My second day in horse and wine country in Virginia was similar to the first in that it included wine, beer, and food, but entirely different. Today was a bit slower – definitely settling into the meandering lifestyle. Long drives down country roads through estate properties and equestrian stables, with a stop here and there along the way. Today’s adventure started with breakfast at Market Salamander, right down the road from Salamander Resort & Spa. The market features made to order breakfast items like plates of eggs and bacon, or homemade biscuits. The store also stocks tons of preserves, butters, and pickled veggies from the resort. I’ll definitely be back here before I fly out.
From there we ventured to Sunset Hills Vineyard for a 10:30 a.m. tasting (I know, we start early). This Purcellville location includes sprawling vines, plenty of outdoor space, and an Amish barn that was completely restored by Amish brothers and now acts as the main tasting room. The vineyard has some great wines (I loved the 2014 Viognier), and is currently expanding to a Middleburg location, set to open next month. While touring the facilities, I was able to try a brand new wine made for the Middleburg location straight from the barrel and it was fantastic. All of the steel barrels are named, which is cute feature to the business.
Next stop was lunch at the charming Stoneybrook Farm (above). The market is set on the actual farm, so from the main building you can see the big chicken coop and can occasionally have some feathered visitors while eating outside. The food is awesome, the epitome of farm fresh. I had some blueberries to go and they were delicious, perfect for the summer weather.
From there we went to Doukenie Winery in Purcellville. The winery sits on a massive working farm, but the area with the tasting room and vineyard is picture-perfect. The winery has a great family story, too. They strive for a sense of community, and therefore don’t try to mass produce the wines. They have a very exclusive wine club that gets a good portion of the wine releases. Maria, who works at the winery, is planning some really great events in the future like group dinners with wine pairings. My favorite was the Petit Verdot.
The best kept kinda-secret is that they keep the best baklava in the kitchen. It isn’t sold, you have to know to ask for it, and they have to actually have some. Consider yourself lucky if you get to try it.
After being all wined-out, I headed to Adroit Theory Brewing Company. I had heard they were pretty hard core with the brews, specializing in high gravity and non-traditional flavors, which makes it perfect for me.
I decided to go with the three-ounce tasters so I could try a few of the varieties. I started with the Four Saisons and a Sauvignon Blanc Saison. Both were great sours. I had never seen wine used in beer before.
From there I went dark. Very dark. I had the Bloody Roots, a take on the bloody mary, and The Devil Made Me, a super dark smoked porter with Serrano peppers. The four little glasses was all I needed. This place has perfected the small batch beer.
On to food! From the brewery I took a short drive to Monk’s BBQ, at the suggestion of my guide from Visit Loudoun. This was maybe the best decision all day. Being from North Carolina, I’ve had my fair share of fantastic barbecue. This place makes the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life. The owner’s wife Kiersten jokes that she married Monk for his ribs. I could see why. When you go to grab a rib to tear it off and eat with you hands, but instead you come up with a clean bone because all the meat fell off, you know you have ribs done right. Did I mention the bourbon and beer selection? They stock about 80 bottles of bourbon and include an impressive selection of local beer, all served in mason jars.
I capped off my night the southern way – the fresh blueberries from Stoneybrook Farm and with Harper Lee on the lawn of the Salamander Resort.