Sunset Hills Vineyard: Reviews of a Top Virginia Winery

sunset HillsEstablished in 2008 by Mike and Diane Carney, Sunset Hills is located in Loudoun County, just outside of Washington, DC. Their goal has been to produce premium quality wines following sustainable viticulture practices. Sunset Hills sources the grapes for its wines from four small estate vineyards in Purcellville, Upperville and two in the Shenandoah Valley.  Nate Walsh, who has winemaking experience in Central Virginia, Oregon and New Zealand, is winemaker and vineyard manager.

In our recent Report #45 Virginia Wine Comes of Age we tasted the wines of many of Virginia’s top producers but unfortunately missed those of Sunset Hills. We have now rectified that oversight with our tasting of these new releases. In sum, they are all terrific wines, stylistically fruit forward and vibrant with excellent acidity and overall freshness. We were most impressed with the 2013 Viognier and 2012 Mosaic. Tel: 540-882-4560

Sunset Hills Vineyard 2013 Rosé Middleburg ($22) 89+ This rose of 81%

Sunset Hills' 145 Year Old Amiish Barn Updated

Sunset Hills’ 145 Year Old Amish Barn Updated

Chambourcin and 19% Traminette confirms our view that Chambourcin makes lovely roses. Its fragrant and fruity character combines nicely with the Traminette to offer a delicious wine of bright cherry on a dry crisp palate with a touch of sweetness on the finish. Well done. Sunset Hills Vineyard 2013 Viognier Middleburg ($29) 91  The 2013 Sunset Hills Viognier is among the finest we have tasted this year. It is very fragrant, offering aromas of stone fruit and melon. It is vibrant with good texture and crisp acidity on the finish. The 5% Petit Manseng added to the blends works well. Due to frost damage, there’s only 60% of the intended case production. Sunset Hills Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Reserve Middleburg ($40) 88+ The 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve displays a dark color with aromas of dried plum, spice  and toast. Aged 12 months in oak and another year in the bottle, it is medium-weight and rather dry on the attack, but shows good acidity and structure on the back end. Sunset Hills Vineyard 2012 Mosaic Middleburg ($50) 90  The 2012 Mosaic is an attractive blend  of 53% Merlot and 47% Cabernet Franc.  It is fruit forward and reveals good intensity of red fruit flavor, toasted oak, excellent balance and bright acidity on the finish. Aged 17 months in French, American and Hungarian oak, 17% new.

The International Wine Review’s Report #45 Virginia Wine Comes of Age explores the past, present and future of Virginia wine.  Read the introduction to the report here. The full report can be purchased by non-subscribers here.




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