjoyed in the glass, right?
Dezel, chatting and sipping the day away with Gus
The tasting room is a step into modernism, brilliant and bright with large windows allowing an ample amount of natural lighting to fill the room and offering stunning views from every direction the eye can travel. For the cooler months, warm up by the elegant and cozy fireplace, and be entertained by the wall mounted television that hangs above. Being an 80’s Rock & Roll fan myself, I enjoyed the Sting concert that was playing during my visit. After chatting with Gus about the wine world at large and other delightful subject matter, we decided it was time to pour and taste Marterella wines.
The tasting fee at Marterella is $5 per individual, and tasters receive a standard pour of the following selections: Vidal Blanc 2005, Chardonnay 2005, Merlot 2004, Cabernet Franc 2004, Meritage (Merlot based blend), Rosalie’s Rosé, and two dessert wines aptly named, Sweet Nothings (NV) and Grace (NV).
The Vidal Blanc 2005 is a crisp and refreshing wine with good acidity that would make for an excellent spring and summertime sipper. Unlike a number of examples found locally that contain some residual sugars, this one is pleasingly dry. Done in a crisp style, but nicely rounded and integrated, is the Chardonnay 2005, offering soft tree fruit with slight toasty flavors. This is a nice drinking Chardonnay on its own, or pair with seafood or light hors d'oeuvres. Moving to the red wines, Virginia’s flagship grape variety, Cabernet Franc, shows well here. The Cabernet Franc is estate-grown and made from 6 year old vines. The wine is 100% Cabernet Franc and displays the common varietal characteristics of violet, spice, slight herb and red fruit, which are found in well made examples. The mouth feel is on the lighter side of medium and is just as good on its own as it would be with lamb or braised veal. Another fine red, the Merlot 2004, contains a splash of Petit Verdot for structure and is silky smooth with friendly tannins, and done in more of an easy drinking, fresh fruit style. The label I found most aesthetically charming was the Rosalie’s Rosé; this wine is a Merlot based blush style wine with a sprinkling of sweetness and brilliant and bright flavors of red fruit, dominated by strawberry, with good acidity. What is so cute about the label this summer time deck sipper sports, is that the dated picture of the beautiful southern belle on the label just happens to be Kate’s mother. How sweet! Speaking of sweet, for the sweet ending, the 100% Chambourcin dessert wine, Sweet Nothings, topped my list with good fruit flavors, sweet but not cloying, and paired nicely with the chocolates we were offered. Overall, the wines tasted displayed good varietal character, aroma and flavor profiles, and are very approachable.
On the patio
Following our tasting, we had the opportunity to meet Jerry, Kate’s friendly husband. Jerry was outdoors utilizing the Italian brick oven and had just entered the tasting room with a fully cooked marinated tenderloin, that like the wine, offered lovely intense aromas. Dezel kindly accepted a sampling, which required a glass of Meritage, the more voluptuous of the reds, and it was a savory and sensory experience. Yummy! Dezel must get the recipe on the next visit.
Enjoy your Visit, View, and Vino Friends!
Afterwards, we chatted with Gus, who is a pleasure to talk to and taste with, and secured a few bottles of Marterella wines. Be on the lookout for three Marterella upcoming releases – Pinot Gris 2006, Barrel Select Chardonnay 2005 (limited production), and a Sangiovese and Merlot blend 2006 in the fall. Sounds like a tasty future to me!
Godiva - Isn’t he a Cutie?
On the way out, Godiva, the brown dog followed Dezel to get one more head scratch and to say “Good-Bye, See you again.” Dezel assured Godiva that he would return with a picnic basket, doggy treats, and more head scratches to enjoy the day on the patio while taking in the wonderful views surrounding Marterella Winery. When readers visit Materella Winery, and Dezel strongly suggest that you do, tell them you saw them here on Virginia Vine Spot!
Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !