Dining Out: Breaux, what a difference a grape makes!

My friend JW is from the great state of Texas where girls apparently know how to par-tay. JW has charm, style, and is just plain vampy- in a sweet way- and since meeting her I have had nothing but fun times.

Saturday, two of her dearest friends flew out from Houston just to spend the weekend of her 30th in DC. So, to celebrate, we piled into cars and drove… out of DC to Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, Va.

The Breaux family inherited a 3-acre vineyard in 1994 and now have a 400 acre estate that includes 85 acres of different grape varietals. It’s family owned and operated and has been since the beginning when the Breauxs made their first wines.

The day we went started out overcast in DC and poor JW, who’d had a few life upheavals in the past week, was unsure what to do if it rained. Nevertheless, we made the drive and were rewarded with blue skies, a light breeze and warm sun.

The first thing on our list that day was a tasting. I’m going to be honest here- I don’t like red wine, period. I don’t like the smell, the taste, the aftertaste, the tannins give me headaches, yadda yadda yadda. And though the wines at Breaux were lovely, I still don’t like red.

However, I did enjoy the tasting. Especially the part where I was allowed to dump what I didn’t drink, and believe me there was a lot. We tried a merlot, a delicious chardonnay, a dry white Jolie Blond, the fruity Sweet Evangeline, Viognier, a lovely nebbiolo, which I liked in spite of myself, and several dessert wines. What would be really nice is if they could pair them with something- a scrap of steak to go with the merlot, etc. because frankly I’m one of those folks who pairs my wines with food and that’s how I can best judge how I’d like it. But that’s just me.

Afterwards, we went to the gift shop. I asked the owner’s daughter if there was something she could do to embarrass JW on her birthday- say, perhaps, loud singing and a sugary dessert- and she responded in fine style with a free glass of wine of JW’s choice and a handful of Mardi Gras beads, which was very nice of her.

We bought several cheeses including a delicious soft havarti, a sharp cheddar and a smooth brie, along with a baguette, prosciutto, salami, hummus and crackers, along with several bottles of white, including an ’03 Chere Marie (“a well-balanced semi-dry white”) and repaired to the Patio Madeleine to snack. I’d brought a loaf of my banana bread as the original plan was to picnic. It went over pretty well with the sweeter of the two whites.

There was live music and great conversation. They were shooting a commercial so we were background for that. Another table of revelers had been brought to Breaux in a stretch Excursion for a 40th birthday and soon JW’s lovely friends had everyone up and dancing. Unfortunately, the acoustic guitarist, while having an expansive knowledge of Jack Johnson, was not able to perform anything with “Don’t Mess With Texas” in it. Nor could he work his way through “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. But we still managed to have some fun.

Afterwards, JW and her friends skedaddled back for a late dinner and literally danced the night away before she deposited each at the airport for the long trip home. She was dead tired, she confessed to me later. Welcome to old, sweetie!

Happy birthday, JW! As you watch your 20’s fade away, I hope you’ll look towards your 30’s with hope and enthusiasm and the same unbridled joy!

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