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This is Wine

Crushed Cellars: the Exceptional Loudoun County Wine Enigma

This is Wine and it’s time to talk about the wines that everyone has a crush on!

If you’ve cruised the Loudoun County Wine Trails or have spoken to anyone who does, chances are you’ve heard whispers about Crushed Cellars, Bob, Bob’s Wines or the Wine Doctor of Route 9. The rumors include a winery that sells farm fresh eggs as well as incredible wines. Other gossip includes free re-sampling, endless plates of gourmet foods to pair with the wines and the owner, winemaker and proprietor is the mellowest person you will ever meet. Some of the more extreme stories entail some people are not allowed to go alone for reasons of coming home with several cases of wine. All of those rumors are true and exemplified when Allison and I visited Crushed Cellars!

We first heard about Crushed at a Virginia Wine Mafia (our group of fellow VA wine bloggers) party when Kurt and Carol (http://wineaboutvirginia.blogspot.com) kept talking about “Bob” and his wines. The majority of us had never heard of Bob and kept thinking that was the name of the vineyard. After many demands for more information, Kurt brought out a room temperature bottle of Vidal Blanc and explained Bob was the owner, winemaker and wizard of wine. Now, if you’ve read enough of my entries, you know I tend to avoid sweet wines like the plague. Also, if you know enough about wine, you know drinking a room temperature Vidal is unheard of and will be rewarded with funny looks so when Kurt cracked the bottle; we weren’t sure what to think. Uniquely enough, the Vidal was excellent without being chilled and without any pairings (although we’ll get to that later). He explained to us who were, at that point in a wine fugue, that all of Bob’s wines were excellent, just like the Vidal. That’s all it took for us to want to visit.

Unlike a lot of vineyards that have big signs, markers or mileage posts showing where to go and how far the entrance is, Crushed doesn’t have that. Nor is there a lot of advertising or marketing other than the wine telegraph (word of mouth). Chances are that if you don’t know where to go and you blink or sneeze, you’ll miss the entrance entirely (as Allison and I did…twice). About a one or two mile drive away from the Route 9 and Berlin Pike intersection, a big flag saying “open”, a gravel driveway and several rows of grapevines adjacent to a pond are the only signs you’ll get that you’ve arrived. There is limited parking so, if you plan to come in a group, it’s best to carpool.

Once you park, you’ll see a quaint but nice sized stone cabin with a patio and a few decorative wine barrels outside. There are also a few picnic tables on the property that are often occupied when the weather allows it. If you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of the family chicken, cat and dog. When you walk inside, you’ll see a bar ahead of you with about 8 to 10 stools and a few wine barrels converted into tables. To your left, there are stairs leading up to a loft where there is additional seating. Behind the bar “Crushed Cellars” in painted in picturesque calligraphy and hanging glass shelves house countless wine glasses waiting to be used. Tastings are served table-side or at the bar and baskets of fresh baked breads, unique cheeses, meats, snacks, oils and pestos are served with the wines. Tastings are $5 per person and consist of 5-7 wines (depending on the stock and who’s pouring). We were fortunate, both times, to be served by the well talked about owner, Bob Kalok.

The first wine he kicked us off with was the Seyval which has won several awards. Made from 100% Seyval and “without fillers”, as Bob pointed out to us once, the nose was crisp and the flavors were full of citrus and star anise with a cucumber and mineral finish. If you like a dry white, this would be the one for you and would pair well with any kind of cheese and also goes well with bread dipped in pesto.

Next on the list was the Splash of Summer which consisted of 50% Vidal Blanc, 44% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Seyval. While it does have 1% residual sugar, the Sauv and Seyval balance the Vidal nicely and any kind of white wine drinker could appreciate it. Despite the title, Splash of Summer is good in any season with its dry and crisp flavors and sweet finish at the back of the palate. I would encourage you to use your imagination and come up with something unique to pair with this one.

Bob deviated from the menu, at this point, and let us sample the Chardonnay which was a Bronze medal at San Francisco’s International Wine Camp. Using a touch of Seyval (less than 1%), steel barrels for primary fermentation and new French oak barrels for secondary fermentation, this wine was the right balance of butter, oak and dry fruit flavors. This particular wine would go well with grilled chicken, fish or a smoked gouda.

The last white he let us try was the famed Vidal Blanc. Another award winner and made of 100% Vidal grapes, this sweet white had a floral nose and flavors of honey, golden delicious apples and a nice lingering finish that reminded me a fortified Viognier. A wine like this would be best paired with spicy food, curry or wasabi cheese, something Bob let us sample.

Moving onto the reds, he first let us try the Merlot. Aged for 30 months in French oak, this wine is a red drinker’s red! Bold and smoky with flavors of cranberry, dark fruit, black pepper and a peaty smokiness, this wine would pair perfectly with a nice steak, veal chop or a meaty fish like tuna or swordfish.

The last of the menu reds was the Meritage which contains 3 out of the 5 Bordeaux “noble” reds. Comprised of 72% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot and 7% Malbec and aged in French oak, this wine is unique because it embodies the full bodied-ness of a good red but is also lighter than a lot of Meritage varieties so it can appeal to both red and non red drinkers. With an earthy nose and flavors of cherries, clove and vanilla, one could pair this with pasta, andouille sausage, jambalaya or anything with sun-dried tomatoes (like the pesto we tried).

When we were getting ready to leave, cases of wine in hand, Bob stopped us and asked if we wanted to try something really good. Of course we said yes so he let us sample the Cabernet Franc. This was, without question, my favorite of the reds. Like the Merlot, it was aged for at least 30 months in French oak and had exceptional flavors. Smooth and velvety with a cacao nose and flavors of currants, blackberries, white pepper and chocolate, this wine could go well with red meat, bold cheeses or just by itself.

As I write this, I keep thinking back to the good wines and, overall, great experience at Crushed and want to go back very soon. The people are very friendly, the atmosphere is mellow, the wines are all amazing, the pairings are unique and original and the prices are all reasonable. When Bob isn’t pouring wine, he likes to visit with the patrons, get their opinions and offer additional ideas. Like what you’ve just sampled? Bob and the tasters won’t hesitate to offer you a little more of what you’ve just tried. Crushed is also family and pet friendly so as long as your children, Fido and/or Whiskers is well behaved, they are more than welcome.

Crushed’s tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6 or by appointment and isn’t for those that are in a rush. The average tasting from start to finish is approximately an hour and, afterwards, you’re going to want to get more food and share a glass or bottle (or case) with company. If you have plans to visit several vineyards or are in a time crunch, I would not recommend going. If you want to bring a large group, Bob requires an appointment and also doesn’t allow limos or party buses so bachelor/bachelorette parties need not apply. If you want to try some outstanding wines, eat some delicious local farm-to-fork snacks and hang out in a relaxed and mellow “come as you are” setting, this is place is more than worth visiting.

So, until my next entry, to adhere to an old Spanish proverb, “with wine and hope, anything is possible.” Cheers!


Crushed Cellars
37938 Charles Town Pike
Purcellville, VA 20132
(571) 374-9463 (yes…the last 4 numbers spell “wine”)
http://www.crushedcellars.com

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This is Wine

March 2014

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