By Leva levitra
Wednesday May 22, 2013 | May 2013 Issue
As you drive out toward the western edge of Loudoun County, built up environment of townhomes and retail give way to the big sky and pastures with horse and cattle grazing. Rounding the bend on Route 9 near Hillsboro you see the recognizable grape cluster indicating Doukénie Winery is nearby. Turning at the stack of barrels, the long gravel driveway winds through the vineyards and cow pastures toward the barn and silo it is clear this is a Virginia Farm Winery.
In addition to being a working farm winery, Doukénie is above all else a family operation. From the moment you step in the door in the tasting room you feel the hospitality of being in the Bazaco family home. The Bazaco family traces its success back to a fourteen year-old Greek girl, Doukénie, who in 1919 boarded a boat for the journey to America. Young George Bazaco, Doukénie grandson and winery owner, also gives much credit to the young girl’s father who consented to her journey.
Doukénie lived the last two of her 96 life filled years in her daughter Hope’s home on the farm. She gave the family many memories in that short time. As the fragrance of the fermenting grapes would reach her window, she would be reminded of her childhood. Her father, the wise man who consented to her American journey, was a Sheriff and winemaker in a small Greek town. It was with great admiration and much love that the family named their winery after this incredible woman.
Doukénie had a firm belief in the importance of family. In 1948, she and her husband purchased 200 acres in a small upstate New York community called Maple Crest as a summer place for their family. Doukénie daughter, the aptly named, Hope, had married the elder George Bazaco by this time and had three young children of her own. Summers were spent in Maple Crest with the husbands coming out from the city on the weekends.
The summer place provided a retreat from New York City and clearly sparked the agricultural imagination of Hope’s eldest son, George. “George would get up really early and work in the fields all day on a neighboring farm,” Hope recalls, “He would arrive on the front porch covered in mud and sweat but with a smile from ear to ear.”
George went on to follow in his father’s academic footsteps attending Virginia Tech. He was a very good student and was faced with a choice after his undergraduate studies were completed either pursue a career in agriculture or medicine (his other calling). While he felt the strong pull of the agricultural ties, he also recalled that his grandmother had deferred her life long dream to become a doctor. He went away to study medicine in Europe with the clear intent he would work in the medical field but he would also someday own a farm.
In 1981, George and his wife Nikki purchased the first tract of land that would become Doukénie Vineyards and Winery. The land, at the foot of Short Hill Mountain, was being cropped for corn, hay and cattle. The mid eighties were an exciting time in the viticulture business in Virginia, the Bazacos decided to plant their first vineyard in 1986.
After supplying fruit for many years for award winning wines, the Bazacos decided to take the plunge into winemaking. Doukenie is now established as one of the premier labels in Virginia.
The wines are exceptional. Full bodied, jammed with flavor, the 2005 Cabernet Franc pairs well with beef and Italian dishes that deserve a meaty red wine. The Mandolin is a blend of Tramminette, Vidal Blanc and Chardonnay. An excellent aperitif, the Mandolin’s nose feature rose pedals hinting at the floral, fruit and spice that follows with just a touch of sweetness.
A few years ago, Hope’s garden was overflowing with plump delicious raspberries. This bumper crop led to one of Doukénie’s most sought after wine, Hope’s Legacy Raspberry Wine. Unlike many fruit wines, this blend (70% red wine, 30% raspberry wine) has structure and balance of a more pedigreed vintage. Currently sold out, the winery is selling futures on the next iteration of this classic.
Last year, Sébastien Marquet joined the Doukénie family as Winemaker and Vineyard Manager. Marquet has grown great wines literally around the world. He started in Burgundy, France and spent the last three years in the heart of Sonoma California wine country. His wines express the uniqueness of each growing site. His long experience in vineyards around the world has given him a deep understanding of the balance between the soil, climate and surroundings of each individual vineyard.
His efforts in the vineyard and cellar have garnered countless awards including three international Gold Medals at the “Salon des Grands Vins” in Paris, and a Gold Medal in the “Concours Mondial de Bruxelles”. His 1993 Chardonnay, Domaine de Saint Louis scored 93 points from Robert Parker.
Doukénie Winery is a part of the 500 acre Windham Farm. This bucolic setting provides an awe inspiring backdrop to the many events the winery puts on throughout the year. March events include a winemaker’s blending session, a baked potato weekend and an Easter Egg hunt.
Each May, the winery hosts the “Taste of Greece”. Featuring Hope’s incredible culinary talents, this event includes a wide array of Greek delicacies, music and wine. The entire farm is filled with the laughter of families and friends who spread their picnics around the pond as their youngsters feed the ducks.
Any visit to Doukénie will brighten even the coldest winter snap. Mary Beth, Leslie and Brian in the tasting room provide commentary and guidance to you tasting along with a touch of frivolity. Hope, the official ambassador, is a ray of sunshine as she meets and greets guests. Her ever present smile and indomitable spirit are contagious and her Baklava is to die for. If visitors are lucky they may peer out over the vineyard and see a man on a tractor, smiling ear to ear, that’s George Bazaco.
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