Our search to find the perfect place to spend the day for Mother's Day led us to one of Loudoun County's newer vineyards, 868 Estate Vineyards in Purcellville, which opened nearly a year ago on March 20th, 2012. What makes this winery so attractive, especially on Mother's Day or any special occasion, is their award-winning farm-to-table Grandale Restaurant. Looking to fulfill their long time passion for wine and hospitality, business partners and friends Peter Deliso, Wendy Charron and winemaker Carl DiManno partnered with Grandale Farm owner Thomas Orme and Culinary Institute of America graduate Chef Author Clark Jr. to create this unique 120 acre winery and culinary destination.
This contemporary winery offers a variety of wines that include Pinot Grigio, Rosé, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and dessert wines. Their current wine selection includes two wines from the Revolution brand and five wines from 868 Estate Vineyards brand, both produced by Carl DiManno, their winemaker. Wine tastings are currently offered on the historic Grandale Farm, which has been a family farm for many generations. The grounds offer inside and outside seating (patio with assorted bistro tables) and also plenty of space for kids to run around and play. Several picnic tables and benches are located throughout the vineyard's beautiful farm landscaped gardens. The vineyard also has plans to build a brand new tasting room and event center on the hillside overlooking the entire Loudoun Valley. The new tasting room will have specular views of the valley - being at the highest elevation between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Short Hill Mountains at 868 feet, hence its name 868 Estate Vineyards.
So in the spirit of spending a relaxing day on the vineyard's beautiful grounds with the kids and enjoying great food, we ordered their special Mother's Day picnic basket filled with lunch and goodies from Grandale Restaurant. The 4-person option included white cheddar and brie cheeses with sopressata, baguettes, 2 free range chicken salad on croissant sandwiches, 2 Grandale Club ham on ciabatta sandwiches, fresh fruit, chocolate truffles, house-marinated olives and a bottle of water. To pair with our picnic, we went with a glass of the 868 Estate 2010 Meritage and a glass of Revolution's Pursuit of Happiness dessert wine. The fruit wine was definitely one of our all time favorite dessert wines from a Loudoun County winemaker. We just couldn't resist bringing home a bottle of their Pursuit of Happiness! The food was also excellent and we got to take home a very nice picnic cooler basket with a picnic blanket, cutlery, plates, wine glasses, a cheese knife and a cutting board.
Want to try out some of Grandale's tasteful treats along with your wine tasting? The vineyards offers visitors three types of tastings, each featuring seven wines - Elevated Tasting ($20), Truffle Tasting ($14) and Standard Tasting ($8). The Elevated Tasting is carefully paired with both sweet and savory bites created by Chef Author to bring the wine tasting experience to a whole new level. The Truffle Tasting pairs four handmade chocolates, including a White Chocolate and Apricot Truffle rolled in Toffee Bits, and a Calebeaut Ganache Truffle rolled in Cocao Powder. Casual lunch specials prepared by Grandale restaurant are also available in the 868 Tasting room for a picnic on the gorgeous patio. If you're interested in joining their wine club, the vineyards has two - Elevation Club (members receive three bottles of 868 Estate per quarter) or their Vine Case Club (three bottles per quarter but the selection includes wines from around the world in addition to wines produced by 868).
Here is their current list of wines available for tasting:
Revolution NV Pursuit of Happiness - aromas of muscat, apricot, golden raisin, honeysuckle, and citrus. Flavors of spicy clove, raisin, honey with hints of green apple and orange blossom. A true delight!
Revolution 2010 Pinot Grigio - aromas of citrus and apple with hints of lychee and fresh flowers. Grapefruit, lemon, and honeydew melon flavors. Pairs nicely with seafood or salads.
868 Estate NV Altezza - a more medium-bodied wine with aromas of anise, cedar and berry jam. Flavors of dried cherry and raspberry jam with elements of smoke and leather. Pairs nicely with Italian cuisine.
868 Estate 2010 Meritage - deep plum color with hints of black cherry, cocoa and raspberry. Pairs beautifully with pork, game and hard cheeses. Received the Bronze medal at the 2013 International Eastern Wine Competition.
868 Estate Chardonnay - combination of a 2010 Oaked Chardonnay and a 2011 crisp steel fermented Chardonnay. Pairs nicely with fish, soft cheeses and grilled poultry.
868 Estate 2010 Cabernet Franc - medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Fran and Merlot. Flavors of raspberry and clove with notes of cola and dried herb. Good with any meal accenting herbs of rosemary and thyme.
868 Estate 2010 Rosé of Merlot - dry, medium-bodied wine with hints of raspberry and strawberry. Pair it with grilled chicken, dark meat fish, and pizza.
Come enjoy delicious wines at this charming one of a kind winery, bring a picnic or have an incredible meal at the award winning Grandale Restaurant, named one of Northern Virginia's top restaurants. The restaurant features as much fresh and locally grown produce and meat as possible. 868 Estate Vineyards also has live entertainment on weekends and other special events throughout the year. Tastings are available daily (Tuesday by appointment only), Wednesday through Monday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. This vineyard and restaurant experience will definitely make the drive worth the journey!