Here’s a sobering statistic for the Virginia wine industry, which has had a lot to celebrate, with awards coming its way from national and even international sources: Only 5 percent of wines sold in Virginia are produced in the state.
Why is that?
The old complaint that Virginia wines are overpriced is no longer broadly applicable, and local and East Coast wines have been rising in reputation for years. Part of the problem is that Virginia wines are hard to find unless you take a trip to the wineries.
Leesburg Vintner in downtown Leesburg (29 S. King St.; 703-777-3322) is a wonderful exception. It also happens to be one of the best wine shops around.
Mike Carroll opened Leesburg Vintner in 1988, a decade before Virginia wines began to emerge. Today he devotes 16 shelves to Virginia labels, including varietals from such stellar wineries as Barboursville, Chrysalis, and Linden.
He carries good bottles from Spain, France, and California, too—plus a generous allotment of Belgian beers. Best of all, particularly for the wine novice, Carroll offers an old-fashioned, small-town shopkeeper sensibility, asking customers to share their likes and dislikes and finding the perfect bottle every time.
This appears in the September, 2009 issue of The Washingtonian.