It’s funny. This weekend I was thinking “where has my mojo gone?” so I was reading back through old posts (huzzah insomnia!), and what struck me was our changing attitudes on price. In the early days of our blog a thirty dollar wine resulted in a reaction of “holy crap does it walk the dog?!” Times and attitudes have changed, so I’m always interested to revisit places where we’ve previously balked at the bottle prices. One such place is Doukenie Winery.
It’s so weird that this is another of those places we never get to, seeing as how it’s right off route 9 in Loudoun County. Maybe it’s the fact that we seem to bring inclement weather with us to the winery. In keeping with tradition, on a gray and drizzly day we navigated the Winery Assault Vehicle down the winding drive and selected a choice parking spot. Clearly it’s been a while, as we walked in and realized “wow! This is different!” They’ve done a complete renovation and expansion since our last visit. It’s much brighter and more open and it’s working for me.
We kicked off the tasting with the 2011 Mandolin ($21), a blend of Traminette and Vidal Blanc with 1% residual sugar. The nose was lightly floral with tropical fruit on the palate. It was lightly sweet and fruity, basically a nice summer sipper. The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($24) was very middle of the road for me, light crisp citrus and a little grassy. The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($24) was a very different style and something I’m not used to. It was darker in color than the 2011, and I got cooked fruit and honey on the nose. I enjoyed it (though I was a little unsure what to make of it) but there was a bit of an alcohol bite on the finish.
We jumped to the reds, starting with the 2009 Merlot ($33). I’d call this a beautifully done wine. The nose was outstanding – I knew my partner would stand there savoring the nose until someone asked if she was ever going to actually drink any of it – and there was loads of blackberry and dark fruit on a well integrated palate. I was feeling the love with this wine. The 2010 Cabernet Franc was an enjoyable wine. I described it as cherry but not like “whoa! cherry!”
I’ll admit to not loving the 2009 Petit Verdot ($35). I’ve been struggling with PV lately and this was no exception, coming across as woody or stemmy with not much fruit. I felt this way about another wine recently, and my partner didn’t. Is it possible that antibiotics can mess with your palate? Anyhow, it wasn’t for me.
I have arrows all over my tasting notes so it’s entirely possible the next two are out of order. Regardless, let’s talk about the 2010 Zeus ($26). It’s a blend of Merlot, Tannat, and Petit Verdot, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s how I felt about it:
‘Nuff said? Ok, it was rich, complex, layered, and bursting with jammy fruit and a nice subtle smokiness. We also got to try the 2010 Merlot ($33). It was (unsurprisingly) hotter and more in-your-face than the 2009, so I liked the 2009 better. We finished the tasting with Hope’s Legacy ($21), a red blend that includes 30% raspberries and is listed at 5% residual sugar. Um.. it’s a sweet raspberry wine. It won’t broker peace in the Middle East or make the Yankees a team worth rooting for but it tastes darn nice and drinks well. What more do you want?
They weren’t tasting the Sangiovese the day we visited. That’s the wine that usually has us questioning the price, so I couldn’t say where we stand with regards to that one. Overall, I feel like the wines at Doukenie are made well and priced fairly for northern Virginia, and we liked the Merlot enough that it followed us home. I considered the Zeus as well, but we had just finished spending a good bit of money on NY wine. We’ll definitely be back, however, and I’m sure we’ll add more bottles to our rack.
The Zeus Decrees World to End on September 12, 2012, Everyone Ignores Gaffe and Keeps On Truckin’ by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.