Written by Anita
April 23, 2016
As the weather warms, we are all feeling the urge to spread our wings. We recently flew the coop and headed to the new Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Ashburn, VA. Started in 2005, Cooper’s Hawk uses nationally sourced grapes to produce a wide array of wines, many of which have received numerous regional, national, and international awards. Based in Illinois, it currently boasts over 20 locations in eight states, with more to come.
Cooper’s Hawk allows you combine several experiences into one visit. In the mood for a tasting? Enjoy one of Cooper’s Hawk’s many wine flights at its Napa-style tasting bar or in a private barrel room. Guests are offered a few complimentary sips and can purchase additional varietal wine flights that change monthly. Opt for the tasting alone or choose to sip from your own souvenir wineglass. You also can pair your flight with a housemade hand-dipped chocolate truffle, a chocolate-covered strawberry, or a cheesecake lollipop from the Cooper’s Hawk bakery. Tasting notes include helpful hints about the nose, taste, and appropriate food pairings. Feel like shopping? Peruse Cooper’s Hawk’s retail gift shop, which includes fun and unique items for your favorite ‘wino.’
Feeling peckish? Try to land your flock at a table in Cooper’s Hawk’s dining room or on its warm-weather outdoor patio. (The restaurant can even text you when your table is ready.) Meals here start with warm salty pretzel bread loaf and creamery butter. Standout appetizers include the fold-your-own Thai lettuce wraps (moist strips of sweet chili-glazed chicken, julienned carrots and squash, sliced cucumber, sesame seeds, and crisp lettuce leaves served with a trio of cashew, peanut, and soy caramel dipping sauces) and the ahi tuna tacos (crunchy tortilla shells filled with chunks of blackened and seared tuna and finished with Sriracha and wasabi cream, zesty pico de gallo, fresh sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and radish.) For a hearty entrée, try the red wine braised short ribs (a beefy mélange with roasted carrots, parsnips, and mushrooms in a mustard sauce, sprinkled with crispy onion strings and accompanied by Mary’s decadent whipped potatoes). Tasty lighter options include the flaky pistachio-crusted grouper and Ellie’s lemony chicken piccata. Watching your wattle? Cooper’s Hawk’s Life Balance menu includes dishes that clock in under 600 calories. Gluten free options also are available. Each menu item includes a bin number matching it to a recommended wine, which makes creating the perfect pairing a snap.
If you’re able to save room for dessert, our favorite (suitable for sharing) was the Banoffee pie—a light graham cracker crust filled with a creamy banana and toffee filling, layered with sliced bananas, drizzled with caramel, and topped with generous dollops of fresh whipped cream. Chocolate lovers will swoon over the Reese’s ice cream cookie—a warm gooey Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup chip cookie baked in a cast iron skillet and crowned with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream.
Want to be part of the roost? Then join Cooper’s Hawk’s Wine Club, which offers members monthly wine selections, wine discounts, rewards, special event and travel invites, and insider tasting notes and recipes. And watch GregsListDC like a hawk for information about Cooper’s Hawk’s upcoming fledgling openings in Annapolis, MD and Reston, VA.