Route 9 Barrel Tasting: January 15th & 16th, 2011

Hello Friends,

Looking for something fun to do this weekend…something that involves swirling, sniffing, and sipping spitting wine with a double-splash of education? Sebastian Marquet, winemaker at Doukénie Vineyards, has put together a Loudoun County Route 9 barrel tasting event that includes Doukénie Winery, Hillsborough Vineyards, Loudoun Valley Vineyards, and Sunset Hills Vineyards. If you’ve had your ear to the vine, then you’ve heard that local grape-growers and winemakers are expecting very good things from the recent 2010 vintage. The growing season was warm-to-[very] hot with a fairly dry summer and many growers I’ve chatted with were pleased with the overall quality of fruit brought in. A barrel tasting event such as this, offers the unique opportunity to experience and evaluate the early stages of the vintage first-hand. It’s a chance to see what an immature wine looks like, smells like, and tastes like through its process of development. In short, you get to sample the future and gauge the potential of the developing wine(s) and vintage(s). Furthermore, the winemaker and/or grape-grower are usually on-hand and available to provide information about the wines and to answer questions.

Sebastian nosing around the barrel room during my visit

On a recent visit to Doukénie Winery, I bumped into Sebastian in the tasting room. After a brief chat, he offered to take me down to the barrel room to sample some of his developing 2010 wines. I’ve found that most local winemakers enjoy discussing and getting honest feedback about their wines, particularly those developing, from everyday wine drinkers just like you. Sebastian is pleased thus far with the 2010 vintage and the reason for that showed in the samples we tasted. The reds {Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot} are ripe, but not overly, very masculine, well-structured, firm tannin profiles, and gaining some secondary complexities from their short time spent in barrel. These wines are far too young to enjoy now or cast judgment on, but based on the wines sampled, the future looks bright for Doukénie 2010 red wines. It is important to note however that many immature wines will show their youthfulness, rough edges, and sharpness, so to really appreciate them, a certain degree of forgiveness is imperative. The take-away from a barrel tasting, at least for me, is the valuable insight and education gained from tasting and discussing the young wines with the grape farmer and/or winemaker, and then revisiting the wines when they are bottled and ready to enjoy. Other than that, you’ll be surrounded by wine lovers and barrel tasting is just plain fun! Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned friends ...More to come!

CLICK HERE for more information and to purchase tickets. You can also call 540-668-6464 x202 or e-mail  ** 20% of proceeds will be donated to Inova Hospital **

Buy a half-case or more of wine and get half-off shipping with promo code "vine44"

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