First Look: Winery at Bull Run

The positive side to moving out to the ' there's TWO wineries within 10 miles of my house! One of my personal favorites, Paradise Springs, was claimed to be the closest winery to DC but now they have some competition with The Winery at Bull Run.

The Winery at Bull Run neighbors the Manassas Battlefield Park and has been open to the public since June 2. As you pull into the property, baby vines are growing to the left and the tasting room and patio area are straight ahead. Picnic tables are scattered about to enjoy wine and a picnic on a nice afternoon.

The property was originally an old farm house dating back to the 1800's. The new tasting room was built on those ruins. Gorgeous, intricate details were preserved in the stone work of the frame and patio. Inside, the tasting room is spacious, with a lounge area and high top tables for wine lovers to enjoy a glass. A large copper tasting bar grabs your attention and a beautiful mural behind it is a great backdrop.

Now, let the tasting begin! Normally priced at $12/person, the tastings include 3 whites, 1 rosé, 4 reds and 1 port. The tasting sheet was very informative including the vineyard, area, alcohol content, residual sugar, tasting notes and prices.

As the tasting began, we were told that the winemaker is Chris Pearmund of the award-winning vineyards, Pearmund Cellars and LaGrange. I'm sure you remember my love for Pearmund as I've written about it before. Currently, The Winery at Bull Run is sourcing their grapes from all over VA and Chris is making the wine off-site at Pearmund and LaGrange for now.

First of the whites is a 100% Chardonnay aged in French oak barrels. Typical Burgundian-style Chardonnay with vanilla and buttery notes, full-bodied but crisp enough to enjoy on a summer afternoon. The Chardonnay has gone through full maloactic fermentation giving it that buttery mouth feel. It is also sourced from Meriwether Vineyard in Broad Run, VA. This wine has already won a Bronze medal at the 2012 NextGen Wine Competition. Great job!

On to their "Cuveé Blanc" or a fancy way of saying white blend. 2010 Delaney is named for the youngest member of the Hickox Family (the owners). A blend of 40% Traminette, 30% Vidal Blanc, 20% Viognier, and 10% Riesling. This wine has 1.2 g/l residual sugar making it a semi-dry white wine. A little too sweet for my tastes but it does have a very fruity and juicy mouthfeel with hints of citrus and stone fruit. This wine won the Silver medal in White Table Wine Blends at the 2012 New York International Wine Competition.

The 2010 Viognier is a blend of 75% Viognier, 15% Chardonnay and 10% Gewurztraminer, having slightly more residual sugar than the Delaney at 1.5 g/l. Even though it has a little more residual sugar, I felt like it wasn't as sweet tasting, maybe because it wasn't as juicy. This Viognier is a great representation of what VA is known for, peachy, honeysuckle notes with a floral bouquet nose.

Sourced from the Glebe Vineyard in Eastville, VA the 2010 Rosé is 90% Merlot and 10% Chambourcin. During fermentation, the skins sit with the juice for only 4-5 hours leaving a light pink color. Light, crisp and hints of strawberry, this rosé would be perfect for the patio or light appetizers.

Now time for the reds. First up is the 2009 Cabernet Franc. The grapes came from Colucci Vineyards in Upperville, VA and this wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. Aged in American oak, this wine is medium-bodied with dark fruit flavors and hints of spice. Very typical of Cab Francs. The Cab Franc won the Bronze medal  at the 2012 New York International Wine Competition.

The next wine is the 2009 Merlot from Carter's Mountain Vineyard in Charlottesville, VA. Again 100% varietal aged in American oak, this wine is a bigger than the average Merlot. It has lots of black cherry and spice on the palate with a soft, easy finish.

Norton is the native grape of Virginia and gaining more traction so it's no surprise to see the 2010 Norton. Sourced from Keswick Vineyard in Charlottesville, VA, this wine is 77% Norton and 23% Cabernet Sauvignon which helps to round out the flavors. Dark fruit flavors with hints of vanilla from the American oak, the Norton has a long finish and will age well.

Last of the reds is their 2010 Meritage which is a Bordeaux-style blend of 15% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Petite Verdot, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The booziest of them all at 13.9% alcohol, this blend is complex and jammy. The tannin structure shows that it will age well. I'm always a sucker for VA Meritages. For some reason, the complexity, dryness, oaky flavors just suits my palate.Others agree, it won the Bronze medal at the 2012 NextGen Wine Competition!

The final wine on the list is the 2010 Fort, a port-style wine made from 100% Chambourcin also from Colucci Vineyards in Upperville, VA. This sweet wine is served with a small piece of dark chocolate which compliments the flavors perfectly. The cocoa flavor in the wine is showcased after you take a bite of the chocolate. Another award-winning wine, the Fort also won Bronze medal at the 2012 NextGen Wine Competition.

Wow, what a lineup! I wish we could have stayed longer but they close at 7pm. But that's all the more reason to make another visit! You should too, only 20 miles from DC and a few miles off 66, the location and wine are great. I'll see you there.



  1. Awesome, I grew up in Clifton/Fairfax and whole heatedly welcome another close to DC vineyard, where i live now.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Just visited here ourselves...wines were only so so...were not a big fan of Pearmond wines, but the location is great and the layout and atmosphere is great for an afternoon picnic.