Back in the early 2000s, Holli and John Todhunter were scoping out Delaplane, Virginia in hopes of opening their own winery. After several trips to Italy and southern France, they'd developed a love of the wines and the lifestyles they'd seen, and wanted to bring some of that to Northern Virginia. While visiting one particular plot of land just off Rt. 66, Holli spotted three foxes bounding over the verdant hills. That sealed the deal and settled the name; Three Fox Vineyards was born.
Cute story, huh? It's fitting, as Three Fox is a really cute winery. Just a mile off of 66 at exit 23, the winery's barn-like tasting room is set amongst rolling hills, littered with well-manicured shrubs, umbrella-shaded tables and statuary. About 10 acres of land are under vine on the fifty acre estate, where they grow local favorites Viognier and Cabernet Franc, along with three native Italian varietals, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. Most of the winery's small production comes from these vines, which they supplement with a little bit of Chardonnay, Vidal and Chambourcin from other local growers.
Inside, the tasting room is a small, comfortable, two-room affair, decked out in the usual array of winery knickknacks, with an unsurprising vulpine bent. Being nice and early, we had the place nearly to ourselves, so we had the unusual luxury of a private, leisurely tasting.
Three Fox offers a diverse, very reasonably prices selection of tasting options. At the time of our visit, 11 wines were up for sampling, for the meager price of $6.00, with the option of keeping it all red or white for only $3.00. On top of that, Three Fox also featured a "Guest Wine," the always fabulous Thibaut - Janisson Sparkling Chardonnay from down Monticello way, for $2.00.
Across the board, the wines we sampled that morning were quite good, particularly the estate grown selections. The La Boheme Viognier 2009 ($25 / bottle) was dry and light for the type, with nice light peach fruit, and a mild minerality. The Calabrese Pinot Grigio 2009 ($23) was revelatory, showing good fruit and a nutty finish, and an unexpected depth for a grape that doesn't usually perform so well in Virginia. The range of dry, Sangiovese based reds ran the gamut from light and cherry accented to rich and gamey, displaying the full range of another rare grape in the Commonwealth. Most impressive of all was the 2008 Piedmontese Nebbiolo ($29). This noble Italian varietal does not often perform well off it's native soil, but Three Fox did a fantastic job, creating a well structured, spicy wine with lots of dark cherry, earth and tar.
Along with the great wines, we had a wonderful time talking to the attendant, who was very sweet and quite knowledgeable. It also must be noted that, though there are no indoor facilities available to the public, Three Fox has the cleanest and most lavishly decorated port-a-johns I have ever seen, which you may note at left.
The winery offers a selection of meats and cheeses for picnicking on the grounds, and all the wines are available by the glass -- we weren't able to hang out on this trip, but given the quality of the wines, I would gladly stop back for a glass or two in the future. The Todhunters are planning to plant another three acres in the coming years, and up production to 5000 cases annually. As of now, the wines are only available at a handful of locations, and through their online store, but hopefully that will soon change.
Tasting Room Hours
Thurs, Fri, Sat and Mon: 11am - 5pm