As someone who likes adventure and happy hour, I’m not always in the mood to deal with the metro and crowds of Arlington, Alexandria and DC. It’s nice to have options in the city but sometimes I just want a beautiful landscape with good wine, people and conversation. I was so excited when @raelinn_wine tweeted that she was interested in taking advantage of the weather and heading to a winery this past Friday. I was in the mood to go out but not to deal with crowds or traffic. After doing some research, I was impressed to learn there are a number of wineries open later on Friday nights. One of our favorites, Pearmund is open until 8pm and it was the perfect meeting spot.
Upon arriving at Pearmund, I was greeted at the start of the long drive by the biggest turtle I’ve ever seen. It looked like a rock in the middle of the road only it was walking. I didn’t have time to get a picture as two cars were on the way down and I didn’t want to block them. Mr. Turtle stopped as I passed him and looked around before going back to a steady stare straight ahead. It was very entertaining. I admit I was surprised to see a full parking lot when I arrived shortly after 5pm. Evidently I wasn’t the only one aware the winery was open late. Chris Pearmund greeted us upon entering the tasting room and let us know we could participate in bottling if interested. I’ve always been curious and was excited to know I could see it as it was happening. What Raelinn and I didn’t know was that Chris would treat us to some 09 barrel samples. I was excited to taste the 09 Cabernet again. I really love the 07 but can’t wait for this to one to be bottled. I was thrilled when he let us sample the 09 Petit Verdot. I have delicious written three times next to the 08 on my tasting sheet from my first visit and this 09 is even better.
The bottling procedure is pretty simple but it was fun to watch and see the empty bottles lined up, moved down the line, filled, closed, labeled and boxed up. I got a chance to ask about the frost and Chris pointed out the damage vines. He said it wasn’t terrible but they did lose some fruit. It was sad to look out and see the healthy vines next to those affected by the frost that hit VA earlier this spring. I’m learning everyday how many vineyards sustained some fruit loss from that frost. It’s amazing how much Mother Nature affects grapes and winemaking. I admit this is the first time I paid attention to the weather due to concern about the cold temps and the vineyards. It’s easy to complain about the cold weather but it comes and goes. In wine, it’s not that simple.
What made this evening happy hour truly delightful were the fabulous people we met. After exploring the bottling process and enjoying barrel samples, we got ourselves another glass of wine and joined the crowd outside. I was drinking the 07 Cabernet which is one of my favorites. It’s full, smooth, with lots of dark fruit and a velvety finish. Raelinn was enjoying the Petit Verdot before moving to the Cabernet Franc. We met a delightful couple who invited us to join them. It was fun to meet new people, hear where they enjoy going, what kind of wines they prefer and just talk about life in general. It was a great night to be outside and I got what I wanted from a good happy hour; a gorgeous view, great conversation, good wine and time with one of my good friends and favorite people. Of course we didn’t end the night there. We had to head to our other favorite stomping ground, the Iron Bridge Wine Company, which happens to be a short drive from Pearmund. It was a great night and I look forward to going back.
Here’s a quick list of wineries open later in case you’re looking to do something different on Friday night and please let me know if I’ve missed any. =)