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Casanel Vineyards
by
Kathy Sullivan

Summary: Casanel Vineyards in Northern Virginia is a delightful family owned and run winery to visit. Located not far from the large Washington D.C. metro area, the winery is in a secluded country setting. Travel along a shaded, narrow and rough road through the woodlands until you reach an open spot with the sun highlighting the stone tasting room.

Casanel VineyardsUpon reaching the parking area for Casanel Vineyards, one is surprised by the location. The tasting room, in a renovated 1862 bank barn, offers a large patio in the front complete with wrought iron tables and green umbrellas. Vineyards located on hillsides on two sides of the tasting room add to the peaceful nature of the winery. It’s difficult to believe that this idyllic spot is only minutes from busy Washington D.C. and Leesburg, Virginia.

Nelson and Kathleen (Casey) DeSouza established the winery after retiring from the construction business. After visiting Portugal and becoming fascinated with the idea of owning a winery, they decided to establish the winery. Their daughters are a vital part of the winery. All are very enthusiastic about the grapes and wine. The name for the winery is a combination of the names Casey and Nelson.

The tasting room has a wine tasting counter and its authentic stone walls add to the ambiance of the room. A spiral stair case leads to the lower level where small events take place and groups can gather. This lower level also has a tasting counter.

Casanel Vineyards     Casanel Vineyards

Casanel VineyardsA tall deer fence surrounds the sloping vineyards. Grape varieties in the vineyard include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Norton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Petite Verdot. Every year Casanel Vineyards has a meaningful name for each vintage. The 2007 vintage is named Chegada that in Portuguese means “arrival.” Nelson described the importance of the word in connection with his arrival in the United States many years ago from Brazil. The 2008 vintage is named Batucada and refers to percussion. Nelson notes that in Brazil, drum playing is a ritual and at the beginning of the summer there is the “music of the drums.” In 2009 the vintage will be named Masquenada meaning “the American Dream equals work.” Nelson referred to the work that is necessary in America to create the American Dream and talked about his struggles and hard work to achieve his success today.

 

Current wines to taste include two white and three red wines.

Casanel VineyardsWhite Wines

Chardonnay Batucada 2008 was aged in French oak for eight months. This pale yellow wine offered an aroma of apple with banana nuances. The taste was smooth with notes of banana leaning toward tropical fruit. The finish was crisp with notes of citrus. Viognier Chegada 2007 was a pale yellow with a peach aroma. The taste was smooth with notes of peach and honeysuckle. The crisp finish also had noticeable peach and honeysuckle nuances. This wine dried on the finish.

Red Wines

Norton Chegada 2007 was a nontraditional Norton wine created in a rosé style. This wine was aged in oak for ten months. Norton 2007 was a light red with 1.5 percent residual sugar. The aroma was of spice while the taste had nuances of vanilla and strawberries. The finish was crisp. Merlot Chegada 2007 was a light red/purple. The aroma was earthy with dark fruit. The taste offered blackberry notes. The crisp finish had earthy and smoky nuances accompanied by tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon Chegada 2007 was a light ruby color with an earthy, blackberry aroma. The taste was smooth and the finish was fruity with mild tannins.

Casanel VineyardsSee how hard work can pay off in the making of a friendly winery with a delightful location. You can spend several hours at this winery, consider bringing a picnic lunch when you visit.

Casanel Vineyards
17952 Canby Rd.
Leesburg, VA 20175

GPS: N39º 07.148’ W77º 37.700’

 

 

 


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