AWG Correspondent

James Houston

Loudoun Valley Vineyards Photos

Loudoun Valley Vineyards Review

Regions: Middleburg Virginia AVA, Virginia

Reviewed: July 13, 2012 by James Houston
Published: July 17, 2012

Lately, my thirtieth birthday has been making all kinds of threats about actually happening soon. So getting carded, which used to be a nerve-wracking experience no matter how good my fake ID was ten years ago, is actually kind of nice these days. And so when the young man behind the counter at Loudoun Valley Vineyards did his duty and requested proof of age, my cloudy Wednesday brightened just a little.

Loudoun Valley Vineyards sits just off Route 9 in a low wooden building with a single-pitch roof. The tasting room interior is intimate, with a small counter positioned under a wall display of medal-draped LVV bottles and a UC-Davis Aggies pennant.

An annex room harbors neatly arranged tables, reminiscent of a casual upscale restaurant—which I learn it in fact becomes on Friday and Saturday nights when Chef Tommy Venable turns it into Fugosa. Venable’s mobile operation serves cooked-to-order Caribbean-influenced tapas such as Gambas al Ajillo with Sliced Baguette, Savory Sweet Potato & Chorizo Sausage, and Mini Cheesecake with Maple Rum Syrup Drizzle.

More tables are outside, some on a no-frills deck overlooking the vineyards, others below on the lawn, some just inches from the vines. The property is reportedly undergoing changes, having been acquired from longtime owner Hubert Tucker in 2008 by winemaker Bree Ann Moore and her husband Cameron.

The new proprietors are California transplants, and Bree Ann has what might be viewed as a “Left Coast” winemaking background with a degree from UC-Davis (hence the pennant) and a training stint at Sonoma County’s Beringer Winery. Regardless, they are committed to honoring the unique characteristics of Virginia.

I like to think I can spot “California-impersonator” wines with their disjointed new oak flavors and bloated acid imbalances, and Bree Ann Moore’s wines are not these. Her Pinot Grigio 2010 is crisp and bracing, with lemon and mineral flavors underlying a mouth-watering snap of acidity. The Pinot Noir 2010 is tightly wound, but eventually reveals a bewitching assortment of gamey olive and dill characteristics.

One concern in the tasting I had was small hints of volatile acidity—a “vinegary” aroma and texture caused by the acetobacter bacterium—in some of the red wines, particularly the Cabernet Franc Reserve 2008 and the sweet “Legacy” 2008. This flaw can usually be traced to lax sanitation in the winery (particularly in the oak barrels, where microbes love to set up shop). Since these wines were vinted before the Moores took over, there is every reason to believe the problem will not continue—especially given Bree Ann’s understanding of wine science.

The tasting was well-handled—the pourer was attentive and for the most part knowledgeable. The only slip was when he described the Chardonnay 2009 as “Bordeaux Style”—which is head-scratching since Chardonnay is commercially nonexistent in Bordeaux. Some reds were a little too cold, which can cause flavors to be muted. I appreciated their use of stemless glasses as a nod to efficiency and less broken glass to clean up at the end of the day.

Loudoun Valley Vineyards is coming out of a transitional period, and things seem headed in the right direction.

Address & Contact Information: 38516 Charlestown Pike Waterford, Virginia 20197. Telephone: 540-882-3375, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Mon, Wed-Fri 12:00-5:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-6:00.

Overall Rating:  

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