Tucked down a gravel road in King George’s County, Virginia is Oak Crest Vineyard and Winery. The winery was a delightful place to stop by recently as I continue to explore the Northern Neck region of the state, and make my way through the wineries that comprise the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail (a girl’s gotta have goals, right?).
Arriving just as they opened for the day, I could already see the vineyards of plump, red grapes nearly ready for harvest. I parked and made my way to the tasting room, admiring the blooming flowers as I entered.
Upon entering, I was greeted by Sharon, the tasting room manager. Wanting to try the various wines that were on offer, I opted to the do a wine tasting ($5 for 8 wines).
One of the reasons I was greatly looking forward to trying the wines at Oak Crest (besides that I love wine!) was that from a quick glance at the tasting menu, it seemed like the winery had really unique varietals.
The wine tasting began with red wines (the tasting experience is meant to go dry to sweet), so I tasted Oak Crest’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhapsody, and Cannon Ridge Red. The Cab Sauv was a smooth red blend, while the Rhapsody, my favorite of the three, is a refreshing red with tastes of berries and served best chilled. Their Cannon Ridge Red has hints of oak and a unique label: the winery partnered with the state of Virginia to commemorate the start of the civil war a few years back and fittingly so, they put a image of Admiral John A. Dahlgren, the namesake of the Naval base nearby.
Next we moved on to the white wines. Oak Crest actually only produces one kind of white grape called Symphony, which is a Muscat-Grenache hybrid. Intrigued, as I had never heard of this grape before, I was able to try the three wines made with it: the Moonlight Sonata, Summer Medley, and Hot Jazz. The Moonlight Sonata is a crisp German-reminiscent wine perfect for all white wine lovers – not too sweet but just sweet enough. The Summer Medley is made from Symphony grapes mixed with Virginia strawberries, and tastes like a strawberry wine – a delightful warm-weather or dessert choice.
Last of the whites was the Hot Jazz – which is a white wine mixed with none other than… jalapeños! Although the mix may sound bizarre, it actually works splendidly and is one of the most unique and delicious wines I’ve had (I was told this wine gets ordered by the case, and I can believe it!). Basically with each semi-sweet smooth sip you take, there is a slightly spicy kick to the tail of it.
Two more tastes were included: a Ruby port and sangria. It’s not often that I see ports being produced in Virginia, so I was curious as to what it would be like. Even though at Oak Crest they don’t fortified in brandy barrels, through the fermentation process the Ruby still gets the classic deep red color one would expect and a fresh, sweet flavor. The Ruby was a gem indeed, and could easily compete with ports I’ve tasted in Porto, Portugal.
Sangria was also a welcome surprise on the menu, as it’s typically not a wine mix that can easily be bottled. Nevertheless, Oak Crest has made it work, although I was told that if you purchase the sangria, you need to drink it within a few weeks (sangria doesn’t preserve well). This was no problem for me, as sangria is one of my favorite summertime drinks. The refreshing wine and fruit flavor went down like a dream.
Once my tasting was through, I opted to buy a bottle of the Rhapsody (I love a good glass of red in the evening!), and also a glass of the Hot Jazz to enjoy on the winery’s patio. Bottles at Oak Crest are really reasonably priced at $15-$20 each, and a glass of wine being a flat $5.
The winery has both indoor and outdoor areas for seating, and they welcome picnics to be brought to accompany their wines (they do sell cheese and crackers as well though, if you’d rather purchase on site).
All in all, Oak Crest easily ranks as one of my favorite Virginia wineries now (and that’s saying a lot, considering I’ve been to over 40 of them!) for their creativity in their wine offerings, being reasonably priced, and relaxing setting.
Have you been to Oak Crest Winery & Vineyard? What’s your favorite Virginia winery?
- Location: 8215 Oak Crest Drive, King George, VA 22485
- Website: oakcrestwinery.com
- Hours: The winery is open 10AM – 5PM Wednesday through Sunday from March to December and 11AM – 4PM Saturday and Sunday in January and February.
Thank you to Oak Crest Vineyard & Winery for my wine tasting. All opinions, as always, are my own.